Dolly Parton Wows With ‘Puppy Love’ Performance At Pet Gala

“Puppy Love” was Parton’s first-ever single, released in 1959.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

February 21, 2024


8:34 pm

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Dolly Parton; Photo by Jon Morgan/CBS

Dolly Parton opened up Dolly Parton’s Pet Gala with a memorable performance of “Puppy Love,” her first-ever single. 

Parton welcomed viewers to the show by shouting, “Well hello you puppy lovers!” 

She then made her grand entrance to the stage through a huge star, a possible nod to her newest release, Rockstar

Dolly Parton; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Dolly Parton; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

“Puppy Love Performance” To Open The Show

The East Tennessee native’s bubbly personality was on full display as she sang about young love through the lyrics: “Puppy love, puppy love/ They all call it puppy love/ I’m old enough now to kiss and hug/ And I like it, it’s puppy love…”

Parton sported a red and white ensemble that was adorned with paw prints and plaid ruffles for her performance. 

Following her “Puppy Love” performance, Parton welcomed viewers and shared what the night had in store.

Dolly Parton’s Pet Gala

“Hey everybody, are you feeling good tonight? Well, you know, I have done a lot of different kinds of shows over the past 60-something years, but tonight is my first ever Pet Gala! A night of music and fashion and adorable doggies walking the runway,” she shared from the stage and later added, “Now, who wouldn’t love that, right?” 

She promised an “amazing” night ahead and later revealed that the show would be celebrating “all kinds of dogs, including some famous dogs, some working dogs and dogs that have skills that will make you drool.”  

“I’m going to be performing with a bunch of my favorite human friends, and of course, you can’t have a pet gala without pets,” Parton continued. “So our very special audience has some of the most dashing doggies and PAWSitively precious pups that you have ever seen.”

The GRAMMY-winning star proceeded to playfully prompt the audience to bark at her, followed by introducing her co-host, Emmy Award-winning actress Jane Lynch. The co-hosting duo then exchanged jokes before kicking off the show.

Lynch shared, “You know, I always tell people that there are two things that make me smile, dogs and Dolly. Of course, I’m talking about the beyond legendary Dolly Parton.” 

The duo wrapped up their opening segment by announcing the “Disco Doggie Runway Show,” featuring a rendition of “Boogie Shoes” by KC of KC And The Sunshine Band accompanied by Dolly Parton’s talented all-star band.

Jane Lynch; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Jane Lynch; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

About “Puppy Love”

Dolly Parton’s debut single, ‘Puppy Love,’ was co-written by Paton with her uncle Bill Owens when she was just 11 years old. The song was released by Goldband Records in 1959. 

The heartfelt lyrics capture the essence of young love, with lines like “Sometimes you won’t even carry my books/ The next time you’ll see me you’ll rag on my looks/ You’re meaner to me than a mean ole crook/ And I must confess I’m really hooked.”

In honor of her inaugural Pet Gala, Dolly released a new rendition titled ‘Billy’s Version,’ paying homage to her God Dog, the beloved French bulldog, Billy, also known as Billy the Kid. 

Despite not having a dog of her own currently, Billy holds a special place in Dolly’s heart and even inspired her 2023 children’s book, ‘Dolly Parton’s Billy the Kid Makes it Big.’”

About The Show

Dolly Parton’s Pet Gala aired on CBS on Wednesday, Feb. 21. The two-hour event featured a one-of-a-kind canine runway show unveiling the finest in dog fashion. The superstar pups sported dog versions of Dolly Parton’s most iconic outfits, as well as elaborately adorned ensembles from Dolly’s Doggy Parton pet line.  

Performers included Lainey Wilson, Carly Pearce, Chris Janson, Grace Bowers, Joy Oladokun,  and KC from KC and the Sunshine Band. 

Additionally, Iain Armitage from “YOUNG SHELDON,” Drew Barrymore, Kristen Bell, Kristin Chenoweth, Billy Ray Cyrus and Firerose, Margaret Cho, Neil Patrick Harris, Carson Kressley, Jim Nantz, Jessica Simpson, and many more made special appearances during the event.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.