It's no secret that Martha is a huge animal lover but hearing the voices and nicknames she uses with each of her pets truly solidifies how much she loves her two- and four-legged friends. In an interview with Today, Martha revealed details about the animals living on her farm in Bedford, New York, plus explained what she does to make sure her pets feel special.
On the farm, our founder houses "hundreds and hundreds of pets," including chickens and geese, 6 horses, 12 peacocks, 3 donkeys, 45 red canaries, 3 cats, and 4 dogs. "Those are the pets I know about," she told Today, adding that nearby wildlife (including raccoons and possums) often gather on the farm each night. "But even though I live far away from the city, I go home at night because my pets are there. I care about them, I take good care of them; and they take good care of me, too."
Though she thinks some people may find it silly, Martha uses a special voice with each and every one of her pets because they seem to understand her, she said. "I have a voice for my horses, my cats, my dogs… and all my pets, they come by name."
Martha uses a commanding baritone voice to speak to Emperor Han, one of her two Chow Chow pups, because "he's a boy dog." For Empress Qin, or "chin chin" as she's known, Martha is much more gentle. Because Chow Chows are Chinese in origin, she says she names hers after Chinese emperors. "[Chow Chow dogs] were the emperors' guard dogs at one time. The last emperor of China had 2,500 pairs of Chow Chows in the courtyard of the Imperial Palace in Beijing," Martha said. "Chow Chows are very good watch dogs. If there are two doors in the room, you'll find one is in each... they don't let anyone pass that they don't want to pass." Martha's other pups—Bête Noire and Crème Brûlée, who she calls "creme-y"—are both French bulldogs and are sisters.
Unlike many pet owners, however, Martha isn't partial to dogs or cats—she loves both. Currently, she owns two house cats, both calico Persians; Empress Tang and her sister, Princess Peony, are very different from each other. "Empress Tang is a pest. She's beautiful, but she spends most of her time at night in my bed," Martha shared. "She meows quite periodically—luckily, I'm not a heavy sleeper, and luckily I don't sleep a lot, because she wouldn't allow that. She wants to be petted, paid attention to: you know Empress Tang is in the room when Empress Tang is there." Princess Peony, on the other hand, is a "scaredy cat," Martha said. This pretty feline enjoys her bed down in the basement laundry room, and she only comes up to play with Martha at night for at least 15 minutes of "quite exhausting play," she said.
And though Martha believes people can teach their pets, she also thinks that pets can teach their owners, too. In fact, she says pets can teach you how to be happier. "They can add a dimension to your household that even a child can't add," Martha said. "[Pets] are not really asking for anything; they're not begging for things." Since pets do so much for us, Martha thinks it's only right that we do a little extra for them. To that end, she makes sure her pets never have to live alone. "I think pets need [their own] pets, which is why I have so many pets, I would never have just one goose; I have to have two geese," Martha said. "Having 45 canaries wake you up in the morning with their song is pretty nice."