As details emerge about the tragic Feb. 17 death of Mindy McCready, a sheriff's office official has revealed that the country star killed her late boyfriend's dog just prior to committing suicide, but left two other family pets uninjured.
Per a Feb. 19 interview with Cleburne County (Arkansas) Sheriff Marty Moss, the dog belonged to McCready's late boyfriend, record producer David Wilson, who is the father of her youngest son, 10-month-old Zayne.
Wilson, 34, reportedly committed suicide last month at the same Heber Springs, Ark., home that he shared with McCready. However, in recent weeks the investigation into his death was re-opened and sheriff's officials are awaiting the full results of an autopsy that was conducted on Wilson.
Although the senseless shooting of the dog, which was found on the home's porch beside McCready, 37, is puzzling for most, those who routinely work with people suffering from addiction issues and depression -- both of which McCready has publicly acknowledged -- have deeper insights into the possible motives behind such an act.
Dr. Pat Nation, a licensed counselor and psychotherapist whose areas of expertise include chemical dependency, mental health, dual-diagnosis and stress, said McCready likely had no malice whatsoever in mind when she killed the dog before turning the gun on herself.
"To this person, killing the dog made sense at the time," Nation told Examiner.com in a Feb. 19 interview. "She was without hope and the pain of death was less than the pain of living. She may have believed she was taking the dog with her to reunite with her (boyfriend).
"She may have also believed that no one would take care of the dog appropriately (after her death). She didn't want to leave the dog without a caregiver, so she did what she thought was a humane act and the only choice she believed she had, which was to kill the dog."
Although Nation has never treated nor met McCready, the country singer's actions are not unique, unfortunately. McCready's two sons were in foster care at the time of her death after being removed from her care by a local social-services agency following Wilson's death in January. Reportedly, McCready had checked herself into an in-patient rehab facility just two weeks ago following Wilson's death after a judge ordered her to do so.
Although McCready's children were unharmed and remain in foster care, "We sometimes see parents who are suicidal decide that no one will love and take care of their children like they do and that the world is a bad place to leave them, so they kill their children and then kill themselves," Nation explained. "(This was the) same thing basically, only this was a dog."
According to a Feb. 17 statement from the Cleburne County Sheriff's Office, McCready, whose birth name was Melinda Gayle McCready, was "transported to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for an autopsy and the matter will be fully investigated."
More about Mindy McCready
As country fans may recall, the blond songstress first found commercial success in the mid-1990s when, at 18, she moved to Nashville with only karaoke tapes to promote her career. Her debut album, "Ten Thousand Angels," sold two million copies and she charted at least a dozen songs on Billboard, including the former No. 1, "Guys Do It All the Time"
More recently, though, she made headlines for her own 2008 suicide attempt, legal battles with her mother and a tabloid-media company, a high-profile custody battle over her firstborn, son Zander (whose father is singer Billy McKnight), as well as a TV stint on "Celebrity Rehab 3" in 2010.