Doris Day, perhaps the “OG” of celebrity animal advocates, peacefully passed away in her sleep this morning. If there’s a heaven, it’s a sure thing there’s a special place reserved for her, where she’s surrounded by lots of angel dogs.
“The world has lost a light today,” wrote T. Robert Bashara, chief financial officer of the nonprofit Doris Day Animal Foundation (DDAF) created by the actress in 1978, in an announcement on Facebook. “Doris was not just a darling of song and screen, but a close friend, an inspiration when the world seemed bleak, and a dear, compassionate advocate for her favorite beings on Earth: the 4-leggers.”
Before she moved to Carmel in Northern California (where she became a pioneer by opening the first-ever dog-friendly hotel), Day was known as “The Dog Catcher of Beverly Hills,” according to the DDAF. If she found a lost dog in her neighborhood, she would knock on doors until she reunited the pet with its owner. She carried around photos of pets needing homes — but before anyone could adopt one of them, she’d personally inspect their home to make sure the pet would be happy there.
To help homeless pets nationwide, Day started what was originally called the Doris Day Pet Foundation. Its mission then and now is to help animals and the people who love them. DDAF provides funds to nonprofits across the country that care for and protect animals.
Along with the Doris Day Animal Foundation, in 1987 Day created the Doris Day Animal League (DDAL). The mission of this nonprofit is to reduce the pain and suffering of animals through legislation, education and programs. Eight years later, Day and DDAL started Spay Day USA, which is now known as World Spay Day. During its first 15 years, the nonprofit provided the funding for 1.5 million pets to be spayed and neutered.
If you’re a fan of Day’s and/or you love dogs and want to do something to honor the memory of this amazing lady, here are some ways you can do that.
- Make a donation to the Doris Day Animal Foundation.
- Make a donation to the Doris Day Animal League.
- Make a donation to a local rescue group or shelter.
There are also many ways to honor Day without spending money. As I wrote for Care2, here are some suggestions:
Share photos of homeless pets on social media. Just like Day once carried around those photos, you can reach a lot more people by using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media accounts to post photos and information about pets available for adoption. Ask your friends and followers to share the photos so they’re seen by as many potential adopters as possible.
Volunteer your time at an animal shelter. “Whether you walk dogs at your shelter, stuff envelopes for an educational mailing or assist with a fundraising event, you can make a difference in the lives of animals,” says the Humane Society of the United States.
Donate items like towels and blankets to a shelter or rescue. Be sure to call first or check its website for a wish list to find out exactly what is needed.
Spread the word about the importance of spaying and neutering pets. Every year, millions of homeless cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters. This could easily be prevented if people would spay or neuter their pets to prevent unwanted litters. Tell your friends, co-workers, neighbors and everyone you know to be responsible pet parents by spaying and neutering their dogs and cats.