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A tribute to Doris Day: Hollywood legend and animal rights activist

Doris day dedicated her life to animals dog-cat-sad
© Howard Gee - Youtube

Hollywood legend and animal rights campaigner Doris Day recently passed away aged 97.

By Ashley Murphy

Published on the 14/05/2019, 17:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:47

The star of the silver screen appeared in over 30 films but turned her back on Hollywood in the 1970s to focus on her animal welfare work.

The celebrity dog catcher

She founded the Doris Day pet foundation in 1978 to rescue, foster, and re-home stray animals. Doris personally recused hundreds of strays and abandoned pets, earning her the nickname of “The Dog Catcher of Beverly Hills."

As her charity grew, it became the Doris Day Animal Foundation, and to this day it still provides grants for spaying and neutering programmes. It also funds animal welfare education and even helps senior citizens pay for their pets food and veterinary care.

In 1987, Doris continued her tireless work by forming the Doris Day Animal League (DDAL). The DDAL was a significant force in campaigning for more comprehensive animal welfare laws and was a major supporter of PETA’s campaign to reduce animal testing.


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Some well-deserved recognition

Amazingly, the Hollywood icon never managed to win an Oscar. However, in 2004, President George W. Bush presented Day with the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.

Doris's love for animals was legendary among Hollywood circles. While filming Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much in Morocco, Doris was so distressed by the plight of the local animals that she refused to continue shooting until they were taken care of. A feeding station was set up, and Doris supervised the animals care while finishing the film.

The Doris Day Animal Foundation continues to provide support to smaller rescue organisations nationwide, with a particular focus on those assisting senior pets.  

Doris asked for no funeral or memorial service and wanted no grave marker. Instead, she encouraged fans to remember her work by visiting the dorisdayanimalfoundation.org.