Editor’s Note: The following is the second part of an exclusive interview with singer/actress Doris Day. Besides her storied entertainment career and advocacy of animal rights, she owns the fabulous and historic Cypress Inn in Carmel — pet friendly, of course!
Doris Day will be happy knowing that the second part of her exclusive Tolucan Times interview will be in the special Spring Pet Issue! She will always be a Tolucan … and animals will always be her issue.
Just to clear the air, the tabloids’ soapy speculations are diametrically wrong. Doris takes her walks, is dutiful about her check-ups, and has results that we all would wish for. And, at 89, while having dinner, she can read the little scrolling on the TV that no one else can see. Vision is 20/20.
I hope Doris enjoys reading this and takes joy in the accomplishments of her Foundation.
THE DORIS DAY ANIMAL FOUNDATION: Here’s a heads-up to deserving small local animal organizations (501c3). Go to the DDAF website (ddaf.org) and apply for a grant. That is one of their primary goals.
A life-long animal lover, Doris Day is one of the world’s beloved and most-honored women, as well as one of the most-dedicated, hard-working, and recognized public servants and advocates of animal welfare and animal rights.
Long before it was fashionable to have a cause or show compassion, Doris was protecting and defending the animals and the people who love them.
Upon leaving Hollywood, Doris turned her focus to helping “the precious ones” – animals — full-time. But her love and dedication didn’t start there. While recuperating from the childhood auto accident that nearly left her paralyzed, her dog “Tiny” helped her cope.
“He never left my side, understood my moods, and gave me the kind of companionship that only a dog can bestow,” Doris says. “It was during this time that I began a lifelong love affair with dogs. The affection and caring of both dogs and cats is also a relief from tensions and anxiety.”
In 1956 while on location in Morocco filming Alfred Hitchcock’s classic The Man Who Knew Too Much, she was appalled at the condition and treatment of the animals on the set and announced that she would not work until the emaciated animals received proper care. Did they ever!
And Doris didn’t hesitate calling President Ronald Reagan when she found out that his dog was exiled to the Western White House.
In 1971, Doris became one of the founding members of Actors and Others for Animals, along with Richard and Diana Basehart, Lucie Arnaz, and my lucky self. In 1978, she founded the non-profit Doris Day Pet Foundation.
Soon Doris recognized that rescuing animals wasn’t enough. She knew she had to get to the root of the homeless pet overpopulation and do more to protect all animals. To complement the Doris Day Pet Foundation, she formed the Doris Day Animal League in 1987, a national non-profit citizens’ lobbying organization.
With Doris’ personal involvement in writing letters and calling legislators, DDAL soon became one of the most powerful voices for animals on Capitol Hill, responsible for landmark legislation on behalf of the animals.
One of Doris’ and DDAL’s proudest achievements is founding Spay Day USA in 1995. Now known as World Spay Day, the effort now encompasses 46 countries. In 2007, the Doris Day Animal League merged with the Humane Society of the United States for an even greater legislative voice in Washington.
In the meantime, Doris realized that her Foundation could also have a much more far-reaching impact for the animals nationwide. What began as The Doris Day Pet Foundation has evolved from a local, grassroots rescue organization to the Doris Day Animal Foundation.
Today, in addition to overseeing her charities, Doris stays busy running her household filled with her own precious “four-leggers” and happily reading and responding to the tremendous volume of fan mail she continues to receive.