Rather than giving the gift of a kitten or puppy or any other pet this Christmas, Doris Day suggests that a much better decision would be to give a gift certificate from a local shelter or rescue organisation and then wait a while before redeeming it so that the decision to use it is made after the dust has settled from the Christmas festivities. This allows a cold hard look at what it means to care for a companion animal for his/her life. It is a responsibility which should not be taken lightly.
This is the first time I’ve heard of such a suggestion which is why I’m writing about it. I would like people to tell me how many rescue organisations and local shelters provide gift certificates which can be purchased as Christmas presents.
Doris Day is still alive, aged 93 years. She seems to be reasonably healthy and is still intimately involved in her foundation (the Doris Day Animal Foundation).
She became interested in animal issues for the first time in 1956 on an Alfred Hitchcock film called “The Man Who Knew Too Much”. Her co-star was Jimmy Stewart. In that film animals were used and although her natural instincts were to be cooperative and not make waves when making a film, she felt compelled to insist that the animals were well fed, well treated and happy because what she saw in that film was animals treated in a very bad way. Suddenly, it seems, she realised that she had a deep caring for the welfare of animals. She used her celebrity to get her way and she did. She realised at that time that she was able to achieve something with respect animal welfare by virtue of her celebrity.
She quite deliberately keeps the administrative costs down at her foundation to maximise the amount of funds available at the sharp end of animal rescue. Her foundation evolved into a grant giving charity which has had an impact at local and national level.
Doris Day has no regrets about saying goodbye to Hollywood very many years ago because she says that she enjoyed her career but after a hectic time making films and recordings together with television the time had seemed right for her to move on to a new chapter in her life; to concentrate on animal welfare work. After four marriages it was time to focus on animals!
Doris Day currently lives with several cats and three dogs which is a lot less than she normally has apparently. She honours the memory of cats and dogs who have passed on by saving the lives of others from a shelter.
Fans still write to her and she feels blessed that they still do:
“I get such lovely letters from all over the world, including from young people whose parents and grandparents introduced them to my films and music. I’m floored when they tell me how much my work has meant to them – let alone that they even know who I am.”
She’s a modest lady and I think a great lady to care so much for animals and to do such great work over such a long time to improve the welfare of animals.
It is unusual for Doris Day to agree to be interviewed. I guess she wanted to have a say at Christmas on the subject of kitten and puppy gifts to improve animal welfare some more.
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