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Doris Day's Animal Rights Activism

Multi-talented actress Doris Day has had a legendary career. Although Day did not set out to be an actress, instead she wanted to be a dancer, fate said otherwise and Day became a successful double-threat as an actress and singer. Her career includes 39 films with some of her co-stars being some of the handsomest men in Hollywood and her voice being a standard in Big Band music with her classic hit, "Sentimental Journey." Day garnered an Oscar nomination for "Best Actress" in "Pillow Talk" (1959) and has received the lifetime Achievement award at the Grammys as well as the lifetime achievement Cecil B. Demille award. However, it was in 1987, that Day decided to retire from entertainment and start a second career as an animal rights activist.

Within the same year of her retirement, Day founded The Doris Day Animal League, a national lobbying organization based in Washington DC. Its mission "to reduce the pain and suffering of non-human animals through legislative initiatives, education and programs to enforce statutes and regulations which have already been enacted protecting animals." Since the League's creation, it has been credited in many laws protecting animals from cruelty including the Dog and Cat Protection Act in 2000, which banned importing products that contained cat or dog fur.

It was out of personal tragedy that Doris Day decided to devote her time and name to gain awareness for Animal Rights. After being in a car accident which left Day with a fractured leg, her dog Tiny helped her through recovery. However, it was when Day was walking Tiny one day without a leash, that her dog ran out into the street and was instantly killed by a car. The event left Day feeling guilty, but spurred her passion for animal awareness because she said, "...[He] gave me the kind of companionship only a dog can bestow."

Day's other foundation, The Doris Day Animal Foundation (DDAF), established in 1998, provides educational and outreach programs to communities about animal protection and safety. The foundation's "Beyond Violence" program hold seminars for people in the areas of law enforcement and social services in order to show their importance in persecuting and preventing animal abuse crimes.

On June 23, 2004, President George W. Bush Jr. rewarded Day with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and amongst Days work in film, television and music, also recognized Day's work for animals by saying, "It was a good day for our fellow creatures when she gave her good heart to the cause of animal welfare."

In 2011, Day has extended her help towards animals by opening a facility for abused horses called the Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption center.

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