The far-reaching legacy of Doris Day

The Doris Day Animal Foundation (DDAF) was founded by legendary singer-actress and animal welfare activist Doris Day in 1978 as a grassroots charity, with Doris and a group of volunteers rescuing and rehoming dogs and cats while advocating for spay/neuter to reduce the euthanasia of homeless pets languishing on the streets and in overcrowded shelters.  Over the years, DDAF evolved into today’s national grant-giving organization that carries on Doris’ legacy by supporting other non-profit animal welfare programs and organizations across the US that directly help all animals and the people who love them, from domestic pets, to horses, to chimpanzees rescued from labs, to wildlife affected by natural disasters, to spay/neuter programs (including World Spay Day, which Doris founded in 1995 as Spay Day USA, now in over 70 countries), and many more.

Among DDAF’s many grantees is The Pacific Primate Sanctuary (PPS). Based in Maui, Hawaii, PPS rescues, rehabilitates and provides lifelong care for primates in need. One of the current PPS residents is Nadine, a Cotton Top Tamarin enjoying life at the grand old age of 24. This is testament to the success of PPS as life expectancy in captivity is an average of 6 to 7 years. Highly intelligent and social animals, Cotton Top Tamarin monkeys are native to a small area in the tropical forests of north-western Columbia, and primarily due to deforestation are now a critically endangered species. You can follow the work of the Pacific Primate Sanctuary here.

Forgotten Dogs Rescue (FDR) is another DDAF grantee. Based in Washington State, FDR rescues, rehabilitates, and finds new homes for dogs that have been abandoned, neglected, or abused. FDR has a special focus on rescuing dogs that are often overlooked, such as senior dogs, dogs with medical needs, and breeds that are commonly discriminated against, such as pit bulls. You can see the cute pups looking for a new home here.

In another story, Lizzie, a former thoroughbred racehorse, was found neglected, malnourished and left for the kill pens before being rescued by DDAF grantee the Illinois Equine Humane Center. Lizzie is now safe, and although it’s still early days, the team at the IEHC are ensuring that Lizzie gets all the help that she needs. You can read more about Lizzie and other grantee stories on DDAF’s Facebook page.

Through the work of the DDAF and its grantees countless animals have been rescued, rehabilitated and re-homed. It’s an incredible legacy that Doris Day has left us – but of course, it’s not the only legacy. Although she left Hollywood behind to focus primarily on her animal welfare work for the last 40+ years of her life before she passed away in 2019 at the age of 97, Doris Day remains the Number One Female Box Office Star, following a film career spanning 39 films between 1948 and 1968.  At the same time, she continued recording numerous albums and more than 600 songs (including the Oscar-winning Secret Love and Que Sera Sera, which became her signature song), garnering her a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, among her many other honors and accolades.  As a finale to the 2022 centennial celebrations of the late singer-actress Sony Music Entertainment is presenting DDAF a Recording Industry Association of America Gold Record Award for her 1958 Columbia album Doris Day’s Greatest Hits. Certified gold in 1964 it has since gone on to sell millions of copies worldwide, remaining in print in various formats for 65 years.

Doris Day sung exclusively for Columbia Records (now owned by Sony) between 1941 and 1967, and Sony Legacy Recordings has embarked on a refreshment of her catalogue, making it available across streaming platforms and for download. The playlists will be released chronologically and encompass her complete repertoire of single releases, along with the full collection of her acclaimed albums. The first playlist, titled Doris Day and Les Brown: The Complete Okeh and Columbia Recordings 1940-1946, is available now on Spotify and from all major digital service providers. Visit and to learn more about Doris Day and her groundbreaking animal welfare work.

Headline image: Doris Day with Sydney, AKA Jumbo on the set of Jumbo.