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    Doris Day Birthday Celebration Highlights Homeless Senior Pets

    A few members of our San Francisco Bay Times team recently attended the birthday celebrations for legendary entertainer Doris Day. At a very sharp 96, she is living proof that quality time with pets can work wonders at boosting spirits and maintaining human health. She used her birthday time in the spotlight to remind us about homeless pets and especially senior ones seeking their forever homes. For this special issue of the paper we are focusing on Openhouse and their work for seniors, so it seemed fitting to mention not only Day, but also her friends at the Doris Day Animal Foundation and Doris Day Animal League, as well as from the SPCA, Muttville, Peace of Mind Dog Rescue and Golden Oldies Cat Rescue.

    When most of us think of adopting a pet, playful puppies and cute kittens come to mind. Sadly, many older animals get left behind. As Muttville holds: “The tragic truth is that every day, dogs in good health with wonderful personalities are euthanized. Why? They’re older. And because they’re older, they’re not considered adoptable.” Senior cats are even less desired than senior dogs, such that numerous ones spend their last days in cold, dark shelters before being euthanized.

    Many of us were therefore moved when, right in the middle of Day’s birthday festivities, two frail dogs were brought in. Named Pixie and Bubbles, they had been left in a cardboard box beside a busy road in Hollister. The two bonded during the ordeal and have health issues that are manageable, yet they require frequent veterinary care. Finding a home for them—together—seemed hopeless. Day herself has personally adopted more animals than you might imagine over the years, so she has her hands full.

    We were extremely happy when our friend Deb Bayley—after some serious mulling over—agreed to adopt them! Although there are so many other homeless pets still at shelters and rescue centers, the entire room cheered and gained renewed hope. Even Day—a supremely empathetic woman who has shed many tears over both human and animal injustices—seemed uplifted the next morning.

    We also learned about Loki, a nearly-blind dog who had to be surrendered to Peace of Mind Dog Rescue. Loki had been neglected for years because his owner developed Alzheimer’s. After cataract surgery and four months in a foster home, Loki’s fate took a further turn for the better. Adopted by a couple in Santa Barbara, he is now loving his new home. According to his adoptive mom, “Loki is the love of my life, spoiled rotten, eats like a king and is a total grit hound. He walks with his two sisters every day, rides in the car, and amuses us endlessly with his commentary and chatter.”

    Pets like Loki, Pixie and Bubbles give back far more than they receive, in terms of love, good times, and companionship. Studies also show that pet ownership lowers blood pressure and anxiety. Often mellower senior pets likely enhance those human health benefits all the more.

    So please consider adopting a pet, and do not rule out the super seniors! If adoption is not possible, then please still consider supporting the below organizations and others that are dedicated to helping “four leggers,” as Day calls them. Well, she likes birds and no leggers too, since her foundation supports the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. Remember the sea lion crisis of a few years back, when hundreds of pups were stranded, malnourished and injured? Day quickly sent funds to cover the costs of food, medication, supplies, and more. She really is the best and continues to demonstrate that our senior years can be active, productive, and meaningful.

    Doris Day Animal Foundation:

    Peace of Mind Dog Rescue:


    Golden Oldies Cat Rescue:

    San Francisco SPCA: