In Memoriam 2017: Remembering Famous Animal Advocates originally appeared in Dog Tipper.
As we say goodbye to 2017, let’s take a moment to remember some of the famous two- and four-legged animal advocates we bid farewell to this year. Although they may be gone, their love for dogs and cats in need lives on.
In the words of the theme song from her groundbreaking comedy series, Mary Tyler Moore turned the world on with her smile…and offscreen the actress turned the world on to helping animals in need. A famous friend to all with fur, fins and feathers, the entertainment icon was a vegetarian who spoke out for those who cannot speak for themselves, from lobsters facing their end in a boiling pot and the suffering of animals on factory farms, to dogs and cats in need of forever homes.
In 1999 Mary Tyler Moore and fellow animal-loving luminary Bernadette Peters launched Broadway Barks. The annual event features glitterati from The Great White Way shining a spotlight on adorable adoptables who have been waiting in the wings at NYC shelters for the day when they can take center stage in the heart of a loving pet parent. To celebrate the star’s life, at the 2017 event the Mary Tyler Moore Award was debuted, which will be given annually to those with a passion for compassion.
The late music icon Gregg Allman, who– as a pet parent to dogs Otis and Maggie, would proudly show photos of his furry family members to folks while out on the road– told entertainment weekly Connect Savannah: “We support the ASPCA and organizations like that.” and that rather than wearing Grateful Dead t-shirts, the “Rambln’ Man” and his wife would walk around in”… animal shirts that say ‘ one buck will change their luck.”
When actor Jim Nabors acted as co-chair of The Hawaiian Human Society‘s 2014 Tuxes & Tails fundraising gala at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel he surprised the gathering of animal lovers with a stirring performance of one of his signature songs, “The Impossible Dream (The Quest).” A multi- pet parent, over the years the entertainment icon helped The Hawaiian Humane Society’s quest to turn the collective dream of homeless dogs and cats to have a forever family from reverie into reality. “He was a champion for animals, a close friend and a great supporter of the Hawaiian Humane Society,” stated Hawaiian Humane Society President and CEO, Lisa Fowler in a Facebook post. “We were saddened to hear of Jim’s passing. Our heartfelt condolences to his husband Stan Cadwallader, his family and friends who loved him dearly.”
His name will forever be synonymous with “bunnies” –both the two- and four-legged variety, as funds donated from The Playboy Foundation has aided the endangered Lower Keys marsh rabbit, which was named Sylvilagus palusris hefneri in his honor. However, the late Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner was also known for his love of canines and cats. A supporter of Much Love Animal Rescue, Hef held several fundraisers for the non-profit on the grounds of the Playboy mansion, and the pop culture icon and his wife Crystal donated an original painting of Marilyn Monroe which celebrated his magazine’s first cover for a Charity Buzz auction that benefited The Pet Care Foundation.
The late rock n’ roll legend Tom Petty was instrumental in helping animals who are “Runnin’ Down a Dream” of a better life by donating a series of his silver and bronze guitar strings used on several of The Heartbreakers’ tours to a paws cause. Established by his bandmate Mike Campbell, Rock the Dogs! has raised funds for the Tazzy Animal Rescue Fund by auctioning the strings, which were transformed into bracelets and treble clef-shaped earrings. Mike Campbell is a board member of the non-profit, which focuses on saving the lives of elderly and medically-challenged animals.
Over the course of his career in the big leagues Roy Halladay pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays and The Philadelphia Phillies. Away from the baseball diamond the sports star stepped up to the plate to help The Humane Society of The United States and the organization’s continuing efforts to prompt pet parents to spay or neuter their furry family members.
Don Gordon, who starred as a tough guy in such silver screen hits of the 1970s as Bullitt, Papillon and The Towering Inferno, had a soft heart for our four-legged friends. when he passed away in April at the age of 90, the actor requested that loved ones help dogs and cats who dream of landing a starring role in the life of a pet parent by making a donation to The Lange Foundation in his name in lieu of flowers.
A cast member of such 1950s cult classics as I Was a Teenage Werewolf and Attack of the Puppet People, when actor Kenny Miller passed away in May his family requested that those who wished to honor his memory make a donation to an organization that helps dogs and cats land starring roles in the lives of forever pet parents, the Doris Day Animal Foundation.
A puppy mill survivor, after her rescue and adoption Toast became the toast of the town for championing paws causes. Stepping away from the darkness of her past, the senior Cavalier King Charles Spaniel used her star wattage to shine a light on the plight of other dogs who were still hidden in the shadows of the puppy mill trade. Over the years internet icon Toast attended galas, struck poses for modeling campaigns (including a photo shoot for Karen Walker eyewear) and unleashed a book (Toast Hampton: How to Summer in Style), raising people’s spirits as she raised funds for animals in need.
A post shared by TOAST MEETS WORLD (@toastmeetsworld) on Oct 18, 2017 at 4:47pm PDT
A dog with the strength to change people’s misconceptions of dogs who have been bullied by prejudice, Hercules gained fame as the lovable canine sidekick of Shorty Rossi in the Animal Planet docu-series Pit Boss and traveling from coast to coast with the reality personality in a series of pet expos to promote the sweet nature of Pitties. Hercules crossed Rainbow Bridge in October at the age of 13.
A post shared by Luigi Francis Shorty Rossi (@shortyrossi) on Oct 1, 2017 at 6:37pm PDT
Not only did Ashleigh and Pudsey win season six of the TV series Britain’s Got Talent, the dog trick duo also won the hearts of animal lovers for using their new found fame to help those in need. Together the Border Collie/Bichon Frise/Chinese Crested mix (who starred on the big screen in Pudsey: The Movie and “wrote” the book “Pudsey: My Autobidography”) and his favorite human were ambassadors of the Starlight Children’s Foundation, promoted proper pet guardianship in a Vets4Pets campaign, and raised funds for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home at an annual BGC Partners Day event. Pudsey passed away in July at the age of 11.
A post shared by ashleigh butler (@ashleighbutler7) on Apr 20, 2016 at 5:19am PDT