Pat Derby was the founder and director of the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). She died earlier this month due to cancer. She was a pioneer animal rights activist and will be long remembered. She was only 69.
Getting her start as an animal trainer, she notably trained Lassie and Flipper! This is indeed a loss for those who knew and loved her and a loss for the animals. The organization will carry on in the endeavor that she started.
Here's a little gem from TV in the 70s. Ms. Derby appeared on the game show, What's My Line in 1973. Panelists were Fannie Flagg, Allen Ludden, Arlene Francis and Soupy Sales. We get a history of Derby's work both as an animal trainer and her work forming PAWS.
An interesting side note, a walkway at the Los Angeles Zoo was named in
the memory of Allen Ludden, who was married to television great, Betty
White. (Betty White is a board member at the Zoo and an animal
advocate in her own right.) There is also a man-made lake in Mineral
Point was named Ludden Lake in his honor.
You'll see behind the scenes footage of their filming a Ford Cougar commercial as Patricia Derby works with a cougar. Later we see that cougar there on the show.
"Please don't get a wild animal for a pet," is one of her messages.
From their site: "Since 1984, The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) has been at the forefront of efforts to rescue and provide appropriate, humane sanctuary for animals who have been the victims of the exotic and performing animal trades. PAWS investigates reports of abused performing and exotic animals, documents cruelty and assists in investigations and prosecutions by regulatory agencies to alleviate the suffering of captive wildlife."
Animal rights advocates often work very long hours, thanklessly and with too few resources.
The PAWS web site offers an amazing resource of information about animals, Pat Derby and their work.A donation to PAWS is always needed and appreciated. They offer the following message:
"A celebration of Pat's life will be planned at a later date. Ed has requested no flowers be sent. For anyone wishing to honor Pat, he would prefer donations be made to PAWS in her memory. Letters of condolences can be sent to P. O. Box 849, Galt, CA 95632 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org"
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