Doris Day Animal Foundation Establishes Shelter Medicine Scholarship

Photo: cat behind bars
Photo: cat behind bars

Doris Day, in memory of her son, Terry Melcher, and to honor the professionals at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, has designated The Doris Day Animal Foundation to contribute a $75,000 grant to establish an endowed veterinary scholarship in shelter medicine, a specialty area of study, at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine.

This first "Doris Day and Terry Melcher Scholarship" was created with funds donated to the non-profit Doris Day Animal Foundation, including a special memorial fund established in 2004 when Melcher passed away. The endowed scholarship will be awarded annually, in perpetuity, to outstanding veterinary students working to improve the welfare of homeless animals.

"I am so grateful to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine for the care and attention to my animals over the years. The veterinarians and staff are miracle workers, and I'm delighted that our gift will help train future veterinarians," said Doris Day. "I am also enthusiastic about the school's Koret Shelter Medicine Program and its efforts to improve the health of animals in shelters waiting for new loving homes."

The Koret Shelter Medicine Program is dedicated to advancing shelter medicine as a veterinary specialty through research, specialty training and education, and the performance of veterinary service in animal shelters. Veterinary students studying shelter medicine learn how to enhance the quality of life of animals in shelters through improvements in veterinary preventive medicine and management of disease.

The first Doris Day and Terry Melcher Scholarship was presented in May to senior veterinary student, Christi Payne from Palo Alto, who is presently an intern at the Sonoma Humane Society.

"Christi is an outstanding example of the many new veterinarians with the ambition to solve the problem of homeless pets," says Dr. Kate Hurley, Director of the Koret Shelter Medicine Program. "This new scholarship validates their work and provides tangible encouragement for them to take on these community veterinary health issues in their careers."

Melcher, a singer and songwriter, died of melanoma in 2004. He had helped run the Doris Day Animal Foundation, established in 1998 to aid animals and the people who care for them. The foundation pioneered the landmark event Spay Day USA, which annually coordinates low-cost spay and neuter procedures for dogs and cats.

Over the years, Melcher and his mother often traveled together to the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at UC Davis seeking care for sick animals. The teaching hospital was recently named in honor of William R. Pritchard, dean emeritus of the School of Veterinary Medicine. After Melcher's death, friends and members of the Doris Day Animal Foundation donated money in his memory to be used to improve the welfare of animals.

Media Resources

Pat Bailey, Research news (emphasis: agricultural and nutritional sciences, and veterinary medicine), 530-219-9640,

Kate Hurley, UC Davis Shelter Medicine Program,

Linda Dozoretz or Tina Brausam, for the Doris Day Animal Foundation, (323) 656-4499,

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