Among Dusty Springfield's friends and fans, her love of animals, especially cats, was legendary. Should she have lived to be a grand old dame, her wish to own a hotel for cats, somewhere where owners could leave them in the complete luxury she felt all cats deserve, would have been her dream. For most of her life, she shared her homes with animals. She would rescue a poor cat from the road and sit all night at the vet's until she knew the little thing had survived. Sick hedgehogs would be nursed back to health and stray cats would have shelters built for them in her gardens so that they didn't get cold at night. Even at the height of her career in the sixties, Dusty did everything she could for animals in distress. No animal charity had to ask more than once; she just couldn't resist.
In the mid seventies, Dusty was living in Los Angeles. It was a quiet time in her career and she became involved with an organization in the San Fernando Valley run by Martine Collette called The Wildlife Waystation. Here, wild or exotic animals, some found by the wayside and some who were no longer able to live with their owners, were given refuge. If they couldn't be re-located to zoos, or be rehabilitated and set free, they were taken in and taken care of. Dusty would help with looking after these sick animals in any way she could. She also campaigned enthusiastically on TV, on radio and in the press, both for funds for the Waystation and against the practice of importing any exotic or wild animals that were destined to be kept as pets by rich Americans. She "adopted" a wild cat there, and later in life would adopt more animals in need, from cats and dogs, to a horse.
In the late eighties, Dusty decided it was time to move back to England but she worried about her cats. She couldn't bear the idea of putting them into quarantine for months on end, and so eventually moved to Holland, which was the nearest place to England that didn't have quarantine laws. Eventually, she took the plunge, and Nicholas and Malaysia made the journey to England and a life in the country. Malaysia, unfortunately, escaped from the house and was hit by a car not long after arriving, leaving Dusty to live alone with her beloved and pampered Nicholas. When Dusty was diagnosed with cancer in 1994, seeing Nicholas curled up on the rug and wondering what would happen to him if anything happened to her, made the tears flow. Dusty died of cancer in 1999 and left provision in her will for Nicholas to live in comfort until the day he died and, as Dusty would have said, went to that big litter tray in the sky.
The Dusty Springfield fans of Let's Talk Dusty! http://www.letstalkdusty.com have created this memorial fund to honor Britain's finest popular singer whose lifelong devotion to the welfare of animals was legendary and inspiring. Your donation will go to The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Angell Animal Medical Center (MSPCA-Angell), a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement and the highest-quality veterinary care available anywhere in the world. MSPCA-Angell provides direct hands-on care to more than 250,000 animals each year.
No contribution is too small--or too large. Please help us pay tribute to Dusty and help needy animals.