Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Doris Day, Founder (deceased)
T. Robert Bashara, DVM, CEO
Peter C. Bashara, DVM, CFO
Roger Brown, DVM, Voting Member
Eddie Muller, Voting Member
Jim Pierson, Voting Member
Lea Price, Voting Member
Susana Zepeda Cagan, Voting Member

*None of DDAF's Board Members receives monetary compensation for their work. All board members participate solely as volunteers.

DORIS DAY, Founder, deceased (1922-2019)

A lifelong animal lover, Doris Day remains one of the world's most-loved and most-honored women, as well as one of the most-dedicated, hard-working and recognized public servants and advocates of animal welfare. Long before it was fashionable to have a cause or show compassion, Doris was protecting and defending the animals and the people who love them.

Born Doris Mary Ann von Kappelhoff on April 3, 1922 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Doris dreamed of becoming a professional dancer. After a serious auto accident dashed those dreams, she turned to singing, launching her professional career with Barney Rapp’s band at the tender age of 15, later joining Les Brown and His Band of Renown, with whom she had her first major hit, “Sentimental Journey.”  Over the next two decades, Doris would go on to record more than 650 songs and make 39 films, being voted the Top Female Box Office Star four years in a row and remaining in the Top 10 for 10 straight years—a record unmatched to this day.

In 1968, Doris turned her attention to television, first with her hit comedy series, “The Doris Day Show,” which ran for five seasons, and later “Doris Day’s Best Friends,” focusing on animals and their welfare.  Among her many honors, Doris received the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in 1989; the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004; a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2008; and the 2011 Los Angeles Film Critics Career Achievement Award.   “My Heart,” Doris’ CD of previously unreleased material, reached the Top 10 in the UK and was among Billboard’s Top 135 in the U.S. in 2011. Although it has been decades since she last starred in a motion picture, her name continues to top the “most-admired” lists and polls, and her films are among the most-popular on television and DVD.

Upon leaving Hollywood and the entertainment industry behind, Doris turned her focus to helping animals full-time. But her love and dedication to “the precious ones” didn’t start there.   While recuperating from the childhood auto accident that nearly left her paralyzed, her dog, “Tiny,” helped her cope. “He never left my side, understood my moods and gave me the kind of companionship that only a dog can bestow," Doris said. "It was during this time that I began a lifelong love affair with dogs, a sentiment known only to dog lovers – and cat lovers, too. Their affection and caring is a relief from tensions and anxiety.”

That lesson resulted in one of the most active and dedicated animal welfare volunteer efforts in history. Even in the early years, when animal welfare organizations were virtually non-existent, Doris was passionate about helping animals through her own grassroots efforts. In 1956 while on location in Morocco filming Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” she was appalled at the condition and treatment of the animals on and near the set and announced that she would not work until the emaciated animals received proper care. The production company promptly set up a feeding station for the goats, lambs, horses, cows, dogs, cats, burros and other animals.  Doris, of course, supervised the care and feeding, and being happy with the results, she finished the movie.

Back home, Doris was rescuing dogs and cats on her own, often knocking on doors in the neighborhood in an attempt to reunite lost dogs with their owners or checking to make sure that those that were either reunited or in new homes were doing well and receiving proper care and attention.  Never shy when it came to animal welfare, Doris didn’t hesitate calling President Ronald Reagan when she found out that his dog was exiled to the Western White House.  In 1971, Doris became one of the founding members of Actors and Others for Animals,

As her personal rescue work became more and more overwhelming, Doris realized she could save even more lives with her own organization.  In 1978, she founded the non-profit Doris Day Pet Foundation, focusing on finding homes for the too many animals that were being destroyed simply because there weren't enough good homes and advocating for spaying and neutering.  In addition to fostering animals at her house, she was leasing kennel space, providing for veterinary care, and finding loving forever homes, with the help of a dedicated staff of volunteers.

Soon, Doris recognized that rescuing animals wasn’t enough.  She knew she had to get to the root of the homeless pet overpopulation and do more to protect all animals, so to complement the Doris Day Pet Foundation, she formed the Doris Day Animal League in 1987, a national non-profit citizens’ lobbying organization.  With Doris’ personal involvement in writing letters and calling legislators, DDAL soon became one of the most powerful voices for animals on Capitol Hill, responsible for landmark legislation on behalf of the animals.  One of Doris’ and DDAL’s proudest achievements is founding Spay Day USA in 1995.  Now known as World Spay Day, the effort today encompasses 70 countries.  In 2007, the Doris Day Animal League merged with the Humane Society of the United States for an even greater legislative voice in Washington.

In the meantime, Doris realized that her Foundation could also have a much more far-reaching impact for the animals nationwide and beyond.  What began as The Doris Day Pet Foundation has evolved from a local, grassroots rescue organization to the Doris Day Animal Foundation (DDAF), a national grant-giving organization, funding other nonprofit 501(c)(3) causes across the country that share DDAF’s mission of helping animals and the people who love them.

For the rest of her life, Doris never wavered in her lifelong dedication and hands-on involvement to make this a better world for the animals.  The Doris Day Animal Foundation is committed to carrying on its trailblazing founder’s vision and legacy by continuing to help animals and the people who love them, exactly as she would have wanted.


Dr. Bashara was a practicing veterinarian in small animal medicine for more than 50 years and is the recipient of the 2018 American Veterinary Medical Association Animal Welfare Award; the 2018 Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine Stange Award for Meritorious Service in Veterinary Medicine; and the 2020 Iowa State University Alumni Humanitarian Award. He had always been a fan of Doris Day's music and movies, but having spent many years working with the humane community in Omaha, Nebr., he truly admired her for her work on behalf of animal welfare. He and Doris shared a dedication to animal population control, and Dr. Bashara was a particular advocate of the Doris Day Animal League's early Spay Day program. After many years of working with clients to educate them on the benefits of spay/neuter and well-pet care, he had a chance to meet Doris and some of her pets in 1995, and they became good friends. In 2009, Dr. Bashara was asked by Doris to oversee the operation of the Doris Day Animal Foundation, following the death of its executive director, to ensure that its work to improve the lives of animals continued as Doris had intended.  He and his wife Jan have shared their home with many, many Maltese dogs, turtles, fish, rabbits, and even an African water frog over the years!


Dr. Pete Bashara is a 1997 graduate of Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He is an active member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Nebraska Academy of Veterinary Medicine, serves on the board of the Nebraska Humane Society and the Omaha Animal Emergency Clinic, and is a member of the Iowa State University Veterinary Medical Alumni Association. In 2007, Dr. Bashara was named the Midwest Business Journal's small businessman of the year.  He was asked by Doris Day to serve on DDAF’s Board of Directors in 2010, based on his extensive animal welfare involvement and knowledge of emerging innovations in the veterinary field.  Dr. Bashara and his wife Andrea, both Omaha natives, have two children, two dogs and a cat.

ROGER BROWN, DVM  - Voting Member

Dr. Brown has been a small-animal veterinarian for 57 years, and is currently specializing in feline medicine as a consultant. He was a base veterinarian for the Marine Corps Schools in Quantico, Vir., where he supervised the training of Special Forces in pack-animal transportation and ferrier skills. He practiced small animal surgery in Bethesda, Md., for 7 years, and in Omaha, Nebr., for 28 years. Thereafter he has been a feline consultant.

Dr. Brown established and is currently managing a feline DNA Health Program for the Cat Fanciers Association. He was given a Humanitarian Award and Star Award for his work with the Association. Dr. Brown served for 10 years on the CFA Board of Directors as an internationally elected member, and continues to serve as Scientific Advisor. During his years in practice, Dr. Brown was Chairman of the Board of three animal-related businesses that brought continuing education and other practice management ideas to small animal veterinarians worldwide. He has been an international lecturer in Ireland, Hong Kong, and the United States for many years. Throughout Dr. Brown’s career, and in his personal life, he has been associated with animal welfare.  Roger and his wife Nancy have had dogs and cats all their lives. Currently, they have Ocicat and Chihuahua pets.

EDDIE MULLER - Voting Member

Eddie Muller is a writer, producer, director, and impresario. He hosts the popular weekly film series Noir Alley on Turner Classic Movies, and as founder and president of the Film Noir Foundation, he has spearheaded the restoration or preservation of more than 30 “orphaned” films. In 2023 he was the recipient of the Raven Award from the Mystery Writers of America, recognizing his contributions to the genre.

He is also a San Francisco Literary Laureate. Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, which he co-wrote with the actor, was a national bestseller. Muller provided the chapter on Doris Day’s film career to Doris Day: Images of a Hollywood Icon. He is internationally known as the producer and host of a network of NOIR CITY film festivals, both domestic and international. In addition to writing crime novels, he is the author of the Kid Noir children’s book series, which began in 2023 with Kitty Feral and the Case of the Marshmallow Monkey.

A lifelong animal lover, Muller resides in Alameda, Calif., with his wife Kathleen and their family of rescued cats: Bent, Snap, Rumpus, Keekat, Buddy, and Tizzy.


JIM PIERSON - Voting Member

Mr. Pierson is a Los Angeles-based producer who began his career in television sports and radio broadcasting in his native Fort Worth, Tex. Over the past three decades his professional work has spanned primetime drama and feature film to dozens of documentaries and music specials for PBS. Among his credits are "Fever: The Music of Peggy Lee," "The Big Band Years," "Close To You: Remembering The Carpenters," "Carol Burnett’s Favorites," "Perry Como Classics," "Aretha Franklin Remembered," "California Dreamin’: The Songs Of The Mamas & The Papas," "Nat King Cole’s Greatest," "Folk Rewind," "Motown Memories," "Burt Bacharach’s Best," "The Winds Of War: Behind The Scenes," and "Dark Shadows."
A veteran member of the Television Academy and Recording Academy, Jim has also been responsible for the release of many classic TV programs on DVD in addition to vintage and new recordings on CD by legendary recording artists including Doris Day.

For more than 10 years, Jim has been a key figure in helping fundraise for the Doris Day Animal Foundation as co-producer on Doris Day’s “My Heart” CD and through providing his expertise in coordinating the Doris Day birthday fundraisers in Carmel, Calif.
Jim is a lifelong animal lover and shares his home with rescue terrier mix, Bongo.

LEA PRICE - Voting Member

A lifelong animal advocate and longtime friend of Doris Day’s, Lea Price had been helping Doris with animal welfare work since Doris’ involvement with Cleveland Amory’s Fund For Animals and Actors and Others for Animals before Doris founded the Doris Day Pet Foundation in 1978.  She has had a long and successful career in the entertainment and publishing industries, most notably at ABC, where she primarily worked on marketing, licensing and distribution of ABC owned and acquired programming to worldwide media markets.  She later segued to Los Angeles magazine (both companies owned by Disney at the time), where she spent the next 15 years. 

Lea officially joined the Doris Day Animal Foundation in 2009 and was asked by Doris to serve on its Board of Directors in 2011.  As Director of Communications, she is actively involved in DDAF’s day-to-day business and oversees the organization of DDAF's fundraising events.  Most recently on behalf of the Doris Day Estate, Lea collaborated on Doris Day, Images of a Hollywood Icon, a book of rare and personal photographs, released in honor of Doris' centennial year.

Lea lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and two rescue dogs, Daisy and Riley. 



Susana Zepeda Cagan is the Vice President of Talent Relations and Development for Turner Classic Movies. She leads all talent recruitment and development for TCM and oversees talent relations responsibilities including brand-related talent management and appearances, talent ideation for programming and brand initiatives, and creating new business opportunities for the brands built around talent.

Prior to TCM, Susana worked in the digital arena as the head of production, development, and talent for NBCU’s Fandango, and before that at Disney Interactive as the head of creative for Disney online. In both of these roles she directed a team of producers, directors, writers, and editors in developing the team's online entertainment strategy.  

Susana began her career in the film industry, working as a film executive for various filmmakers, developing screenplays, packaging, and selling to distributors. She ran companies for Ed Feldman (The Truman Show), Gregory Nava (Mi Familia, Selena), Martin Scorsese, and Barbara Defina and Ralph Winter (Wolverine).

Susana currently lives in El Segundo, Calif., with her husband, teenage son, and two beautiful dogs (Kobe, a 10-year old golden retriever, and Walter, a 7-year old terrier mutt mix).