Mickey Rooney’s Timeless Message of Love for Animals

Published by Alisa Mullins.

Screen legend Mickey Rooney, who passed away on Sunday at age 93, may be best remembered for his roles in Babes in Arms, Boys Town, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, National Velvet, the Andy Hardy movies, and more than 200 other films, but here at PETA, we most fondly remember a little “movie” he and his wife, Jan, made for us in which they talk about their rescued dog, Digby, and rescued macaw, Cookie.

“It’s easy to fall in love with wonderful animals,” said Mickey.

Jan agreed. In fact, she said it was Mickey’s love of animals that drew her to him. “That warmed my heart,” she said. “I knew he was the right guy for me.”

The couple took in Digby when some friends didn’t want him anymore. “He’s been in heaven ever since,” said Jan. The couple’s scarlet macaw, Cookie, came from their veterinarian. She had been abandoned, very ill, on the vet’s doorstep but had completely recovered by the time the video was made and is seen perched in a spacious, tropical plant–filled aviary with another macaw companion.

“Both Jan and I believe that it’s right [to adopt homeless animals],” said Mickey. “More people should do it—adopt animals from their nearest pound.”

He knew how much the security of a good home means to animals. In an endorsement of PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk’s book Let’s Have a Dog Party!, Mickey wrote, “[Y]ou are your dog’s favorite party guest.”

Mickey, who reportedly kept working right up until a few weeks before his death, stressed that people shouldn’t let age deter them from adopting. “Remember: Any age, any place, anywhere—it’s never too late to love—to give love to our animal friends.”

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind