Joan Rivers, who would have turned 84 on June 8, lives on — in new books, on QVC, and now in a PETA campaign urging animal adoption, using one of her trademark jokes.

Joan Rivers PETA Ad
Joan Rivers PETA Ad

“A study says owning a dog makes you 10 years younger,” she says. “My first thought was to rescue 2 more, but I don’t want to go through menopause again.”

The ad, featuring a photo supplied by Rivers’ daughter, Melissa Rivers, shows her entangled with a dog on a leash. “I love rescues and runts,” Rivers told People magazine in 2010. “It’s always the one that gets pushed aside that needs the love and will love you back that much more.”

Rivers, who credited her dog Spike with saving her life after her husband’s suicide, assisted PETA with numerous campaigns over the years. She helped PETA lobby the New York City Council to pass bills increasing licensing fees for unneutered animals and prohibiting dogs from being chained outside, she hosted PETA’s Passover hotline to promote vegan ham — or “pork even a Jew can eat” — and she helped PETA unveil Melissa’s anti-fur billboard in Times Square.

Every year, more than 6 million dogs and cats end up in U.S. animal shelters, and half of them must be euthanized because there aren’t enough good homes for them. Countless more end up on the street, where they may starve, freeze, get hit by cars, or endure abuse. PETA encourages caring people to adopt from local animal shelters and never buy from breeders or pet stores, which only exacerbate the homeless-animal overpopulation crisis.

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