Billy D. Lives On

photo—Craig Dyer


Yesterday we laid to rest our good friend Bill Dyer, a force for animals’ lives stoppable only by the conclusion of his own.

Everyone has so many Bill stories, every one worthy of being in a book. Hell, worthy of being in a movie!

In the early days of Last Chance For Animals, way before we had an office, we held meetings at Bill’s apartment in Hollywood. He watched with mildly-annoyed amusement as members closely scrutinized the labels on the bags of snacks he had put out in bowls to make sure no animals had been harmed. At the next meeting, the labels from the bags had been cut out and scotch-taped neatly by the bowls on the table, like a museum display. Without a word, he had made his point.

About 5 years ago, Bill called me and invited me to be one of his support group at his audition for the X-Factor. No one had known he’d already survived 2 cattle-calls and was now invited to the full-out production onstage with all the real judges watching. The whole event would take much more space to describe, but suffice to say that Bill, then 78, took over and OWNED the theater full of mostly young hip hop fans, earning with his sensitive delivery of an old standard roaring applause from the audience and a unanimous rave we’re-in-love thumbs-up from all 4 judges.

Back then, being older than the rest of the group, Bill lamented that he had not gotten involved sooner, but he more than made up for lost time, and his scorecard dwarfs most.

All activists, and especially young ones, can look to Bill’s example when they feel tired or discouraged. If a person as kind and sensitive as Bill can weather witnessing the horrors we face as we try to end them, achieve results and move to the next challenge without breaking down or giving up, we can too.

In us, and in those who will follow, Billy D. lives on.