Every spring, showbiz legend Doris Day receives hundreds of birthday cards. “I’ve been blessed with good health, great friends, a wonderful career and many precious four-leggers,” the actress recently gushed to Closer Weekly in an exclusive new interview, on newsstands now. “I’m very grateful.”

This year, Doris will be surrounded by friends — and her fans’ love — when she blows out the candles on her 97th birthday on Wednesday, April 3. “Doris is in excellent health,” her pal Lea Price dished to Closer. “She wants everyone to know that she reads every card even if the volume makes it impossible to respond to everyone.”

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Doris admitted that she misses her mother, Alma, and her son, Terry Melcher, who died in 2004. Luckily for the “Que Será, Será” songstress, her love for dogs, cats and other creatures keeps her busy. “I have no regrets. I believe you have to try to stay positive despite life’s ups and downs,” Doris said. “It helps to have a purpose.”

And even though she’s suffered very difficult losses, Doris is a fond believer of looking for the silver lining. “I believe that any good things came out of the bad times,” she explained.

Since the 1970s, that’s meant becoming a tireless advocate for animal welfare. “Through my Doris Day Animal Foundation and Doris Day Animal League we’ve made great progress, but we still have a long way to go,” she professed. “I want to keep doing everything I can.”

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While her typical birthday celebrations include an annual party where fans and friends come visit Carmel-By-The-Sea, California, “to celebrate my birthday and help raise money for my Doris Day Animal Foundation,” the blonde beauty is keeping it more low-key this year.

“Doris will be spending a quiet birthday at home again this year surrounded by a few close friends,” her business manager Bob Bashara recently told People. “She always gets lots of phone calls wishing her Happy Birthday. And, in the evening, she’ll enjoy a special birthday dinner followed by cake and ice cream.”

To help or to sign her online birthday card, please visit the Doris Day Animal Foundation at DDAF.org.

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