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Cochranites give thousands to Humane Society in honour of late Betty White

More than $3K in donations have been made in honour of Betty White at the Cochrane and Area Humane Society.

Fans of the late Betty White have found a way to pay tribute to the actress and lifelong animal lover, who passed away Dec. 31, just a couple weeks short of her 100th birthday. 

Perhaps best known for starring in The Golden Girls and for her crass humour, White was also a major advocate for animal rights and rescue organizations, and even published a book titled Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo, where she spoke about her work with animal non-profits.

Her legacy lives on through a viral fan-created campaign encouraging people to donate $5 to an animal rescue organization of their choice on her birthday Jan. 17.

Many have taken it upon themselves to get a jump on the Betty White challenge before the date and to surpass the $5 ask. 

"We have already seen a lot of donations coming through in her honour," said Cochrane and Area Humane Society communications coordinator Lisa Kedian. "The last I checked, we had raised $3,905 already."

Kedian said she believes the challenge is a great way to honour the legacy of White's animal advocacy so that her work may continue even after she's gone. 

"She was known for her charitable work and advocacy for animal causes," said Kedian. "She was involved with the Los Angeles SPCA since the '60s and has helped fundraise for various rescues.

"She's dedicated a large portion of her life to animal rescue, and unfortunately with her passing away, this is just such a wonderful way for her legacy to live on."

Having just re-watched the entire Golden Girls series in 2020, Kedian said White's character, Rose, was a stand-out that will always be beloved. 

"The fact that she was an animal advocate as well and this is happening now, I certainly feel that this will be something that will carry on every year in her name," she said.

Cochrane Home Treasures made a donation of $2,000 to CAHS in the name of the Betty White Challenge when they heard about it last week, said store manager Cayley Breeze.

"Like most, we heard about it online after Betty White's passing," she said. "I think it's a really great initiative to carry on in her memory and a great way to give back to your local humane society or shelter."

White rescued many animals throughout her long lifetime and among some of her more substantial efforts, she also paid to evacuate otters and penguins from a New Orleans aquarium after Hurricane Katrina and supported the Morris Animal Foundation's work in developing cures for feline leukemia and parvovirus.

She was also honoured by the American Humane Association for her work with the organization over seven decades.

To make a secure donation to the Cochrane and Area Humane Society in honour of Betty White, visit their site here, or drop it off in person at the shelter.

To support the Humane Society in other ways, consider adopting or fostering a rescue animal, or donating items from the organization's wish list.