#BettyWhiteChallenge urges everyone to support animals in their community


FILE – Actress Betty White poses for a portrait in Los Angeles on June 9, 2010. White will turn 99 on Sunday, January 17. (AP Photo / Matt Sayles, File)

(WJZY) – The newest challenge on social media is something anyone can get behind.

the #BettyWhiteChallenge is gaining traction on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The challenge itself is simple: help animals at local rescue services or animal shelters.

“On Betty White’s 100th birthday, January 17th, everyone should pick a local animal shelter or shelter near you and donate only $ 5 on Betty White’s behalf. Make your 100th birthday the movement it deserves, ”the circulating graphic reads.

While it’s not clear where the challenge came from, a tweet from former NBA star and Charlotte Hornets player Rex Chapman has exploded with more than 17,000 retweets and over 37,000 likes at the time of this writing.

White, who would have turned 100 this month, died on New Year’s Eve. The star was known to generations of fans for her roles on “Life with Elizabeth,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Golden Girls,” and “Hot In Cleveland,” among many other television programs and films.

But White was also a well-known animal advocate for much of her life.

Off-screen, White tirelessly raised money for animal causes such as the Morris Animal Foundation and the Los Angeles Zoo. From 1970-1971 she wrote, produced, and hosted a syndicated television show, “The Pet Set,” which celebrities brought their dogs and cats to. She wrote a book in 1983 called Betty White’s Pet Love: How Pets Take Care of Us, and in 2011 she published Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo.

Her devotion to pets was so great that she turned down a plum role in the hit 1997 film As Good As It Gets. She protested a scene in which Jack Nicholson dropped a small dog into a laundry chute.

In her 2011 book, If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t), White explained the origins of her love for dogs. During the Depression, her father made radios to sell for extra money. But since few people had the money to buy the radios, he gladly exchanged them for dogs, which, housed in kennels in the backyard, counted up to 15 at times and made White’s happy childhood even happier.

Are there living beings that she doesn’t like?

“No,” White told the AP. “Everything with one leg on every corner.”

Then what about snakes?

“Ohhh, I LOVE snakes!” She exclaimed.

The Associated Press and KTLA’s Sam Rubin contributed to this story.

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