The passing of Hollywood actor Betty White is being felt in central Alberta by charities that help animals.
Local animal lovers have started to take on the #BettyWhiteChallenge and are donating money to their favourite animal charities in the name of the 99-year-old who was a big animal supporter.
Both Central Alberta Humane Society and Saving Grace Animal Society Facebook pages include widely circulated #BettyWhiteChallenge posts asking people to consider donating $5 on Jan. 17 which would have been White’s 100th birthday.
Amanda McClughan, development director with Saving Grace, said last week people started asking how they could contribute to her shelter in honour of White, and donations are already starting to come in.
“The amount of awareness it has raised is amazing. I think it’s such a nice way to remember someone. Animal lovers just picked up on that and wanted to donate,” McClughan said.
She said central Alberta rescues are overwhelmed due to the recent extreme cold. Saving Grace now has about 380 animals in shelter or foster care.
“With the increase in animals in care, that increases your vet bills, it’s increasing your supply bills. That money is going to help so much to offset the costs we’re experiencing right now because of our big demand.”
Founded in 2018, Saving Grace Animal Society operates an animal shelter in Alix as well as an off-site sanctuary for the rescue and recovery of animals of all sizes.
McClughan said a lot of puppies have arrived at Saving Grace during the cold weather.
“You can’t say no to puppies living out in -40 C. They are not going to survive. It just seems to be what’s cycling through the rescues right now. It is puppy season.”
She said after a busy 2021, it would be great if 2022 was a little slower, but that might not happen.
“All the shelters in Alberta for the remainder of the winter, intakes are going to stay pretty high,” McClughan said.
Mackenzie deBoon, Paws and Claws Animal Rescue Foundation executive director, said her Red Deer shelter recently had to stop accepting pets due a drop in adoptions in 2021, the large number of animals the foundation took in last year, and the resulting veterinary bills.
“We’ll probably be making our way back to more normal adoption rates in the next few months,” deBoon said.
She said Betty White was an amazing lady and the challenge will definitely help charities. It’s surprising how quickly small donations can add up when everyone contributes.
She encouraged people to support charities in whatever capacity they can. People may not realize all the work that goes on behind the scenes.
“Everybody always needs fosters, and adopters and donations. It’s hard all around for everyone right now.”