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#BettyWhiteChallenge floods internet as late icon’s 100th birthday approaches

Fans take to social media to pledge $5 donations to animal welfare on Jan. 17
Memes flood the internet encouraging fans to donate to an animal shelter on what would have been Betty White’s 100th birthday, in honour of her lifelong passion for animal causes. (Creator unknown/Facebook)

Mere days after her death, images of Betty White hugging puppies are spreading across the internet as the #BettyWhiteChallenge takes firm hold.

White died Dec. 31, just over two weeks shy of her 100th birthday. The actress was a television mainstay for more than 60 years and condolences poured out across social media platforms as 2021 wound down.

Now, heart-warming memes fill those same pages with a pledge – on White’s birthday, Jan. 17, pick a local animal rescue and donate $5 in her name.

RELATED: Betty White, TV’s Golden Girl, dies at 99

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 dad made radios to sell to make extra money. But since few people had money to buy the radios, he willingly traded them for dogs, which, housed in kennels in the backyard, at times numbered as many as 15 and made White’s happy childhood even happier.

For most of her life, White supported animal causes such as the Morris Animal Foundation and the Los Angeles Zoo.

“Her work with the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association spans more than five decades, and we are grateful for her enduring friendship, lifelong advocacy for animals, and tireless dedication to supporting our mission,” Tom Jacobson, president of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, the nonprofit partner of the Los Angeles Zoo, said in a statement.

Her involvement with the zoo began with its opening in 1966, and she officially joined the board of trustees in 1974. She became board chair in 2010.

“She cared deeply for all living creatures – including us. Her loss leaves a great hole in our hearts,” zoo CEO and director Denise M. Verret said in a statement.

– With files from Associated Press

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