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- American actress and comedian (1922–2021)
The late Betty White is getting one honor she surely would have appreciated ― a bunch of animal namesakes.
The “Golden Girls” icon was outspoken about her love of animals, and regularly donated to and volunteered for animal-related organizations. While some of this work was public at the time, other acts of charity largely flew under the radar during White’s life and are only becoming more widely known about now, like the time she paid to fly animals from a storm-stricken aquarium to safety after Hurricane Katrina.
After White’s death on New Year’s Eve at the age of 99, stories have been bubbling up about animal shelters and other organizations honoring the actor by naming some of their four-legged residents after her.
A Donkey And A Guide Dog
In some cases, these are nonprofits that White benefited directly. The Texas-based Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue received tens of thousands of dollars over the years in checks signed by “Betty White-Ludden.” (White’s late husband was game show host Allen Ludden.)
“A lot of people said it could be any Betty White, but the checks came from her house under her name and then started coming from her management company,” Peaceful Valley Executive Director Mark Meyers told the San Angelo Standard-Times. “It was the real deal Betty White.”
So when the rescue group was struggling to come up with a name for a fuzzy foal who had been born on Christmas, they made a decision after learning about the actor’s death. The foal’s full name is now Betty White-Ludden, though most just call her Betty. The rescue also dedicated its recently renovated nursery to White.
And Guide Dogs for the Blind, which trains guide dogs and provides them at no cost to people who are blind or have low vision, named one of its new puppies BettyRose, a reference to her “Golden Girls” character Rose Nylund, CEO Christine Benninger told TMZ.
White appeared in public service announcements for the nonprofit and also donated annual “generous gifts,” Benninger told Today. She even adopted a golden retriever, Pontiac, who turned out not to be cut out for guide dog work.
Even organizations without a direct connection to White are still getting in on the naming trend. Staff at All4Paws Animal Rescue in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, felt that Betty was a perfect name for a sweet puppy who was hit by a car and found around the same time that White died.
“Betty our little puppy, our little broken puppy girl, she is an absolute sweetheart,” All4Paws spokesperson Amelia Cummings told WPDE. “So just the correlation between the two, the timing, it was just perfect. Like absolutely, this has to be Betty.”
And Texas’ Houston Humane Society bestowed her name on a little white dog found wandering the streets in the cold.
“We named her after the legendary and the beautiful, resilient Betty White,” spokesperson Olivia Valdez told KHOU.
The animal shelter was also using this canine Betty White to help spread the word about a campaign that sprung up on social media in the days following the actor’s death, the “Betty White Challenge.” The “challenge” encourages fans to donate $5 to an animal rescue or shelter on Jan. 17, which would have been White’s 100th birthday.
Meet Betty White, the @HoustonHumane’s newest pup. She was found wandering Houston streets during the freezing cold, just days after the legendary actress died. The #BettyWhiteChallenge is asking people to donate to animal shelters, in honor of the beloved icon. @KHOUpic.twitter.com/KkvOwpt8Xj
— Janelle Bludau (@JanelleKHOU) January 6, 2022
A Cat Who Was Ahead Of The Curve
Another spokes-animal for the challenge had been named after the actor ― or at least, her most iconic role ― while White was still alive. A cat named Rose Nylund has been available for adoption at Hawaii’s Maui Humane Society for more than 100 days, Hawaii News Now reported. The gray tabby’s bio notes she misses having a family and says, “If you were to help me start over, I’ll be your ‘Golden Girl’ for the rest of my years!”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.