Where can you support the Betty White Challenge in Eastern Connecticut?

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It's difficult to overstate how influential a figure Betty White was and still is, even after her passing.

The most recent trend, dubbed the Betty White Challenge, showcases her legacy in support of her own passion for animals. The challenge is simple: donate to your local animal shelter or any animal charity in White's honor.

"We were so excited to see the outpouring of support from people for the Betty White Challenge," said Susan Wollschlager of Connecticut Human Society in Waterford, Newington and Westport.

The beloved actress died, at 99, on New Year's Eve. A lot of people sent in memorial donations right away, Wollschlager said.

"We received so many wonderful notes with gifts in her honor. It goes to show just how much Betty White meant to so many people. I just wish she were here to see that. I’d love to know what she would say seeing so many animals’ lives changed because of her."

Eric Martell of Norwich, an animal care tech and adoption counselor at the Humane Society, gets a kiss from Shadow, a 3 year old husky up for adoption Wednesday at the Waterford facility.
Eric Martell of Norwich, an animal care tech and adoption counselor at the Humane Society, gets a kiss from Shadow, a 3 year old husky up for adoption Wednesday at the Waterford facility.

The Connecticut Humane Society is the oldest animal welfare organization in the state and relies entirely on donations from individuals, businesses, and foundations.

"It all comes together to aid pets in crisis," says Wollschlager.

Monetary donations are most important, but physical goods like pet food, litter boxes, and well-kept cat carriers aid their cause as well.

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"People can do a dress-down day at work and donate the funds raised, or they can run a supply drive at work or for their kids at school," she suggested. "There’s a lot of ways to send your support."

Susan Linker, CEO of Our Companions Animal Sanctuary in Ashford, says donations are what keeps them rolling. "About 100% of our funding comes from donations. We don’t sell animals. We don’t have adoption fees. We ask for a donation when someone adopts a pet from us. We truly rely on philanthropic support for our programs and our sanctuary."

Our Companions Animal Rescue & Sanctuary runs as an open-cage care center, giving pets the freedom they need to aid in their recovery and rehabilitation.
Our Companions Animal Rescue & Sanctuary runs as an open-cage care center, giving pets the freedom they need to aid in their recovery and rehabilitation.

Our Companions Animal Sanctuary focuses on animals with special needs, behavioral or medical. Their facility in Ashford is open-cage, meaning animals are given the freedom to stretch their legs to help aid their rehabilitation.

"We provide them with a very unique setting where they can heal over time," Linker said. "Our ultimate goal is to find homes for all of them."

The sanctuary also offers training programs to keep families and dogs together.

Along with rehabilitation, Connecticut Humane Society and Our Companions Animal Sanctuary are looking to expand their services as well.

"We have a pet food pantry at all three of our locations," says Wollschlager. "We have medical care for pets whose families are in need and have a volunteer foster program for people who temporarily can’t care for their pets."

Jesse, a 12 year old domestic short hair, who is up for adoption at the Connecticut Humane Society is not interested in the feather wand Wednesday as he rests at the Waterford facility.
Jesse, a 12 year old domestic short hair, who is up for adoption at the Connecticut Humane Society is not interested in the feather wand Wednesday as he rests at the Waterford facility.

"We recently placed a dog confiscated from an animal cruelty case," said Linker. "It was a vicious crime. Someone beat this poor, little dog. Not only was he physically traumatized, he was emotionally traumatized as well. He spent time at the sanctuary and went from a scared, untrusting dog to bonding deeply with the volunteers here. He just got adopted this week to a wonderful home."

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Connecticut Humane Society and Our Companions Animal Sanctuary are just two of a plethora of different organizations across Connecticut. We encourage readers looking to honor Betty White's legacy to check out programs are nearby and support your local communities and their furry friends.

This article originally appeared on The Bulletin: The Betty White Challenge: How to help Eastern CT animal shelters

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