Remembering Betty White: 8 facts that prove she was a true friend to animals

© bettymwhite & theseeingeye - Instagram

There are some absolute legends in this world that you just can’t imagine losing. Yes, the world has been a little less bright since we lost Betty White two weeks ago.

By Justine Seraphin

Published on the

Betty White was an American actress, well-known for her roles in The Golden Girls and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. On the 31st of December 2021, she sadly passed away, just a couple of weeks shy of her 100th birthday.

Celebrating Betty White’s 100th birthday

The Betty White celebratory film which was supposed to be released on her 100th birthday (today, January 17th), will be shown as planned. 

And though the film will focus on her career as an entertainer and will show a sort of behind-the-scenes look at her life, there’s a lot more to Betty White than many people think.

Betty White’s love for animals

Betty White was passionate about animals her whole life. And not only that – she advocated for their rights and their welfare in many unimaginable ways. She adopted, she volunteered, she donated, she wrote books…she even once raised money for The Seeing Eye, a guide dog charity, by offering dinner with herself at a fundraising auction!

Here at Wamiz today, we pay our respects to one of the greatest ladies in the world, and of the best people to ever happen to animals. Check out our gallery above to learn more about what Betty White did for our four-legged friends.

  • senior golden retriever with head down on the floor
    Copyright © bettymwhite - Instagram

    1. She loved and adopted pets her whole life

    As a girl, she helped her parents take care of homeless pets they would adopt – particularly during the Great Depression when times were tough. Though she’s owned pets her whole life, her most recent furry friend was Pontiac, a Golden Retriever she adopted in 2005. Pontiac wasn’t suited for becoming a guide dog due to his overly friendly personality – which is how Betty knew they were meant for each other. After Pontiac died a few years ago, she decided not to adopt another dog, for fear that he or she would outlive her. 

  • young betty white with pekingese dog bandit
    Copyright © bettymwhite - Instagram

    2. The best gift she ever got was a puppy

    In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Betty said the best gift she ever got was a Pekingese puppy. She named the dog Bandit because he “stole her heart”. They shared 17 wonderful years together.

  • betty white in pink jacket holding black puppy
    Copyright © bettymwhite - Instagram

    3. She turned down a role because one of the movie scenes contained animal cruelty

    She turned down a role in As Good As It Gets because at one point in the film, Jack Nicholson’s character was supposed to throw his neighbour’s puppy down a laundry chute. She was worried this scene would set a bad example and has said: “As long as that scene was in the film, I wouldn’t do it.”

  • young betty white holding cat next to costar on set
    Copyright © bettymwhite - Instagram

    4. She created a TV series called “The Pet Set”

    It first aired in the 1970’s, and was then re-released in 2021. Each episode began with Betty White introducing a pet, and then their celebrity owner.

  • betty white holding pink and black piglet
    Copyright © bettymwhite - Instagram

    5. She once claimed she loved animals more than people

    When speaking to Entertainment Weekly about not having children of her own, she said: “I love children, the only problem with children: they grow up to be people, and I just like animals better than people. It’s that simple.”

  • betty white and horse
    Copyright © pegasussanctuary - Instagram

    6. She donated to many animal charities

    Among them Guide Dogs for the Blind, the American Humane Association, and the Morris Animal Foundation, for which she was also a board trustee member and president emeritus. She personally funded 30 health studies that improved health for dogs, cats, horses, and wildlife. In an interview, when asked what her favourite gift to give was, she responded: “Money to my favourite animal charities.” In fact, many people are today taking part in the #bettywhitechallenge to celebrate her birthday – by donating at least $5 to their local animal charity.

  • betty white holding labrador's paw and betty white holding labrador puppy
    Copyright © theseeingeye & mischeviousmarvel - Instagram

    7. She co-wrote two books about guide dogs

    She wrote them with her friend Tom Sullivan, who lost his sight as an infant. When Sullivan’s retired guide dog Dinah, felt depressed by the arrival of his new guide dog, White adopted Dinah, and they shared over 5 beautiful years together. But even before this, Betty was a huge advocate for guide dogs and the rights of guide dog owners. 

  • betty white holding gorilla's hand
    Copyright © bettymwhite - Instagram

    8. She took part in many conservation initiatives

    In 2010, the Betty White Wildlife Rapid Response Fund was created thanks to Betty’s funding. Now called the Betty White Wildlife Fund, over the years, it has helped to save and rehabilitate thousands of animals; from dolphins affected by oil spills to marsupials affected by the fires in Australia. Betty White was also a trustee of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, and helped Jane Goodall redesign the great apes’ enclosures. It is said she often visited the zoo, even bringing along toilet paper tubes since she knew the keepers needed them for enrichment purposes. “I’m the luckiest person in the world,” she once said. “My life is divided in absolute half: half animals, half show business.”

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