(WJZY) — The latest viral challenge hitting social media is something everyone can get behind. The #BettyWhiteChallenge is gaining steam on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The challenge itself is simple: Help animals in local rescues or shelters.
“On Betty White’s 100th Birthday, January 17th, everyone should pick a local rescue or animal shelter in your area and donate just $5 in Betty White’s name. Make her 100th Birthday the movement she deserves,” the circulating graphic reads.
While it isn’t clear where the challenge originated, a tweet by one-time NBA star and Charlotte Hornets player Rex Chapman has blown up with more than 17,000 retweets and over 37,000 likes at the time of this publication.
White, who would have turned 100 this month, died on New Year’s Eve. The star was well known to generations of fans for her roles in “Life with Elizabeth,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Golden Girls,” and “Hot in Cleveland,” among many other television shows and movies.
But White was also a well-known advocate for animals for much of her life. Off-screen, White tirelessly raised money for animal causes such as the Morris Animal Foundation and the Los Angeles Zoo. In 1970-1971, she wrote, produced and hosted a syndicated TV show, “The Pet Set,” to which celebrities brought their dogs and cats. She wrote a 1983 book titled “Betty White’s Pet Love: How Pets Take Care of Us,” and in 2011, she published “Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo.”
Her devotion to pets was such that she declined a plum role in the hit 1997 movie “As Good As It Gets.” She objected to a scene in which Jack Nicholson drops a small dog down a laundry chute.
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 for 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.
Are there any critters she doesn’t like? “No,” White told the AP. “Anything with a leg on each corner.”
Then what about snakes? “Oh! I love snakes!” she exclaimed.
The Associated Press and KTLA’s Sam Rubin contributed to this story.