Today, the beloved Golden Girl Betty White would have celebrated her 100th birthday. To many, White was the kind of icon that seemed immortal in her image of charisma, grace, kindness and activism. Only someone like her could have the world toasting on her behalf instead of celebrating New Year’s Eve. White was known as the “First Lady of Television” and will be remembered not only as a charming television personality but as someone who broke barriers for women in media and an avid animal rights activist.
After her death on New Year’s Eve, fans started circulating an event on her birthday called the Betty White Challenge, where participants donate to an animal rescue group of their choice to honour White’s love of animals and activism. If you’re thinking of Betty White today, there are plenty of rescues and societies in Edmonton and Alberta to donate to in her name. If you are interested in donating but don’t know where to start, here is a list of organizations to get the ball rolling:
- Alberta Helping Animals Society (AHAS)
AHAS provides “no-cost veterinary services to vulnerable populations in Edmonton.” They also support the Boyle Street Community Services Pet Food Bank with weekly pet food and supply donations.
- Edmonton Humane Society
The Edmonton Humane Society provides a number of animal-related services, including adoption, education, and training.
- Barrhead Animal Rescue Society (BARS)
BARS provides “a safe and nurturing environment for unwanted, abandoned, lost, and mistreated pets until they can be placed into loving homes.”
- Boyle Street Community Services Pet Food Bank
The Pet Food Bank at Boyle Street Community Services is a program that helps inner city Edmontonians access food and supplies for their domesticated partners.
- Canadian Animal Blood Bank
Animals need blood transfusions too! The Canadian Animal Blood Bank is “dedicated to improving veterinary care by providing blood products for animals that require transfusion therapy as part of their treatment.”
- Community Cats Edmonton
Community Cats aims “to improve the lives of the unowned, community cats and support the compassionate people caring for them in the City of Edmonton.”
- Farm Animal Rescue and Rehoming Movement
FARRM focuses on rescuing and re-homing “surrendered and abused farm animals.”
- Ferret Rescue and Education Society
FRES “places a high priority on educating potential and present ferret owners as to the special needs required by these increasingly popular, but often very misunderstood, pets.” They also care for and foster surrendered and unwanted or abandoned ferrets until they find a permanent home.
- Greater Edmonton Animal Rescue Society (GEARS)
GEARS “]helps] injured, abandoned, unwanted, and homeless animals in the Edmonton area.” Their ultimate mission is “to increase responsible pet ownership through public education, ultimately diminishing the need for rescue intervention.”
- Little Bits Therapeutic Riding Association (LBTRA)
Little Bits provides “recreational riding programs with therapeutic benefits for children and adults with disabilities.”
- SAFE Team Rescue
SAFE Team Rescue was founded to “provide quality care for animals in need until their forever homes could be found.”
- Second Chance Animal Rescue Society (SCARS)
SCARS “[takes] in stray and abandoned pets, many of which are sick or injured” and provides them with care until they find homes. They “typically have over 200 in care and find loving homes for over 2,000 every year.”
- Tails of Help
Tails of Help works with the community to “dramatically improve the quality of life of animals, and put an end to cruelty and suffering once and for all.”
- Whitecourt Homeless Animal Rescue Foundation (WHARF)
WHARF aims to “provide homeless, neglected, abandoned and injured animals with a place to live until they can find their forever family.” They also operate the Lame and Tame Sanctuary, where animals that are too old, sick, or have behavioural issues can live out their natural life instead of being sent to slaughter or abandoned.
- Zoe’s Animal Rescue
Zoe’s aims to “make positive changes in the lives of pets, families and communities in need.” They offer a variety of services, including a Spay Neuter Return program and education for children and communities.
These are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to animal welfare organizations in Alberta; there are tons of animal lovers just like Betty White who make it their mission to help animals every day. After you’ve donated, cuddle up with your pets on the couch, throw on Betty White: First Lady of Television (or The Proposal if you need a laugh), and have a drink in her honour! She would want that for you.