By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
More than $20,000 was raised on Monday for Wyoming animal shelters in honor of late actress Betty White.
Three Wyoming animal shelters received thousands of dollars in donations on Tuesday, many of which came in honor of White, the well known actress and animal lover whose 100th birthday would have been Monday. She died on Dec. 31, just a few weeks shy of her birthday.
The #BettyWhiteChallenge encouraged social media users to donate $5 to their local animal shelter in honor of White, who rescued several dogs during her lifetime and worked with the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association for decades.
Kaitlin Whitman, spokeswoman for Black Dog Animal Rescue in Cheyenne, said the donors gave the shelter $6,156 in White’s memory on Monday.
“It was a truly heartwarming day with lots of messages of gratitude for Betty and the work that we do,” Whitman told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday. “We had 192 individual donors and many first-time donors as well.”
Casper Human Society Director Craig Cummings said that the shelter received nearly $6,000 in memory of White on Monday.
“We have been amazed by the response from our community,” he told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday. “The people in Casper are always generous but we are so grateful that they came out in force to celebrate the life of an animal lover.”
The Kindness Ranch in Hartville raised at least $4,000 in honor of White, but Executive Director John Ramer said he expected the total to be closer to $5,000 once all of the donations have been added up.
The Cheyenne Animal Shelter, Park County Animal Shelter and Sheridan Dog and Cat Rescue did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.
Shelters across the country were flooded with donations on Monday in honor of White. For example, donors raised nearly $50,000 for animal shelters in Philadelphia and country singer Trisha Yearwood raised $24,000 in just minutes for her charity, Dottie’s Yard Fund.
Following White’s death last month, the Audobon Nature Institute shared a story about how she paid for a plane to relocate zoo and aquarium penguins and sea otters from New Orleans to California following Hurricane Katrina.
“She did not ask for fanfare,” the organization wrote on Twitter, “she just wanted to help.”