SouthCoast animal lovers have something to celebrate: on what would have been beloved actor and animal rights activist Betty White's 100th birthday, many are donating to their local shelters.

It's part of a social media movement called the Betty White Challenge, which honors White's memory by asking people to donate $5 to a local shelter on her birthday, Jan. 17.

The philanthropic animal lover died on Dec. 31 at the age of 99.

Many SouthCoast animal shelters are already seeing results.

Kendra Bond, president and caregiver at Peace for Ponies in Wareham, said she's seen at least 12 donations overnight.

She's been posting photos of her recent rescue, 5-month-old baby donkey Ginger, to social media, and even found a photo of Betty White with some donkeys to post as well.

"The community has stepped up," she noted. "It's awesome to have people support local rescues, because we don't get supported a lot. We get forgotten, we really do."


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At the Humane Society and Shelter SouthCoast, the challenge has brought in more than $500 in donations since last night, according to Executive Director Melinda Ventura, who called White "a great lady."

"What a great way to honor somebody who was an animal rights activist," she noted, adding that White "spent her whole career" supporting animals.

Ventura said that many of the shelter's donations are from new names — and although the amount of the donations may be small, the number of supporters is not.

"Whether they're giving money to us or to other shelters, it's all good," she added. "We can all use the funds."

"We already met our goal of $1,500," said Deborah Devlin, president of the Don't Forget Us, Pet Us animal sanctuary in Dartmouth. "It's a really awesome way to get people who maybe don't normally donate to charity or to shelters to donate."

Devlin also called the challenge a "great way to honor" White.

"She did a tremendous job of supporting animals and shelters," she said.

According to Bond, the challenge "couldn't be more awesome."

"[White] was such an awesome person and helped so many animals," she said. "It's such an honor to have donations coming through her. It really is."

Bond added, "I'm sure she's up there clapping her hands, because that's what she would have wanted."

Meet the Animals of Dartmouth's Don't Forget Us, Pet Us Sanctuary

Just off Faunce Corner Road in Dartmouth is an animal sanctuary for livestock that has become home to over 50 animals is just five short years. Whether they arrived because their owners could no longer care for them or they were removed from an abusive situation, Deborah Devlin and Jill Tagino, who run Don't Forget Us, Pet Us sanctuary, take in animals with no where else to go. Clearly, the livestock they care for are very happy to have found a home for the rest of their natural lives.

Check It Out: Dogs Attend 'Photo Day' to Raise Funds for Local Animal Shelter

Anne Soares created "Home for Paws Pet Photo Day" to raise money for the Humane Society and Shelter SouthCoast, and the cuteness of these dog portraits did not disappoint.

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