(File photo)

(File photo)

The Betty White Challenge came to the aid of Stettler area animal rescues

The world stopped for a moment when news broke that beloved Golden Girl Betty White had passed away on New Years Eve 2021, just weeks before her hundredth birthday.

It did not take long for her fans to come together and figure out a way to honour the late actress, however.

Within days of her passing, the Betty White Challenge was born.

The challenge had a world-wide impact, including here in Stettler.

White was a self-proclaimed animal lover her entire life, and the challenge that came forward was simple: donate money to local animal charities on what would have been her centennial birthday, Jan. 17, 2022.

Stettler has three animal rescues in proximity to it, the Stettler-based Animal Haven Rescue League, and the Donalda based Feral Cat Network and Donalda Animal Rescue.

Unfortunately, Donalda Animal Rescue did not participate in the challenge in 2022, however they hope to if it takes place again.

While Donalda didn’t participate in the challenge, the job of Donalda Animal Rescue is the same as the rest, to “help save and rescue animals” according to treasurer Myra Gauvreau.

However, unlike some of the other rescues in the region, which specialize in smaller animals such as dogs and cats, Donalda Animal Rescue is actually equipped to rescue larger animals such as horses and donkeys.

A lot of the work they do is trapping animals, such as cats, particularly if animals get loose or escape due to a fire.

“They always return to what they think is home,” said Gauvreau.

When an animal is trapped, it is checked for tattoos, tags, and microchips to try and get the animal reunited with it’s owner.

Donalda Animal Rescue charges no fees for their services and the group is 100 per cent donation and fundraiser funded, and donations are always appreciated.

A rescue that did benefit directly from the Betty White Challenge is the Animal Haven Rescue League.

Stettler-based Animal Haven raised over $1,300 through the challenge, which will go back to supporting the animals in its care.

Animal Haven is solely a foster-based animal rescue with currently 27 animals in its care being looked after by 18 volunteers.

“We’re always looking for fosters,” said Michelle Fisher, a member of the rescue.

“We have a waiting list a mile long. This winter has been brutal.”

Animal Haven Rescue League has been going since 2008, and is a registered charity with both the federal and provincial government.

Also benefiting from the Betty White Challenge is the Donalda Based Feral Cat Network.

The Feral Cat Network raised over $1,300 through the challenge.

Created out of the abundance of cats roaming free, the Feral Cat Network works on capturing, spaying/neutering, and either adopting or releasing the cats.

According to Tracy Sprague, president of the rescue, at one point cats outnumbered humans in Donalda with around 270 animals running free compared to the 200 people living in the community.

Through the work of the rescue, that number is now down to about 50 animals roaming free.

“We’re at three years with no kittens,” said Sprague.

The Feral Cat Network has also done work in Daysland, Forestburg, Mirror, and Sedgewick in addition to Donalda.

With even smaller local animal rescues raising funds through the memory of Betty White, her legacy is secure.