COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Betty White would have turned 100 Monday, and fans across the country are giving back in her name for the Betty White Challenge.
The challenge encourages fans to donate $5 to local animal rescues and shelters.
Stop the Suffering Animal Rescue of Ohio is taking the challenge one step further.
The rescue works with several other rescue organizations and shelters throughout the state. While White spent most of her life raising money for various animal charities, organizers at Stop the Suffering said her advocacy to improve and protect the health of animals directly aligns with its mission to end animal homelessness in central Ohio.
With some positive reinforcement – and some tasty treats – Margot Black and Elle Miller train and advocate for thousands of animals through Stop the Suffering.
“We aim to have no more homeless pets.”
For the last 20 years, the foster-based organization has been running a weekly transport to southern Ohio to bring back dogs from rural shelters and rescues to central Ohio to find their forever homes.
“We went from adopting 60 dogs a year to, last year, we adopted out 554,” Black said.
Black said that while donations through the Betty White Challenge will always be welcome, it’s more important people emulate the late actress and open their hearts or homes to animals in need.
“Just being an advocate and a volunteer can make a huge impact,” she said.
Stop the Suffering relies on hundreds of volunteers and it’s in desperate need of foster homes.
“Our fosters are working around the clock, most of them aren’t taking breaks anymore between fosters because there is such a high demand,” Black said.
“It’s so exciting to see them move on and then kind of get that next one,” Miller said of fostering.
She started fostering dogs two years ago, and Sam, who sat next to her like a perfect good boy, is the 40th dog she’s welcomed into her home.
“You know, you try and teach your kids to give back, but being able to demonstrate that every single day and just wrap it up in our daily routine, it’s been an easy and fun way to teach that life lesson,” Miller said.
It’s a lesson she said everyone can learn through White’s legacy.
“Lifelong animal lover and just someone that, you know, throughout decades and decades was just true to her passion of saving animals and promoting animal welfare,” Miller said.
Black said the average time a foster dog stays in a home varies between four and six weeks and if potential foster parents fear attachment, consider this:
“You’re helping them on their journey and although it hurts your heart, when you see and get updates about their home, you’re, like, crying happy tears instead,” Miller said.
She hopes the Betty White Challenge will inspire fans to volunteer or foster for years to come.
“It’s not just something you talk about when there’s a fun hashtag, but it’s something you really do live every day,” Miller said.
Stop the Suffering has a supportive community of foster parents and adopters. Both women said potential fosters will not be alone – the nonprofit provides veterinary care, advice, and any supplies needed to welcome a dog into a parent’s home.
For more information on becoming a Stop the Suffering foster parent, click here.