Melanie and her pup, Kahn. 

As we mourn the loss of beloved Hollywood icon, Betty White, who sadly died of a stroke on the 31 December 2021, three weeks shy of her 100th birthday, fans like Melanie Van Rensburg (39), from Johannesburg, South Africa, are choosing to pay tribute to the ‘golden girl’ by supporting animal welfare groups around the world.

Proud dog mom, Mel, who rescued her dogs Stella and Kahn from Ark animal Rehabilitation Center, which has since closed down due to the impact of the pandemic, says there is no better way to honour the long-lived star, who “filled lounges with love and laughter for decades, and put animal advocacy top of her priority list”

“From funding research on pain management that revolutionised the way elective surgeries are performed today, speaking out against animal abuse, encouraging fans to adopt mixed-breed dogs, destigmatizing ‘unfavourable’ dog breeds, to simply offering dog training tips, Betty always used her voice (and her wealth) to stand up for our furry friends” – says Melanie

Melanie and her pup, Kahn.

Starting on Betty’s birthday, the 17th of January 2021, Mel is encouraging dog lovers from all walks of life, to make small, meaningful donations of R100 ($6.5), to her crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy, that will support Woodrock Animal Rescue in Gauteng.

The pro-life, rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing shelter “provides assistance to homeless, abused, neglected, stray, injured, ill, geriatric and unwanted animals that would otherwise have miserable lives and premature deaths; animals who have no voice of their own.” according to their website.

By Raising R10 000 ($650), Melanie hopes the animal rescue organisation, will be able to sterilise as many pups as possible, echoing Betty’s sentiment:

“I’m a big spay-and-neuter supporter. Don’t have babies if you’re not going to take care of those babies. We don’t need more. We just need to take care of the ones we have. Take responsibility and breathe kindness.” – Betty White

Donate to Melanie’s #BettyWhiteChallenge on BackaBuddy:

Alternatively donate via Snapscan:

Betty’s love for animals

Betty’s love for “anything with a leg on each corner” started during the Depression when her family took care of more than 15 dogs. Continuing the family tradition, White is said to have owned 26 dogs in her lifetime.

Create a crowdfunding campaign

South Africa’s leading crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy has supported more than 10 000+ individuals and charities in setting up fundraising campaigns for medical fees, tuition and various causes in South Africa. The platform has thus far raised over R290 Million.