Betty White inspires donations to Maury County Animal Shelter

Even in death, famed actress Betty White makes a difference.

White, known for her roles on hit TV series ‘The Golden Girls’ and ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show,’ died peacefully in her sleep on New Year’s Eve.

A passionate animal welfare activist, White would have celebrated her 100th birthday on January 17.

Following her passing, the #BettyWhiteChallenge swept across social media, inspiring other animal lovers to support their local shelters across the country, including the Maury County Animal Shelter in Colombia.

Over the past three weeks, the shelter near Iron Bridge Road has seen an influx of supplies, many inspired by the national awareness sparked by the social media campaign.

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Instead of financial donations, most people supporting the local shelter instead purchased essential supplies listed on the shelter’s Amazon wishlist.

“We are so grateful,” said Jack Cooper, the shelter’s manager. “We cannot provide the excellent level of care at this shelter without the support of our community. There has just been huge progress and awareness about animal welfare. People like Betty White have helped bring this awareness to the public.

Members of the surrounding community have purchased toys, leashes, supplements, bowls, blankets, brushes and even office supplies to ensure the animals and shelter staff have what they need.

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“We’re county-funded, so the products serve us the most,” said Kim Rauffauf, the shelter’s lead volunteer. “Every little bit counts. Don’t get me wrong, we appreciate financial donations and are grateful for them. We’ve had a lot of really generous people. It really helps us a lot, and this year we have more animals than we know. never had one.

Pic of animals, adoptions at the shelter

The shelter currently houses 144 cats and 80 dogs awaiting adoption.

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Cooper said the total number of animals in the care of the facility increased by 31% between 2020 and 2021. This is a total annual increase of about 600 animals in the care of the shelter.

Simultaneously, adoptions jumped 52%, representing greater support for the shelter that goes beyond celebrity influence, Cooper said.

Following: Adoptions on the rise at Maury County Animal Shelter

“It fills my heart,” Cooper said. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’ve been fighting my ass off to fund the shelters I’ve worked in. Now the community cares.

He said the continued support from the community allows the shelter to provide the basics they need and to go “beyond that” and provide their animals with more medical and other supplies that can improve the quality of life. animal life.

“It allows us to further improve our care, Cooper said. “We can not only provide good care, but also excellent care.”

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The additional support also allows the shelter to reach out to the wider community to provide support. The shelter offered its services in Waverly, Tennessee, after the community was devastated by flooding in August 2021.

“A lot of the more rural communities around us also look to us for help,” Cooper said. “People volunteer and donate their time, money and resources. We have the ability to react and do things that many other shelters cannot. So when Waverly floods, my people can come out and save these animals.

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Cooper said the shelter also relies on the dedicated support of its volunteers and is always looking for more to help.

“Having a volunteer program allows our animals to socialize,” Cooper said. “It makes them more adoptable and gets them adopted faster. All of this ensures that people trained to care for these pets can take care of them. This is what is important.

The shelter’s Amazon wishlist can be viewed at

For more information on volunteering or adopting and pet, call (931) 375-1402.

The shelter is located at 1233 Mapleash Ave., Columbia.

Contact Mike Christen at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @MikeChristenCDH and on Instagram at @michaelmarco. Please consider supporting his work and that of other Daily Herald journalists by subscribing to the publication.