Betty White

In this 2009 file photo, actress Betty White poses for a portrait following her appearance on the television talk show 'In the House.' White died Dec. 31 at age 99. In honor of the long-time animal advocate's 100th birthday on Jan. 17, fellow animal lovers are being asked to make donations to local shelters including the Lawrence County Humane Society.

There’s a birthday party planned Monday at the Lawrence County Humane Society.

Margie Seelbaugh, manager of the no-kill shelter, even ordered cake.

Normally not open to the public on Mondays, Seelbaugh decided to open the doors of the facility at 628 Pearson Mill Road after receiving inquiries from animal lovers taking part in the Betty White Challenge.

Growing out of online posts, the challenge asks White’s fans to make donations to local animal rescue organizations and shelters on Jan. 17, which would have been the late actress and animal advocate’s 100th birthday. White, the star of the “Golden Girls” and “Mary Tyler Moore,” died on Dec. 31 at age 99.

“Of course, I knew she was an animal lover, but I never expected it would grow into this. She was a national treasure, and my hero,” said Seelbaugh who watched “Golden Girls” with her dad and grandma while growing up and continues to catch episodes on Hulu.

“She was my inspiration,” Seelbaugh said, recalling telling her family that she wanted to grow up to be a “career dog snuggler.”

Seelbaugh noted the shelter has already received donations online in White’s memory and she’s aware of several businesses and schools conducting collections.

Seelbaugh said the funds will go toward shelter operations and improvement projects, including renovations in the cat room and heating the outdoor enclosure where stray animals are dropped by police after hours.

“We want it to be somewhere warm and safe,” Seelbaugh said, explaining that currently shelter staff are called out to let animals into the building during cold weather, something that happens about three to five times a week.

“We get quite a few in the winter, and around the Fourth of July when they tend to get spooked by the fireworks and run off,” she said.

While the local humane society will be open from noon to 4 p.m. Monday, Seelbaugh said donations can be made anytime through the organization’s web site at or by mailing checks to P.O. Box 62, New Castle, PA 16103. Those mailing checks are asked to make a notation that the donation is in memory of White.

But, Seelbaugh added, there’s an extra incentive to come in person.

“Everybody gets a piece of cake.”

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Renée Gendreau is a lifestyles reporter at the New Castle News. Email her at

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