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Fans raise thousands of dollars for animal shelters as part of the Betty White Challenge

Animal shelters and charities across the United States saw an influx in donations on Monday, thanks to the late, great Betty White.

The actress, who died on New Year's Eve, was an advocate for creatures great and small; she once said, "I stayed in show business to pay for my animal business," and also quipped, "animal lover that I am, a cougar I am not." In her honor, fans on social media started the Betty White Challenge, encouraging people to donate $5 to animal rescue organizations on Monday in celebration of what would have been White's 100th birthday.

Her admirers understood the assignment. Denver's 9 News reports that animal shelters and charities in the region saw a massive increase in donations on Monday — the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, which is offering assistance to pets and their families displaced by the Marshall Fire, raised $15,000 as of Monday afternoon, and the Denver Dumb Friends League brought in $23,000 from more than 700 donors. 

At Foothills Animal Shelter, community engagement manager Joan Thielen told 9 News by late afternoon, the facility had received $16,300 from 529 donors. When there isn't a campaign going on, the organization typically gets less than $500 in donations. In a Facebook post, the Foothills Animal Shelter said it was "overwhelmed with gratitude for all the good humans who have donated today in honor of Betty White. We are positive she would have been so proud of this community on her birthday today."