Skip to content

Betty White Challenge proves beneficial to local animal rescue

"We are so excited. Almost $10,000 was raised for us," said Barb Savoy, director of public relations and marketing for Friends for Life Animal Rescue.

We feature our Friend of the Week rescue dogs and cats from Friends for Life Animal Rescue in Gilbert, our largest local animal shelter near Queen Creek.

On Monday, many local rescues reaped the benefits of the first Betty White Challenge. White died Dec. 31, 2021 and on her birthday, Jan. 17, the challenge was born this year to honor the actress and well known advocate for animals. The challenge was for animal lovers to donate as little as $5 in White's name to a local animal rescue on Jan. 17, which would have been White's 100th birthday.

Friends for Life, a volunteer run organization with just two employees, was one of those rescues, raising $9,578 on Monday from the challenge. Since they're operated with volunteers, 90 percent of all donations goes to directly benefit the animals in their care.

"We are so excited. Almost $10,000 was raised for us," said Barb Savoy, director of public relations and marketing for Friends for Life Animal Rescue, adding that they actually exceeded the maximum allowable transactions through their website,, and had to work with their credit card processing company for the site to get things restored and actually obtain a total. "This all came from Facebook and from walk-ins at the shelter."

Savoy recently told the story of how Friends for Life lives up to its name on the group's Facebook page.

"You may or may not be aware that Friends for Life is not just our name, we make a lifetime commitment to every animal we rescue, and have traveled as far as Florida and Alaska to return an alumni animal to safety. Hunter, a kitty adopted from us 10 years ago made his way back from Wisconsin. To say team work makes the dream work would be an understatement.  A giant thank you to the following: Our volunteer who connected with the group in Oshkosh that found Hunter and contacted us. Our volunteer who contacted a friend in Wisconsin to pick Hunter up, until we could make arrangements for him. That same friend who safely kept Hunter at her home and arranged with her veterinarian to obtain a health certificate so he could travel. Our volunteer who donated frequent flyer miles for another volunteer who was able to take a day to travel to and from Milwaukee to transport Hunter. Our volunteers who stepped up to provide airport transportation for the volunteer who would be making the journey. Of course, our thanks to all the volunteers at the adoption center who made sure everything would be set up for Hunter to settle in for his first night back. We love our Friends for Life village!"