When Betty White, one of the most beloved, unifying, and charming public figures in America, passed away on December 31, 2021, Americans scrambled for ways to honor the Golden Girl.
Some have thrown parties (see one this weekend) and offered TikTok and Instagram tributes, but a lasting homage is to donate to her favorite cause: animal welfare.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some Houston animal charities locals can consider donating to in honor of the #Betty White Challenge, January 17, which would’ve been her 100th birthday. (Of note, the Humane Society of Houston even has a pup named Betty White whose new family will be revealed on January 17.)
Consider this a good way to salute America’s fur baby-loving grand lady, and thank her for being a friend — to all.
Barrio Dogs works with the mission of raising awareness about proper animal care and the importance of spaying and neutering pets — as well as the importance of animal birth control and humane treatment. While Barrio Dogs is not a rescue group, they have rescued many street dogs that were in especially poor physical condition, nursed them back to health, and found them homes. By focusing on the reasons why homeless animals exist, Barrio Dogs sheds light on other community problems and possible long-term solutions.
Best Friends Animal Society
The mission of Best Friends Animal Society is to bring about a time when there are no more homeless pets. The organization does this by helping end the killing in America's animal shelters through building community programs and partnerships all across the nation. Best Friends works collaboratively with city shelters, local animal welfare organizations and passionate individuals and believes that by working together we can save them all. To guide this work and help Houston become a no-kill city for cats and dogs, Best Friends launched the Coalition to Save Houston’s Pets in April of 2018.
Citizens for Animal Protection
Founded in 1972, Citizens for Animal Protection is committed to sheltering, rescuing, and placing homeless animals. They also work towards relieving animal suffering by preventing animal cruelty, providing humane education to develop an aware and responsive community, and advocating respect and compassion for animal life.
The DAWG Foundation provides a companion canine for U.S. military veterans (and select first responders) battling PTSD. The companion canine is well trained by DAWG Foundation-approved trainers, and is meant to provide everything from simple companionship and emotional support to limited mobility/distress assistance. Part of the DAWG Foundation's mission is to adequately provide post-training counseling and inspections on the veteran/companion team.
Friends for Life
Founded in 2002, Friends For Life introduced the no-kill shelter model to Houston – saving animals regardless of their breed, age, or condition. The group has given away more than 5,500 spay/neuter surgeries through its Fix Houston program. The result: There will be 100,000 fewer animals coming into Houston shelters.Since the spread of COVID, the organization has launched a Drive-Thru Clinic + Pet Food Bank, which offers free vaccinations, vet exams, preventatives, and pet food to those struggling to care for their animal family members.
Greater Houston German Shepherd Dog Rescue
Greater Houston German Shepherd Dog Rescue is a breed-specific group dedicated to the rescue of German Shepherd dogs. The dogs are obtained from public shelters where they are scheduled to be euthanized, or they are given to the group directly by their owners. All dogs receive necessary healthcare, including spaying/neutering, and are microchipped before being placed in a foster home until they are adopted. The group also provides information and education to the community to develop a better life for all German Shepherds. This year marks its 10th anniversary making a difference for discarded, ill, or surrendered dogs.
HOPE (Homeless & Orphaned Pets Endeavor)
Hope is a coalition of animal advocates who are dedicated to ending the homelessness of dogs and cats in Houston through foster to adoption, feral cat Trap-Neuter-Return, and education. The organization is totally volunteer driven and happily accepts donations towards helping care for the many animals that are abandoned or homeless in Houston.
Houston BARC Foundation
The Houston BARC Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for all animals in Houston — especially those under the care of the City of Houston’s BARC Animal Shelter & Adoptions. Donations directly benefit animals sheltered at, or otherwise cared for by, BARC through purchases of medical, kennel, sanitary, and other supplies and equipment. The foundation also raises awareness about homeless and at-risk animals throughout our community and hosts community events.
Houston Humane Society
The Houston Humane Society is dedicated to providing the highest quality of life possible to animals while also working toward ending cruelty, abuse, and overpopulation of animals. They receive no outside funding and depend entirely upon donations. They host events such as pet adoptions, humane education, and a spay/neuter clinic to encourage public education and aid.
Houston PetSet is an umbrella organization that provides grants to animal welfare-related nonprofits in Houston. Through these grants, the organization seeks to end homelessness and alleviate suffering of animals. They hope to help those who are “in the trenches” on a daily basis rescuing, spaying, neutering, fostering, and adopting.
The century-old Houston SPCA is Houston’s first and largest animal protection agency in the Gulf Coast region. It provides more than a dozen vital services and programs for the community, including adoptions, 24-hour injured animal rescue ambulance, and educational programs and outreach that promote commitment to and respect for all animals to help free them from suffering, abuse, and exploitation.
K-9 Angels Rescue
K-9 Angels Rescue is committed to rescuing and rehoming shelter dogs in and around the city of Houston, regardless of their breed or their circumstance. The group seeks to address the dire need to educate the public about the effects of irresponsible breeding practices, while helping the community by alleviating overcrowding in area shelters.
K9s4COPS was formed to address the need for funding the purchase of K9s for law enforcement agencies. K9s cost around $15,000 to $25,000 per dog, and most agencies struggle when budgeting for the purchase of a service animal. What most departments can budget for, however, is the required care, training, and transportation of a K9. K9s4COPs was founded to bridge this gap and ensure that K9 cost never keeps an officer from having their K9 partner.
Rescued Pets Movement
One of Houston's most high-profile and aggressive pet foster groups, Rescued Pets Movement provides a second chance for cats and dogs through rehabilitation, foster families, and finally, a home. Volunteers, donations, and foster families are crucial to RPM and the many animals they save each year from being euthanized. Sending animals as far away as Colorado, the group has saved more than 27,000 animal lives since 2013 and hosts an annual fundraising Fur Ball.
SAVE Rescue Coalition
Save Rescue Coalition was formed to help animal rescue groups in Houston work together to reduce the homeless pet problem. The organization is entirely led by volunteers and receives no government funding, so they depend upon help from the community to care for homeless animals in Houston.
Scout’s Honor Rescue
Scout’s Honor rescues animals from city pounds, local shelters, and the streets to provide them with a second chance in a loving home. The organization will take in animals regardless of their health or breed, but many times is limited by their funding, which prevents them from being able to save animals in need.
The Lance McCullers Jr. Foundation
Houston Astros star pitcher and fan favorite Lance McCullers Jr. is known for promoting his charity nearly as much as he does his World Series team. The ace started the foundation to invest time and resources into the promotion of pet adoptions, raise awareness for shelters and programs, and promote the idea of a no-kill world. McCullers and his wife Kara are hands-on leaders and hope to create a mobile pet adoption vehicle that can also be purposed as a rescue transport during natural disasters.