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May 26, 2022

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Donations pour in at Clark County animal shelters during Betty White Challenge

By , Columbian staff writer

On Sunday night, Kari-Lyn Jakubs, the director of I Paw’d It Forward, a volunteer-based nonprofit that provides lost and found pet services in Clark County, made a post on social media after learning about a viral grassroots campaign that encouraged people to donate to local animal rescues and shelters in honor of what would have been the late actor Betty White’s 100th birthday on Jan. 17.

White was an outspoken animal lover and animal welfare advocate and Jakubs, who considers White as one of her heroes, decided to join in the #BettyWhiteChallenge.

“We thank you Betty, for the wonderful inspiration you were and will always be. You are so very loved by all of us human and animal alike.” she wrote on Facebook. “If you would like to donate in her honor, whether it is $5 or $500, every penny that comes through our doors goes back out to the animals in this community.”

The next morning, while Jakubs was sitting on a crate trying to catch a lost dog, a friend messaged her: Donations were coming in. A lot of them.

When Jakubs finished working that evening, she learned the final tally: nearly $10,000. She couldn’t believe it.

“We’re probably going to reach $10,000 after we open the mail,” she said Tuesday. “That is about two-thirds of what we usually raise for the year.”

Many of the donations were small, between $5 and $10, but not all. A few were $100 donations. One person donated $500.

Jakubs said she often struggles to ask for help, and that she is grateful for the outpouring of support.

“To this amazing community, thank you so much,” she said. “This was a much-needed heart refill after these past two years.”

Panda Paws Rescue

I Paw’d It Forward wasn’t the only Clark County animal rescue to do well during the Betty White challenge. Panda Paws Rescue, an animal rescue located in Washougal, raised over $13,000 Monday.

“We did significantly well, way better than we thought we would,” said Panda Paws Rescue founder and president Amanda Giese. “We are very grateful.”

Giese said that White is part of what inspired her to pursue a career in animal rescue work.

“With compassion, empathy, hope as her core values, Betty left an impact on what I personally am so passionate about and have dedicated my life to,” she said. “She paved the way for young women, such as myself, as a leader and a mentor in more ways than one.”

Panda Paws Rescue will use the donations to fund a needed surgery for a young smooth coated Brussels griffon named Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins. Any leftover funds will go toward future animal needs at the rescue.

Humane Society for Southwest Washington

According to Sam Ellingson, a spokesperson for the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, the organization received so many donations on Monday that the total still hadn’t been calculated by Tuesday afternoon. Workers and volunteers were scrambling to process everything.

“It’s a great problem,” he said.

The organization started receiving Betty White related donations soon after she passed. On Monday, the organization received more than 200 donations. They ranged from $1 to $100. People also brought in pet food and other pet essentials. Nearly $2,500 was raised on Facebook alone.

“We love to see these kinds of challenges and fundraisers,” Ellingson said. “It’s a great way for people to support the animals.”

West Columbia Gorge Humane Society

West Columbia Gorge Humane Society raised $7,000 in donations, a welcome surprise.

“We really appreciate everybody’s desire to help in this community, especially during times likes this,” said executive director Micki Simeone. “There’s so much division among us, but animals are definitely something that bring us together. Betty White understood that.”

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