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Animal Activist Betty White Celebrates 92nd Birthday

This article originally appeared on Dr. Mahaney’s Pet-Lebrity News column on as Animal Activist Betty White Celebrates 92nd Birthday .

Let's wish a happy (belated) birthday to the incomparable Hollywood actress, audience favorite, animal-rights activist, and humanitarian Betty White. She is truly a living legend and continues to promote animal welfare causes, along with seemingly maintaining a workload commensurate with actresses generations younger then she.

I’ve been so close to meeting White on multiple occasions at pet-centric events in Los Angeles, but we've not officially made each other's acquaintance (see Betty White Headlines the Dogs for the Deaf Hollywoof Event and Hero Dog Awards 2012 Recognizes Extraordinary Canines). I hope this changes at some point in our collective futures.

White turned 92 years young on January 17, 2014. Her birth year is 1922. According, other notable events occurring in 1922 include:

Reader's Digest magazine 1st published

Radio arrives at the White House

The Hollywood Bowl opens

Rebecca Felton of Georgia becomes 1st woman in Senate

Where Have I Seen Betty White Before?

More like, where have I not seen White before! She’s a true Hollywood legend and in 2013 was honored by Guinness World Records having earned the record of ‘Longest TV Career for an Entertainer (Female)’. I first became familiar with White in her notorious role as Rose Nylund on NBC’s The Golden Girls. It was such a pleasure to grow up watching her and the three other Golden Girls navigating the uncertain path of life and loves of four seniors sharing a home in Miami, FL. Sadly, since Rue McClanahan’s death in 2010, White is the only surviving Golden Girl.

Evidently, White had a pre-Golden Girls career about which I was unaware as a child of the 70s. She previously played Sue Ann Nivens on CBS’ The Mary Tyler Moore Show (cue Sonny Curtis’ “You’re Gonna Make It After All”).

Most recently, White portrays Elka Ostrovsky in the TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland. Living in Los Angeles, I had the hilarious opportunity to watch as a live recording of the show. White even won two Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards for her role. Additionally, White hosts the hilarious NBC show Betty White's Off Their Rockers, for which she was twice nominated for an Emmy.

One would think that a senior citizen like White would be in bed after her blue-plate special, but in 2010 she became the oldest host of Saturday Night Live. White even received a Primetime Emmy Award for her hosting duties. Will this silver-haired fox ever call it a career?

What Does Betty Do for Animals?

White is also a force to be reckoned with in the realm of animal welfare. It seems as though any current animal advocacy cause is connect to her enthusiastic force. White works with my hometown’s own Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Actors and Others for Animals (with whom my dog Cardiff is a Pet Assisted Therapy pooch), and the Morris Animal Foundation (MAF). My veterinary interest in White’s career is especially attuned to her role with MAF, as White’s sponsorship has lead to:

• Major breakthroughs in post-surgical pain management for dogs, cats and horses.

• New information into the genetic mutations that cause bone cancer in dogs.

• Insight into diagnosing congestive heart failure in dogs and preventing blood clots in cats with heart disease.

• Identification of genetic mutations for equine diseases and development of genetic tests for common diseases affecting horses.

• Launch of a major canine cancer campaign to fund research into preventing and treating cancer in dogs.

• Increased legal protection for sea otters in California and the establishment of a research program focused on reducing sea otter mortality.

• Establishment of the Betty White Wildlife Fund, which provides wildlife researchers timely monetary aid to respond to unexpected events—such as natural disasters and emerging diseases. In 2013, this fund supported an investigation of a sudden die-off of sea lions off the coast of Southern California.

She certainly hasn’t lost her sense of humor. Her 2014 interview with Parade Magazine revealed numerous ofamusing quotes, including her perspective on being famous, “my only claim to fame is that I’m the only woman in the world who hasn’t slept with Tiger Woods.”

So, let’s raise a glass and propose a toast to Betty White. I’m continually impressed with her seemingly tireless enthusiasm for media projects and endeavors to benefit human and animal-kind.

What's your favorite Betty White moment?

Thank you for reading this article. Your questions and comments are completely welcome (I’ll respond).
Please feel free to communicate with me through Twitter (@PatrickMahaney) and follow my adventures in veterinary medicine by liking Patrick Mahaney: Veterinarian Acupuncture Pain Management for Your Pets on Facebook.

Copyright of this article (2014) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.

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