This unexpected visitor joins in the celebration of her remarkable life.
The legendary Betty White, who played one of the lead characters in the popular television series “The Golden Girls,” died just before turning 100, and the whole world mourns her passing. She did, however, experience some joy and celebration on her last birthday.
Despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic, White received a heartwarming surprise that left her thrilled and touched. This is when the actress, who has always loved animals, celebrated his 99th birthday in a particular way. White was given a special guest—a sloth—instead of a lavish party because she couldn’t host one.
The unexpected present, organized by the Wildlife Learning Center, made her smile and demonstrated her everlasting love of animals. Even her former assistant, Kiersten Mikelas, posted a picture of the actress in her garden on Instagram when she was mesmerized by the little creature.
White’s affinity for animals was well-known throughout her life. She first became involved with the Los Angeles Zoo in 1966, and in 1974 she was elected to the board of trustees of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. Both groups valued and admired her efforts and commitment to animal welfare.
The Los Angeles Zoo and the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) released moving remarks after White’s demise. Tom Jacobson, the president of GLAZA, expressed deep sadness and extended condolences to White’s family and friends.
“We are incredibly saddened to hear about Betty’s passing … and want to offer our deepest condolences to her family and friends as we collectively mourn the loss of a true legend, on and off the screen,” he wrote at that time in a statement acquired by PEOPLE. “Her work with [GLAZA] spans more than five decades, and we are grateful for her enduring friendship, lifelong advocacy for animals, and tireless dedication to supporting our mission.”
A tribute to White was also given by Denise M. Verret, CEO and director of the Los Angeles Zoo, who recognized the enormous impact White had on the zoo community and her lasting legacy. She said in her separate statement, “Betty White Ludden’s legacy will have a lasting impact on all of us here at the Los Angeles Zoo. The L.A. Zoo cannot thank Betty enough for her decades of support, and we share in this grief with all of you. There truly will never be another person like her.”
Even though Betty White is no longer with us, her influence remains. Numerous people were moved to pay significant tribute to her memory by her love of animals. As part of the #BettyWhiteChallenge, supporters gathered in anticipation of what would have been White’s 100th birthday and pledged money to animal shelters.
Amazingly, according to Southern Living, over 390,000 people donated to the cause, resulting in a $12.7 million fundraising total across Facebook and Instagram. With that, the team in charge of White’s Instagram account thanked everyone for the tremendous support and emphasized that White could not have imagined such an outstanding tribute and would have appreciated it.
On the day that would have been White’s 100th birthday, Niagara Falls was completely lit up in white lights on both the American and Canadian sides. This incredible event was staged by Goodable as shared on Twitter and provided evidence of her significant influence on the world.
While Betty White may not be here in person anymore, her legacy endures because of the memories she left behind, her everlasting love for animals, and the profound effects she had on so many people’s lives. She will always be regarded as an absolute legend, both on and off the screen.