Betty White Honored by Monterey Bay Aquarium Where She Once 'Assisted with Sea Otter Surgery'

The nonprofit agency is honoring the late star for "her tireless devotion to animal advocacy work" by renaming its planned giving program the Betty White Ocean Legacy Circle

Betty White - 30 ROCK -- "Stone Mountain" Episode
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Betty White is continuing to be honored for her commitment to animal advocacy in addition to her unparalleled career.

The star, who died on Dec. 31 at the age of 99, will be the new namesake for the Monterey Bay Aquarium planned giving program, the nonprofit announced in a tweet on Friday.

"To honor her tireless devotion to animal advocacy work, we are renaming our planned giving program the Betty White Ocean Legacy Circle," the tweet read. "Thank you for being a friend to so many, Betty, and for always reminding us that good things happen when we work together to make a difference."

A previous tweet in the thread also detailed some of the Golden Girls alum's work with the aquarium, which included helping with "everything from penguin airlifts to scrubbing in to assist with sea otter surgery."

A special feature on the aquarium's site went into further detail, explaining how "the curiosity, intelligence, and strategic vision that made Betty White a pioneer in Hollywood also drove her work to improve the lives of wildlife and domestic animals. She was an active and consistent Aquarium supporter — and a cheerleader to get others to join her."

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Calling her "a hero for sea otters," one of the anecdotes about White's love for animals described how she even got to work helping the resident veterinarians during one of her visits to the vet lab.

"She scrubbed into surgery for a sea otter tag implant one time," Monterey Bay's Dr. Mike Murray recalled. "We got her all masked, capped, gown, gloves, and positioned right across the surgical table from me."

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"She was so worried that she was going to pass out and kept telling me so," Murray added. "But she did great."

He also explained how impressed he was when he saw White interact with the general public while they walked through the aquarium exhibits.

"When we finally got up to the sea otter exhibit, I complimented her on how she interacted with the public. Her response was straightforward: 'Of course. These are who I work for. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't have a job!' "

Other stories on the site recounted how one otter was named for Betty's mother Tess, and how she felt a closeness to the once-endangered sea otter population in the bay since she could see them from her house.

The stories also included an account of how she helped airlift otters and penguins threatened by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005 by making a $50,000 gift, which covered half the cost of the flight and inspired other donors to join her.

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