Betty White Once Assisted the Monterey Bay Aquarium with ‘Sea Otter Surgery’

by Jennifer Shea
Amanda Edwards/WireImage

The late actress Betty White was so devoted to animals, she once scrubbed in to watch a sea otter surgery close-up.

While White’s vocation was more along the lines of entertaining a human crowd, her passion and her hobby was looking out for animals. And that included the sea otters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

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

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

Monterey Bay Aquarium Honors White

The Monterey Bay Aquarium was just one of many animal welfare groups that White took part in. But she made a big difference there. And in recognition of that, the aquarium is naming its planned giving program after White.

“To honor her tireless devotion to animal advocacy work, we are renaming our planned giving program the Betty White Ocean Legacy Circle,” the aquarium tweeted on Friday. “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.”

White’s interest in the aquarium extended beyond the otters, however. In 2005, White helped airlift otters and penguins who were in Hurricane Katrina’s path to safety. Her $50,000 contribution covered half the cost of the flight and jolted other donors into action.

Betty White Died on New Year’s Eve, Weeks Shy of Her 100th Birthday

White’s 100th birthday falls on Jan. 17, and her many fans were gearing up to celebrate the milestone when White passed away on New Year’s Eve of last year.

White had had a stroke on Christmas weekend, and her California death certificate says her death nearly a week later was a result of that incident, TMZ reports. The private physician who certified White’s death said that the stroke caused a loss of blood flow to White’s brain, which resulted in brain tissue damage.

It is believed that White, who was lucid after the stroke, died peacefully in her sleep. The TV icon will be remembered in many places, including her hometown of Oak Park, Illinois, which has declared Jan. 17 “Betty White Day” in honor of the actress’s 100th birthday. Local businesses there are also reportedly planning to offer “Betty White specials,” and the town is holding a Betty White mural contest, to boot.