‘Golden Girls’: Betty White Explained Impact of ‘Greyhound’ Episode on ‘Golden Palace’

by Suzanne Halliburton
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What’s a Golden Girls discussion without a little bit of Golden Palace thrown in the mix? The audience of the series and its spinoff loved the ladies, no matter their venue.

In this case, the memorable episode was about a greyhound, a dog that captured Rose’s heart. A fan attending the 2006 PaleyFest LA asked Betty White about the episode, which ran in 1993 as part of the debut season of the Golden Palace.

A quick recap: Rose, Sophia and Blanche ran a hotel called the Golden Palace. A guest raced greyhounds at the local dog track. Rose fell in love with the dog named Flo. As part of A New Leash on Life, the ladies learned that if Flo lost the race the next day, she’d be put down. That’s how they retired aging, racing greyhounds.

Golden Girls star Betty White said: “To this day, all the greyhound rescue people tell me that it did more good for their cause than anything else in the world. … It’s written as a comedy, and it’s written through the good-heartedness of getting the story across. But, of course, Rose didn’t know anything about it. So (the plot explained) everything to Rose (and) what happened to Greyhounds after their racing career was over.

“To this day, I will pass along to everyone here the thanks I’ve gotten year in and year out for that particular show.”

On Golden Girls Spinoff, Rose Stole a Greyhound to Save the Dog

Rose stole Flo before she could race. And she added some spots to Flo’s coat on the off chance someone confused the dog with a Dalmatian.

Meanwhile, the Golden Girls were animal lovers. And, the National Greyhound Adoption Program still lauds Betty White for her help in bringing recognition to retired racing dogs. The site mentions the episode:

“Betty White’s character stepped up and said, something to the effect of, ‘I’m sending this greyhound to the National Greyhound Adoption Program where it will be safe.’ You could have knocked us over with a feather! We had no idea we would be mentioned in the episode but of course we knew it probably left the industry saying, ‘How’d they do that?'”

THE GOLDEN GIRLS — “Joust Between Friends” Episode 9 — Pictured: (l-r) Betty White as Rose Nylund, Inky as Stray Dog, Estelle Getty as Sophia Petrillo, Rue McClanahan as Blanche Devereaux (Photo by Alice S. Hall/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Rue McClanahan Said Show Always Wanted to Focus on Animal Issues

Rue McClanahan told the PaleyFest audience the Golden Girls “tried to get animal shows done as often as we could. We didn’t get nearly as many done as we wanted to.”

Like Betty White, McClanahan was a huge animal lover. Her pets were rescues, both dogs and cats. And she worked for the campaign “In Defense of Animals.” Her efforts helped renovate the New York City Center for Animal Control. When she died in 2010, McClanahan’s obituaries always mentioned her love for animals.

Back in 2002, McClanahan told the site Animal Fair: “Animals have a sort of ‘spiritual innocence’. They are not cruel. They are fiercely loving and loyal.”

It’s all more the reason to love the Golden Girls.

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