Farewell to a Friend: Remembering Golden Girl and Animal Lover Rue McClanahan

06/03/2010 03:55 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Wendy Diamond Social entrepreneur, humanitarian, endangered animal and rescue advocate

Rue McClanahan, most famously known for her portrayal of feisty Southern belle Blanche Devereaux in Golden Girls, tragically passed away early Thursday morning of a stroke. A revered actress, Rue was also a passionate lover of animals. She had been offering refuge to sheltered animals in her own home for longer than the popular run of the '80s sitcom to which she owed her fame. At one point, she had as many as six dogs and eight cats, all rescued, in her home. She also worked to better the lives of animals, campaigning with "In Defense of Animals" to revamp the New York City Center for Animal Control and raised awareness on the importance of spaying and neutering.
Much like her alter-ego, Blanche, many of Rue's pets were in their golden years. She told Animal Fair that the secret to longevity in pet's lives is frequent trips to the vet to check out any problems that the animal may have or any changes in behavior. She said it is was also very important to watch the pet's weight and eating habits. She advised, "Know your animal, and if something doesn't seem right, go to the vet."
In an interview with Animal Fair back in 2002, Rue told the magazine that
"Animals have a sort of 'spiritual innocence'. They are not cruel. They are fiercely loving and loyal." This sentiment colored the manner in which Rue faced the world. With her Siamese cat, Bianca, whom she called the "queen of the apartment." and her two dogs, Angie, a cairn terrier, and Buddy, a golden retriever, as her guides, Rue McClanahan is a paradigm of brightness, optimism, and compassion.

Rue McClanahan will forever be loved for her small screen shenanigans, but will also be lauded for the courtesy and kindness she extended to her pets and all living creatures.

For more information on Rue and the animals she loved, and how to ensure that your pets lead safe, long, and happy lives, visit: