LOS ANGELES — The image of a young Betty White cuddling with a dog captures the true essence of White's spirit — an animal lover, through and through.

Producer Darren Wadyko said that is how White would like to be remembered.

What You Need To Know

  • Betty White died Friday at the age of 99

  • While she was known as an iconic, pioneering female actress and comedian, White also had a deep passion for animals

  • Producer Darren Wadyko worked with White on several animal-focused shows

  • Wadyko said the best way to celebrate White's legacy is to have a heart of compassion for animals

As Wadyko went through old archive footage of the iconic actor and comedian on Friday when she died at the age of 99, he recalled his fond experience working with White on the show "Betty White's Smartest Animals in America."

"I got to travel all over the country with Betty and animals, and it was just a wonderful experience," Wadyko said.

Wadyko also helped restore White's long-lost series from 1971 called "The Pet Set," which has given him access to some of White's most treasured young vintage photos — which usually included an animal by her side.

"She has a communication and connection with animals like no one else I've ever met in my entire life," Wadyko said.

That love for animals blessed the Los Angeles Zoo immensely. As a trustee with the Greater LA Zoo Association, White created shows with them, donated to them and supported them as often as she could.

Wadyko said White's positive spirit will be remembered by both humans and the animals she loved dearly.

"She was an optimist always, and always looked to find the positive in things," Wadyko said. "And I think that's something we can all take from her."