Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Furry Fate - Clark Fork Couple Finds and Adopts Abandoned Dog

Some things are just meant to be no matter how much one fights it. Just ask Angela and Ash Updike, of Clark Fork.

The couple were on a run near their home when they saw two people pushing a dog out of the back of a pickup. The truck sped away with the dog chasing it, begging not to be left behind.

The Updikes took the dog on their run and afterward drove directly to Panhandle Animal Shelter in Sandpoint. The pair love animals, but they already owned another dog and were sure she would not welcome an addition to the family.

“Charlie is an alpha dog,” Angela Updike said of the Brazilian mastiff they have had for seven years.

But after taking the Labrador-Rottweiler mix to the shelter, Ash Updike could not get him off his mind.

“Ash went and walked him every day,” Angela Updike said.

“I work in town and knew he needed to walk,” Ash Updike said. “I felt bad for him just sitting in there.”

He quickly grew fond of the dog the shelter named Dan.

“I quit walking him for about a week,” he said. “I couldn’t let myself get attached.”

The Updikes live in Clark Fork and work in Sandpoint, Ash for Northland Cable Television and Angela as a massage therapist. Because they travel to Sandpoint daily during the week, they rarely go to Sandpoint on the weekends. And seldom do they shop at Wal-Mart, preferring instead to shop at locally owned stores. But one weekend in mid-November they strayed from their normal routine.

They found themselves at the Sandpoint Wal-Mart stopping to purchase some bulk items. When they left, they exited out the door farthest from their parked car. And that was when they knew fate had won.

At the exit was a representative from Panhandle Animal Shelter with a dog who resembled Dan.

“Ash kept saying it was Dan,” said Angela, who had not seen the dog since they had taken him to the shelter.

The shelter volunteer confirmed it was Dan. But the Updikes said they could not adopt him, because they had another dog and were sure the dogs would not get along. But with encouragement from the shelter volunteer they got Charlie from their car and introduced the animals. The next thing they knew the Updikes were traveling to the shelter to complete the paperwork to adopt Dan.

“I really think he found us,” Angela said.

The Updikes quickly fell in love with Dan, who turned out to be housebroken and mild mannered.

“I think he was probably a hunting dog,” Ash said.

During the adoption process, the Updikes were struck by the commitment of both staff and volunteers at Panhandle Animal Shelter.

“The people there truly believe in what they are doing,” Ash said.

It costs $70 to adopt a dog from the shelter and $45 for a cat. If the animal is over a year old then the fee is reduced by $10. The fee includes all worming and vaccinations, an exam at the veterinary service of one’s choice, a collar, ID tag, pet registration and a bag of pet food.

The shelter also offers people an opportunity to foster-parent a dog in the event they are unsure if a dog is right for their family. The shelter needs many donations – even plastic grocery bags to pick up after the dogs on their walks.

According to the Updikes, Panhandle Animal Shelter is what is known as a no kill shelter. “That is why there are so many (animals),” said Angela.
“There is a drop off 24 hours a day so dogs do not have to get dropped like Dan was,” said Ash.

"I don’t want to encourage people to get rid of their animals, but if they absolutely cannot keep them then take them to the shelter. It is far better than exposing them to the elements,” said Angela who is sure that Dan would have died from exposure or would have been hit by a vehicle on Highway 200 if they had not found him. “This area is very fortunate to have a place like this. It is a very special shelter.”

Shelter information

For more information on Panhandle Animal Shelter and its programs, go to ( or call (208) 265-7297

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