Valley unites in search for Katie

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From “Lassie” and “Lady & the Tramp” to “Benji” and “Beethoven,” who doesn’t love a good dog story?

Wednesday’s cover story about Katie the dog who was found nearly two months after she’d gone missing in Kalispell pulled at plenty of heartstrings in the Flathead Valley and beyond.

The 7-year-old border collie has both a predicable fear of thunderstorms and, apparently, a knack for opening doors because she let herself out of her hotel room while her owners were out having dinner.

Over the next 57 days her owner launched a county-wide search, posted more than 500 fliers, even quit her job, in hopes of finding her beloved companion.

The word spread like wildfire on social media and the community rose to the challenge of finding one very special, very skittish border collie.

Fortunately, Katie’s story had a happy ending when she was finally spotted by a citizen in the neighborhood across from Glacier High School who then called Katie’s owner.

One can only imagine the tears of joy that flowed when the two were reunited.

Katie’s owner said her take home from the whole experience was the overwhelming kindness of strangers. And as Katie recovers from her ordeal and regains the weight she lost, her owner also expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the folks of the Flathead — the community that could ... and always does.

The Flathead’s generous spirit was also highlighted in last week’s article about Flathead Lake Lodge’s plans to host a “Week of Hope.”

To celebrate its 75th anniversary, the Bigfork lodge will provide an all-expenses paid stay for 20 children with life-threatening medical conditions and their families. The lodge is partnering with HopeKids, a national organization that provides activities for families and children with serious medical conditions, along with Montana Children’s in Kalispell.

We love this collaborative concept. Not only will the Week of Hope help brighten the spirits of these 20 children, but it will also unite families facing similar challenges.

“It comes back to kids and families and relationships and that’s what this place is all about,” said lodge General Manager Chase Averill.

Kudos to everyone who is helping make this special event a reality.

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