Now this is puppy love! An Astoria man was so thrilled with the pup he adopted that he returned to the Clatsop County Animal Shelter with a check for $10,000.

It's the largest single cash donation to the shelter anyone can recall. The donor has requested anonymity.

"I can't think of a better way to spend my money," the benefactor told Acting Animal Control Supervisor Stephen Hildreth. The man often drops by with his adopted pooch to visit the shelter and previously gave $1,000 to care for a large number of cats seized in a neglect case. But Hildreth said he was stunned by the sizable donation.

"We are grateful by this overwhelmingly generous gift," County Administrator Scott Derickson said. "We are also touched by the reasons behind the benefactor's desire to help the shelter animals. This donation exemplifies why Clatsop County is such a wonderful community."

The benefactor and a friend adopted an 11-month-old mixed-breed dog they named Asta in April. Initially, they were reluctant to go to the shelter, envisioning a depressing "dog pound." They were happily surprised by what they found.

"The shelter is a bright, clean facility and is very well run. Adopting Asta from the shelter was a very uplifting experience," the donor said.

The Clatsop County Animal Shelter Enhancement Fund is used to enhance adoptions of animals and for capital and other one-time improvements at the shelter. The board of commissioners reviews and approves expenditures. An outdoor dog run was recently built with monies from the fund. Donations to the enhancement fund are tax-deductible.

The shelter is open from noon to 4 p.m. every Tuesday through Saturday. It is located at 1315 S.E. 19th St., Warrenton, across the street from the Oregon Youth Authority North Coast Juvenile Correctional Facility. For more information, contact the Animal Shelter at 861-7387.

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