Audrey Ulrich, one of our former advanced dog-training family members at Manning Dog Training in Yakima, died Sunday, Oct. 25, of injuries sustained in a one-car rollover on Interstate 82 around Wapato.
Also killed in the wreck was Audrey's two-year-old son, Rafael. The family dog, Lula, a pointer mix, also died when hit by another car just after the accident.
Surviving the crash were Audrey's husband Matthew, their infant son, and Matthew's mother.
No one is yet sure what caused the rollover, but it's speculated that Audrey, who was driving, got sleepy and overcorrected when she hit the median. They were returning from Seattle, and on their way home to Richland.
Audrey first started training with our group in Yakima back around 2003. She had an exceptional Viszla named Calvin, with whom she had done remarkable training before she ever stepped through our doors. All of us in the group at that time--Betty Pace, Amy Kolzow, Ken and Joe Donahoo, to name just a few--were in awe of her abilities to work Calvin. Later that summer at the Wenatchee dog show, Audrey earned a CD (Companion Dog obedience title) on Calvin. Also earning CDs that day were Ken Donahoo and Amy Kolzow. The three Manning students took first, second and third! It was a proud and memorable day for everyone, and particularly for their trainer.
We all learned a lot from Audrey. She was a role model as a dog handler and owner. She went to extreme lengths to help Calvin overcome some horrible allergies. I remember I asked what he was eating, and she said very matter-of-factly, "Duck and potato. That's all he can eat."
Matthew, her husband, would often accompany her to class but would keep his face buried in a book most of the time. He was extremely supportive of her training. As a hunter, he truly valued his dogs and the work she did with them.
Audrey and Matt owned a grooming salon--"The Barking Lot"-- in Richland. As can happen with small business ownership, their work time became increasingly demanding and they eventually stopped making the 80-mile (one way) trip to dog classes in Yakima every Monday night. I lost touch with her...until this past Sunday.
When I Googled her name, I caught up with some of what she'd been doing for the past eight years. Besides having had two children, she was also a major advocate for a Tri-Cities Dog Park...an effort that she helped organize and one that will surely become her legacy. You can read about it here:
You'll also find, at this same site, ways you can donate to her cause and ways you can assist the family with medical expenses. Matthew is spending several days in the hospital, and the medical bills are sure to be catastrophic.
If you knew Audrey and Matt "back then" or even recently, please send Matt your condolences and prayers. Let him know that YOU know how many lives Audrey touched with her work and dedication.
The Family of Audrey Ulrich
1209 Thayer Drive
Richland, WA 99354