A tribute to Karma

by Steph Mahrle

Fourteen and a half years ago, I used to be that young gal, with my Australian shepherd Karma. She walked me on a retractable leash, and a gentle leader. She had major leash reactive issues. As she was lunging, barking...and frothing at the mouth, I would excitedly say, "it's okay. She's friendly!" I would pet her apologetically as she behaved badly. In reality, she was dangerous. And the truth is, I didn't know how to fix her problem. I was embarrassed. I was just a young woman that wanted people to like me. I also wanted my dog to stop embarrassing me, and stop behaving dangerously. I had no clue that she and I were leading each other down the path of calm family dog training. It is with great sadness, and immense peace, that share, Karma has passed away peacefully today. She was suffering from lung cancer, and the complications were too difficult for her to have any quality of life at her ripe old age. I understand the urge to leave condolences. Please know that I appreciate your words. I also understand not having words, whenever the topic of death is brought up. Don't feel obligated or awkward. It is all okay with me. Karma is at peace now. Her comfort was always a top priority of mine, even until her very last moments with us. Of the many lessons I have learned of our relationship, the major lesson she taught me was to live in the moment. I only started obedience training her when she was seven-years-old. It is never too late to lead your dog. She will be missed, and her life lessons are utterly priceless.