Thursday, March 29, 2018

Karma's New Adventure

By Jennifer Elizabeth Masters

Karma and Jennifer on Hendrey's Beach, Santa Barbara 2012
In 2001, everything in my world was falling apart. The huge house my husband built was being foreclosed on, his building business was stagnant with the recession and it was evident our marriage
was crumbling as well.

On a Sunday morning in March we climbed into my husband's pickup truck destined for the Unity church. Our daughter Ariel protested uncharacteristically, she enjoyed church and especially the donuts
afterward. It was unusual for her to ask not to go. Her grandmother wasn't feeling well and was staying home. I had let our two dogs Lucy and Jake out with Gunner our old Golden Retriever. There was plenty of room to run on two acres and a lake behind our house, they were usually not far from home.

Due to our rush to get out the door and to church on time we couldn't wait for the dogs to return before leaving. Again, Ariel asked to stay home. We didn't. We went to church as planned.
Ariel, Gunner, David, Rich and Jennifer 2001

When we got back into the truck after church, Rich checked his phone. His mother had called several times. He began to play back the message on speaker and cut it off almost immediately. He looked at me gravely and said,"The dogs have been hit." "Which dogs?" Gunner was such a sweetie, I prayed it wasn't Gunner. Lucy had been rescued as a three-month-old puppy from Lake Blue Ridge when she swam across the lake to get to me. I had to pull her out at a dock where she became entangled with the ropes. Lucy was part of my soul. Jake was a beautiful Weimaraner that was stubborn, selfish and hard-headed.

Stone Mtn 2003 John Armbruster, Ariel, Karma
Jake had been hit in the head and died instantly. Lucy was a mess but hanging on. We rushed home in horror. I'll never forget this day. You know that things are falling apart so that they can come back together. We rushed Lucy to the emergency vet twenty minutes away. I held Lucy in the back of my Explorer and talked to her all the way. She talked back to me looking me in the eyes, letting me know how much she loved me. I did my best to be strong for her telling her how wonderful she was and how much I loved her. Lucy felt like she was a part of me. We were connected at the hip, she never left my side. Now she was in terrible pain and there wasn't anything I could do for her except keep her from rolling in the careening SUV and talk to her to keep her calm. Two minutes from the vet we lost her.

Months later, I lay on an acupuncturists table weeping over the loss of Lucy and Jake, I recognized I was more concerned about the loss of Lucy than I was the ending of my marriage.

Etowah Mountain North Carolina
While lying on the table in the quiet healing office with the scent of essential oils and moxa wafting through the air, I had a vision of a black dog. I knew this was to be a significant companion, I had no idea how much of an impact this dog would make in my life. As soon as I was able I called my vet. I knew the dog was a Border Collie and she trained them for agility. My vet spent twenty minutes trying to dissuade me from the breed. She told me if I didn't give a Border Collie a job, they would make one. They were very active and intelligent dogs. I told her I knew I was to have one. She ended the conversation by saying they never ever got Border Collie's turned in as rescues.

Nederland, CO

Two-and-a-half hours later the vet's office called to tell me someone had a Border Collie they had rescued two miles from my house and we could make arrangements to see her that very night. Well, the sex was right. I wanted a dog like Lucy was kind, loyal and sweet. I really wanted a puppy that I could train and bond with from the beginning. When we drove up the long driveway of the horse farm in rural Georgia I prayed that this would be the dog. She was older than I expected. I was told she was a puppy.
Betasso Preserve, CO

I watched her run and play with the other dogs. The people who rescued her already had three dogs. They considered keeping the Border Collie but she had a tendency to run off which caused their dogs to join her. "What is her name," I asked? "We named her Karma because of the way she was found when he was hiking that day. Someone abandoned her., chained her to a tree at the top of Etowah Mountain.

"Their loss is my gain!" As soon as I heard her name was Karma I knew she was my dog. "We'll take her. What do we owe you?" "Nothing. We're just glad she'll be loved."

That my friends were one of the most momentous events in the last eighteen years for me. She was my loyal friend and traveling companion. We visited beaches from one end of Florida, up and down the coast of California. We did countless hikes in Colorado, climbed mountains in and swam in the reservoir in Boulder.

We drove over 200,000 miles together from Atlanta to Henderson North Carolina, Tennessee, St. Augustine Florida, back and forth from Georgia to Boulder, to California countless times. Swimming in rivers, streams, lakes whenever we got the chance. Our life was an adventure.

Karma taught me that nature makes us happy. That no matter how bad we feel when we are inside the house we will feel a hundred times better once we get into the great outdoors. She taught me the importance of a good digestive system and daily elimination. Karma always felt better after taking a good dump! She was lighter and pranced around after an elimination. She loved her walks and did her best to stay fit and healthy until the end. She loved living on the horse ranch in Newhall and was probably the happiest she had ever been.

Karma was the Queen. She was in charge of the cats and the dogs. She was the Queen Bee. The cats and Yoda all respected her. She taught Yoda how to do sign language.

She was the most intelligent dog I have ever had the pleasure to experience.

She signed when she was hungry and a different sign for thirst. She talked to me in a language I came to understand. She often gave me messages through images, mind to mind. I understood what she meant when it came to the end. She wanted no surgery, pills or needles. In 2016, she began to drag her hind right leg. When my vet saw her, I thought he would recommend euthanasia. Instead, he told me about SAM-e!

It cleansed the liver, helped her hips tremendously and added two additional years to her life.

I stopped giving her rabies shots because my vet said they lasted seven years. I have a feeling that the rabies shots cause cancer, especially in Golden Retrievers. I wish we didn't have to give them at all.

Karma, Ruby, Deco and Jennifer Boulder Mt. Sanitas

For over two years I lifted her 55-pound body up and into the back seat and out of the car. She went with me to the grocery store, to the mall, whenever it wasn't too hot to ride. She loved road trips and knew when we were headed to the beach without me even telling her. She knew countless words: beach, ride, go, food, water, out, outside, cat, horse, Shannon, Chloe, Percy, McGillicuddy, Osiris, back, eat, cold, car....

When I had my landscaping company in Georgia, she often went to work with me. I was the boss. I could do whatever I wanted and she was well-behaved. She loved to ride in the truck or car when I bought my Honda.

Eighteen years later, Karma was in her 21st year. I asked her to give me a strong sign so that I would not have to live with the regret of euthanizing her too soon.

On January 1st, Karma was attacked by a 90-pound off-leash pit bull. Had it not been for Meredith Loos and her partner Nick she would have been killed. The strange thing was that only two weeks earlier she was attacked by my neighbor's dog and had to have her ear stitched back on. I saw these events as a foreshadowing and a recognition that she had a scent that other dogs could smell, I thought possibly stomach cancer.

Karma had grown very fond of eating cat food and would mosey over when my back was turned to scarf up the canned food from their bowls. I had to be watchful to ensure the cats got their fair share. Karma and Yoda got a little tasty morsel of canned cat food added to their food just to keep everyone happy.

The past two years of Karma's life, I upgraded her food to be a much better quality and added canned dog food to the dry. I wasn't penny-pinching anymore and my animals benefitted from my abundance. In May of 2017, we moved from the Mojave Desert to a canyon in Newhall California. We were 53 miles closer to the beach and Los Angeles. We all loved our new home. Instead of the desert sand, we had a lawn and roses. We had horses and goats as neighbors instead of junkies and dispensaries. Karma was very happy to have horses again. In Georgia, we enjoyed having horses it was like old times for her.

Karma has finished her work here. I am so grateful for the eighteen years we had together. She welcomed me whenever I got home, sat with me when I cried and loved me unconditionally. After all the abusive relationships I experienced she gave me hope and allowed me to love deeply again.

She was in her 21st year of life when she let me know it was time to say good-bye. There was no doubt in my mind she was ready. I slept outside with her in the 45-degree temperatures in my sleeping bag until the vet's office opened at 9:00 Saturday morning on St. Patrick's Day. I asked a pot-smoking friend to blow smoke into her face to relax her a little. Two puffs and she was almost out. She was breathing heavily, I knew she was in pain but she was in no rush to say goodbye.

I had wondered how on earth Karma would be able to make the 1,200 mile trip from Newhall to Boulder in and out of the car and then up the steps at my son David's home.
Karma knew she couldn't make the trip as much as she wanted to.

I lifted her into the back seat of my Honda for one last ride. She didn't lift her head as we turned onto the canyon road. I talked softly to her the entire way when I wasn't crying. The clinic was quiet and peaceful on that morning. Only two people were ahead of us when I carried Karma in. She weighed 51 pounds one ounce. Eating four times a day she was losing weight. My sense over a year ago was stomach cancer.

I opted out of the examination. I knew it was time. I paid the extra fee for the sedative. The vet talked to me about how fast his father died at age fifty of a heart attack, it was still fresh for him. I cried as Karma drifted off and I kissed her on her head. The vet tech told me that Karma was older than he was. She went peacefully and very quickly. I knew she was more than ready. With Karma safely back in my car I drove her home one last time to say goodbye to Shannon, Yoda, and the cats. Yoda was worried I would take him where I took Karma.

I drove Karma to a crematorium in Sun Valley where animals are cremated separately. This particular crematorium had been in the same family since 1947. I liked that. Craig brought a cart to my car with a soft doggie blanket and laid Karma on top. I cried my entire way home from the crematorium while talking to Karma's spirit. I thanked her for all the wonderful and amazing adventures we had and all the gifts she had given me. I knew that over time, even more, would come to light. While telling her how grateful I was, I exhaled. In the next moment, a whoosh of energy and light went out through the roof of the car like a rocket ship and I knew she was gone.

Animals are more than pets for those who love them like family. Karma traveled with me, and watched my every move. If I went outside, so did she. If I changed my clothes from my nightgown into jeans she noticed. If I packed a suitcase she wanted to go. Karma helped me heal my broken heart from the trauma I have experienced. She was instrumental in allowing me to open my heart completely. A new chapter for both Karma and I has begun. After her spirit left I was shown who she was without her animal body. In her next life, her spirit will be in human form. I am in awe that I was instrumental in allowing her incarnation into the next life.

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