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Monday, August 20, 2012

"Karma," Pit Bull/Boxer Mix, Red and White, Creston, CA - Found!


I received the following voicemail from Karma's person a couple of days after the search:

“Hi Jackie. This is Colleen and Karma. I am sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. I have been kind of wrapped up in Karma. She is doing wonderful. I am just now taking her to the vet for her second check up. They sent her home after a night on IV’s and fluids and blood test. 

I just wanted to say, again, thank you, thank you, thank you, for bringing me my dog back to me. I could not have done it without you and your dog’s help. Thank you so much. 

I look forward to talking to you again. 

Again, thank you!”

Colleen and Karma
Creston, California

(In a separate phone conversation, Colleen said the vet said that, upon arrival to the hospital, Karma was severely dehydrated and showing signs of sunstroke. She appeared to have an injury to the right side of her face, possibly from falling down, and her pupils were not dilating properly.)

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This photo was taken minutes after Karma was found in a dry creek bed!


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Karma is a four year old red and white pit bull, box mix. She went missing on Friday at 10 AM. She was seen run around with another dog in the house. That other dog, Lilly, came back several hours later, but Karma did not. 

Karma lives on 30 acres of unfenced property at the top of a hill in Creston, California, between Astascadero and San Luis Obispo, near the town of Santa Marquita. 

Karma slipped out of her collar prior to become lost, and she is microchipped. 

Prior to me arriving, there were no sightings of Karma after becoming lost. Upon my arrival, Karma's mom, Colleen, received a phone call that Karma had been spotted by this person's husband early Saturday morning while he was out deer hunting behind their home. The area is miles and miles of canyons and hills in every direction, as far as you can see. 

We went to that location at the top of the steep hill and found Karma's track there. The temperature was very high, probably in the 90's and the altitude was 1700 feet. 

The track led down a fire road and straight into the thick brush and steep canyons. We never saw another fire road until back at Karma's house. We tracked Karma through this very difficult terrain for over three hours, moving very slowly and calling her name numerous times. We were almost out of water. 

We finally hit a point where we could not follow the track through the very low bushes and Dino indicated that the track went through those bushes. We sat down for a moment to ponder our next move. We were looking straight down into a canyon with a dry creek bed below us. I was considering going down to the creek and walking there to see if we could pick up Karma's track down there. 

I had Colleen call Karma's name again. She said she heard Karma's whining and a "gutteral" sound that Karma's makes when communicating, coming from the creek area. I said I didn't hear anything. Colleen said she heard it again. I said, ""Let's go down into the creek and see what we find." 

Colleen went ahead of me, and suddenly said, "I SEE HER! I SEE HER!" 

I moved as fast as possible with Dino, but the brush was super thick. I heard Colleen say, "I have her!"

In about a minute, I got to Colleen who was holding Karma in her arms and sobbing uncontrollably. I threw her Dino's leash to wrap around Karma.

We gave her Karma some water and she drank it non-stop. We gave her little bits so she wouldn't vomit it back up in a rush. 

Now, we had to figure our way out of the canyon with a very tired dog, and the heat was still bearing down on us. Colleen said she knew the area, and suggested the fastest way back home was straight up the canyon wall. She said her home was nearby, and we could call her sister to come get us in the four wheel drive truck. 

It took another 45 minutes of slowly climbing the canyon wall, while she carried Karma half the time since Karma's feet were torn up pretty bad. 

Eventually we made it close to the top, and I called her sister when the cell phone signal finally got strong enough to hold. We climbed another part to the top, and saw her sister coming over the hills to meet us. 

We quickly got into the truck and got Karma home quickly and put her into a cold tub to hopefully reduce any heatstroke she might have been experiencing. All three of us, Dino, Colleen and me, were all overheated and thirsty, so Karma, having been out there for several days, must have been over the top. 

Colleen took Karma to the emergency vet that night, while I stayed in Atascadero that night to make the trip home the next day!

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GPS map for the search:


View Karma Creston in a larger map


Created by My Tracks on Android.
Name: Karma Creston
Activity type: -
Description: -
Total distance: 4.73 km (2.9 mi)
Total time: 2:39:20
Moving time: 27:20
Average speed: 1.78 km/h (1.1 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 10.38 km/h (6.5 mi/h)
Max speed: 44.63 km/h (27.7 mi/h)
Average pace: 33.67 min/km (54.2 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 5.78 min/km (9.3 min/mi)
Fastest pace: 1.34 min/km (2.2 min/mi)
Max elevation: 529 m (1736 ft)
Min elevation: 445 m (1460 ft)
Elevation gain: 213 m (698 ft)
Max grade: 1 %
Min grade: -11 %
Recorded: 8/20/2012 3:50pm