RENO, Nev. (KOLO) It’s morning in Kristin Kosak’s Reno apartment and her five-year old Pit Bull-Boxer mix is in a mood for play.
“I had to coax her to come up to me because she was very scared.”
Unable to find an owner, she took the frightened pup home and named her Karma.
Whatever experiences she’d had in her young life left Karma with some behavioral problems As they worked their way through them, Kristin was developing a problem of her own.
The eventual diagnosis was Meniere’s Disease, an inner ear affliction which left her prone to sudden attacks of vertigo and migraine. She noticed Karma seemed to sense their approach.
“She would follow me, sit there just stare at me. I’m like ‘What?’ And I figured out the connection and she was almost alerting to me.”
So, Karma was trained as a service dog. Actually they were both in school.
“We slowly went through this process because I had to go through college and she had to go through training.”
The two graduated with their degrees at the same time.
Ever since, Karma has been a constant companion, alerting Kristin, keeping her safe, enough job to occupy any dog, still…. “She saved me more than I saved her. I thought ‘you know, she would love to be a therapy dog.’
“So I thought being a therapy dog for her in the Paws 4 Passengers program would be like her hobby and her pastime. She does get very excited when I ask if she wants to go see all her friends at the airport.”
At the airport Karma is multi-tasking. Keeping one eye on Kristin, but using her people skills to make the moment a little easier for others.
“I think she can just tell by the atmosphere what mode she needs to be in. Now she just snaps, ‘Ok, I’m work mode only mom’ or ‘I’m in therapy dog mode I can just like every one to death or just absolutely snuggle against everybody.”
She doesn’t have to do much. Just the sight of her brings smiles and people of all ages come running.
“I just love dogs,” said one woman who had risen with her daughter early that morning to catch a flight only to find out it was delayed for four hours.. “That made our day.”
“People say that’s such hard work for a dog. Oh yes, the hardest work she’ll ever find.