One Hamilton County rescue organization says their final goodbyes to a member of their team.
Karma, a search and rescue dog was hit and killed by a car Sunday afternoon while completing a rescue mission in Ooltewah. Friday afternoon, first responders paid their respects to the 2-year-old bloodhound who lost her life doing what she loved.
Hamilton County paramedic Justin Whaley recounts the first time he ever laid eyes on Karma.
"She was a sweetheart from the get-go. You can tell there's something special about her. She's a very smart dog, Very, very intelligent dog. Just right off the bat you can tell that," said Whaley.
They've only been working together for about a year. But Whaley says with time, they formed a bond that can never be broken.
"You're working with the canine for hundreds if not thousands of hours over the course of life with the canine. You just can't not help but put parts of yourself in everything that's good about yourself to the dog," said Whaley.
But on Sunday, everything changed in the blink of an eye.
"We just had good news that the person we were looking for was found and all of a sudden, he came over the radio and said Karma had been hit. It's just devastating. It's just an eerie, hard feeling just hits you in your gut," said Chief Clay Ingle with Hamilton County STARS.
Friday afternoon, it was time for Karma to report to her final assignment. Over the scanners, dispatch read aloud a special message.
"This is a final call for 2157. K-9 Karma, respond to 9022 Career Lane for your last response. Rest in Peace," said the dispatcher.
9022 Career Lane is the place where Karma will spend the rest of her days.
"Well not only is this an animal you would love as a pet but it's someone you work with on a day-to-day basis. You train with them, you work with them and like I said, Karma's a part of our team. It's just not Justin's family, he's part of our family too," said Chief Ingle.
Memorial donations can be made to Hamilton County STARS. All proceeds raised will go towards their K-9 program.
By Alyssa Spirato