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Sometimes Karma Is Furry

Sometimes Karma Is Furry

By Mir Kamin

I think a lot about karma, these days. I don’t really know what I believe when it comes to past lives and future lives and all of that, but I do feel a need to believe in some sort of interconnectedness between what we put out into the world and what we get back. (This is why—when life is difficult—my husband and I have a running joke that we were very bad people in a past life.) It just helps me to believe that somehow, there’s an underlying meaning and/or order to life, even if most of the time I have no idea what it might be.

It’s easy to forget about this in the daily minutiae of life. School, work, packing lunches, chauffeuring kids around, feeding one of the dogs every few hours so he doesn’t die, doing laundry… just getting through the day fills up my brain until I drop into bed at night, exhausted and not exactly doing any higher-order philosophical pondering. In general I am prone to a Chicken-Little-esque view of my life (“The sky is falling!!”) and I am trying very hard to change that, so now if everyone I love is still in one piece by the time I crawl into bed, I chalk it up as a successful day. The good thing about this approach is that I’ll forget about all the times I lost my temper or took a lazy shortcut or otherwise wasn’t at my best. The bad thing about this approach is that… I’ll forget about all the times I lost my temper or took a lazy shortcut or otherwise wasn’t at my best. (Personal growth requires an honest assessment of one’s shortcomings, or something. Whatever.)

Anyway. A few weeks ago I was having One Of Those Days. You know the kind; you have about 40 hours worth of tasks to be completed in a 24-hour period, and everyone needs something from you right this second. It was the kind of day where everything that could go wrong did go wrong, and my patience was worn thin.

Of course this was a day when my daughter had an appointment, and despite multiple reminders about our departure time, it came as no surprise when I found myself sniping at her to hurry up, we are going to be late, why do you always do this; don’t you know how to read a clock?? By the time we buckled into my car, I was annoyed, she was sullen, and my foot may have been a little heavy on the gas in an attempt to get us where we needed to be on time.

We weren’t all that far from home when I had to lean hard on the brake pedal to avoid… a happy-go-lucky basset hound who was trotting (yes, trotting!) down the road’s double yellow line as if he owned it. Another car was coming from the other direction, too, and we both slowed, then the other vehicle cleared the dog and sped off. I saw pedestrians up ahead, but they were watching with curiosity, not acting as though this was their dog who’d gotten loose.

My daughter was frantic. “He’s going to get hit! What do we do??”

I looked at the dog. I looked at the clock. I looked back at the dog. I pulled off the road and stopped. “We’re going to be late,” I muttered, the picture of selfless grace.

I got out of the car and called to the dog, who ambled over to me, tail wagging. He had a collar and tags, so I managed to lure him to the shoulder of the road and then tried to get a look at his ID. I was just flipping the tag over when he broke away from me, though, and sprinted (well, as much as a basset hound can sprint) behind me. Panicked, I turned around to see that my daughter had also emerged from the car, and he was apparently very happy to see her. Except, that wasn’t quite it. She’d left the car door open, and this dog must be a big fan of car rides.

He hopped into the car and sat on the passenger seat, still wagging, eager for us to take him on an adventure.

We burst out laughing. How could we not? It had been a stressful day, we were late, and now a strange dog was sitting in my car looking for all the world like he’d just won the doggie lottery.

“Alright,” I said to my daughter, “Get in, hold him on your lap.”

She managed to position herself under the dog, and I got back into the driver’s seat. Once we closed the doors, I was able to get a look at his tag. Slinky—of course he was named Slinky—had an address I didn’t recognize, but I punched it into the GPS and we set off to take him home. It turned out he hadn’t wandered all that far; when we pulled into his driveway, he wagged some more, hopped out of the car, and started grazing on the lawn. (Perhaps Slinky is a basset cow?)

We rang the doorbell and waited, but no one appeared. Just when I was trying to figure out what we should do next, a harried gentleman covered in paint came out from around the back of the house, and it turned out that he’d been painting, had left a door open, and he didn’t even know Slinky was out. (Slinky seemed pleased to see him, but also seemed pretty interested in eating more grass.) He thanked us profusely for returning him, and we waved and set back off on our way.

I pulled out my phone and called the doctor’s office to let them know we were en route but might be late. Funny, though—we didn’t hit a single red light or any traffic, and actually made it on time.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we did anything extraordinary, nor do I think that a spur-of-the-moment dog rescue zeroes out all of the times my behavior has been less than stellar. But the rest of the day was… better. Calmer. There was less eye-rolling, fewer power struggles. Weeks later, all I have to say to a certain grumpy teenager is “Slinky wanna go for a ride??” to get a smile.

I’ll take my good karma wherever I can get it these days, even if it leaves fur all over the seat of my car.

Published October 14, 2014. Last updated October 14, 2014.
About the Author

Mir Kamin

Mir Kamin began writing about her life online over a decade ago, back when she was a divorced mom trying to raise two regular little kids and figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up. Now ...

Mir Kamin began writing about her life online over a decade ago, back when she was a divorced mom trying to raise two regular little kids and figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up. Now her life looks very different than it did back then: Those little kids turned into anything-but-regular teenagers, she is remarried, and somehow she’s become one of those people who talks to her dogs in a high-pitched baby voice. Along the way she’s continued chronicling the everyday at Woulda Coulda Shoulda, plus she’s bringing you daily bargain therapy at Want Not. The good news is that Mir grew up and became a writer and she still really likes hanging out with her kids; the bad news is that her hair is a lot grayer than it used to be.

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  • […] reset all the clocks in the house before the power goes out again, you can go read a little story about a different unexpected day, one that didn’t involve […]

  • jennifer

    October 14, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    This story fills me with delight. Much-needed delight.

  • Aimee

    October 14, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Well, this is delightful! I have a very strong visual image of Slinky running toward Chickadee, and jumping into the car. I am pretty stressed out today, but this just made me smile 🙂

  • dad

    October 14, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Thank you.
    I needed that.

  • Aska

    October 14, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    This is excellent and everyone should read it. 🙂

  • Brigitte

    October 14, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    This gives me smiles.  🙂

  • Virginia l

    October 14, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    I very much enjoy your writing. I think you are a terrific story teller, and I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you so. This made me smile and reminded me of some thing similar that happened to me. Thanks

    • Mir Kamin

      October 14, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      Awww, thank you, Virginia! You’re very kind.

  • Lesley

    October 15, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Good work!  It’s always so refreshing to hear about the nice things people do for strangers (and doggies) every day! 

    You set a great example for your daughter that day. 

  • Amanda

    October 15, 2014 at 9:31 am

    This was delicious!

  • Jamie

    October 15, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Gotta take the good karma opportunities when we can! There are far too many bad opportunities to try to avoid. Pitfalls… Happy Slinky made it home safely thanks to you and Chickie.

  • Pippa

    October 15, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    I burned down an orphanage of children on Christmas Eve in a previous life. I have no proof of this except for THIS CURRENT LIFE. There can be no other explanation, nothing else so heinous to account for all the crap in this one. 

    I am doing my best to make up for past transgressions in this life (although, who are we kidding? orphans, christmas eve? that’s gonna take more than one life to atone for). 

    I think what you did was wonderful and right. You usually are, so I think you must have done some pretty good things in your previous lives. Good for you (and Chickie).

    • traci

      October 16, 2014 at 10:45 am

      OMG. that is perfect! I usually claim to have built the cross or poisoned a Dali Lama for the karma I seem to have

      • Pippa

        October 16, 2014 at 8:42 pm

        I feel like whatever I did was more recently in the past or yeah…building the cross would explain a lot. No disrespect to the Dalai Lamas, though. 

  • ali

    October 16, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Thank you for reminding me of one of my favorite childhood dogs. Ace, a boxer, also loved the car. He loved it so much that it required human food bribery to get his 80lb self out of the car (able to go all slippery like an upset toddler if you tried to pick him up). Most of the pictures of him involve a car and some piece of meat dangling in front of him.

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