Man, foster dog, lose part of themselves but find each other

A foster dog who was caught in an animal trap and a Tennessee man who survived flesh-eating bacteria are described as the perfect pair.
David Jackson, an amputee, rescued a three-legged dog named Karma.
David Jackson, an amputee, rescued a three-legged dog named Karma.(WVLT)
Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 8:26 AM CDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - All of us have lost something in life. A game we wanted to win. Time that we can’t get back. Someone we love. And, some of us have lost part of ourselves.

In 2021, David Jackson boarded a medical helicopter in Alaska and headed to a hospital in Seattle. An old leg injury from a skiing accident left him vulnerable to infections that were usually brought under control with antibiotics. But this time, he developed flesh-eating bacteria. Doctors weren’t sure he’d live.

“I went to the hospital and that’s the last thing I remember for three months, was checking into the hospital, waiting in the emergency room. I came to myself again three months later,” Jackson recalled.

Jackson’s niece, who he helped raise, was his power of attorney. She rode with him on the medical helicopter, stayed with him in the hospital and, acting as his power of attorney, made the difficult decision to amputate Jackson’s leg in order to save his life.

Jackson couldn’t repay his niece for shouldering such a heavy burden, so instead he paid it forward to a three-legged shelter dog named Karma.

“Karma and I have four legs between us,” noted Jackson. “The kids always ask the question, ‘What happened? What happened?’”

What happened to Karma is a tough story for Doctor Mark Hendrixson to tell. He’s the vice president of East Tennessee animal rescue operation Focus on Cumberland County Animal Safety, where Karma spent nearly a year in foster care.

“It looked like she had suffered an awful lot when she came to us,” Dr. Hendrixson explained. “We had a friend that was traveling the south part of the county and they saw her limping down the road.”

Dr. Mark Hendrixson

Karma had lost half her foot after getting stuck in a wildlife trap. The injury required amputation.

For nearly a year, Karma was fostered through Focus on Cumberland County Animal Safety. Jackson believes she was passed over because of her amputation. That changed when he found her online.

“I saw her and I thought ‘that’s perfect actually.’ We were like a really good match. She needs someone that can do short walks. I need someone to do short walks with,” remarked Jackson.

Long walks would be too rough on Karma, and they’re out of the question for Jackson. He can’t use a prosthetic because of the way his leg was amputated.

He said they share something else in common: excruciating phantom pain.

“They both have such stories of damage and overcoming it, and finding each other,” remarked Hendrixson. “The two of them, it was just a match made in heaven and everyone was on the verge of tears about the union.”

The day David Jackson, an amputee, adopted a three-legged foster dog named Karma.
The day David Jackson, an amputee, adopted a three-legged foster dog named Karma. (Focus on Cumberland County Animal Safety)

“I had a hard time finding work… Part of it was, I honestly feel, because I was missing a leg,” said Jackson.

So the dog that was passed over for adoption for nearly a year, and the man who was passed over for jobs, didn’t pass on each other.

“Do you have a happier life with Karma?” asked WVLT News Anchor Amanda Hara. “Yeah. It’s a partnership. She’s doing really good now, we’re in rhythm,” Jackson replied.

They lost part of themselves but found each other.

Show me your shelter dog and share your adoption story! Karma the dog was caught in an animal trap and David Jackson...

Posted by Amanda Hara on Friday, March 25, 2022

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