Miracles Do Happen; The Power of K9 Karson’s Story

KArson EviIf you read our last post, Louie was on the verge of getting fired! We’re working on our issues and he is still here, but that is NOT the miracle.

For the last 60 days, Louie and I have been praying for a fellow canine. While I don’t believe there are any “ordinary” dogs, this one is quite extraordinary. K9 Karson, a Belgian Malinois, is a Police Officer for the Wilmington Ohio Police Department. He escaped a boarding kennel on December 23, 2014, where he was staying while his handler, Officer Jerry Popp, was on vacation.

I first heard about his escape on December 24 on a Cincinnati news station and have followed the story from various news sources. Karson has a Facebook page, and at the time of his escape, there were a few followers but as word spread, the followers increased. It became clear from the Facebook posts that with the extreme cold, finding Karson quickly was critical. While those of us who followed the story were somewhat emotionally invested, it was nothing like the emotional toll it took on Officer Popp, and I’m sure, Karson himself. For them, sheer determination to find each other became the driving force.

Once the story went viral, a groundswell of support grew. Followers offered support and encouragement, and many volunteers were on foot and in cars searching for Karson with his favorite toy, a tennis ball. He would be spotted here and there but would run from anyone who got close. Over the two months he was missing, hundreds of people searched, prayed for his safe return, and shed tears over his loss.

Many discussions took place with some who believed he probably hadn’t survived or if he had, might have been taken by someone who didn’t realize he was not only a police officer but also a dearly loved companion. Signs were posted and a group of faithful followers prayed every single night at 10 p.m. for Karson’s protection, safety, and homecoming. Although some gave up on him, Officer Popp and many of us remained optimistic he would be found.

I’ve been asked why all the emotional upheaval over a dog when there are so many worthy causes to claim our attention. But when people say, “he’s just a dog,” Mayor Randy Riley of Wilmington responds: “He is not your typical pet. He is a member of and an officer with the Wilmington Police Department.” In a statement to the photographer whose picture of Karson in a field confirmed his final location, Mayor Riley said, “You found an officer who was missing in action and returned him.” Clearly, K9 Karson is more than “just a dog.”

Thank goodness this story has a happy ending. After missing for 61 days, Karson was found on Sunday, February 22, 2015. I wept when I read Officer Popp’s words: “Karson has been found. I have him in the truck next to me. He’s alive and healthy. It’s all over finally…” Despite his long absence during one of the coldest winters our area has experienced, Karson lost about 14 pounds, suffered from dehydration and his paws were fairly reddened by the snow. It’s a miracle those were his only ailments.

As the number of followers on Facebook increased, I saw something amazing take place. Right before the news broke that he had been found, there were just under 22,000 likes for the K9 Karson page. By 9 p.m. that night, almost 6,000 additional people viewed and liked Karson’s page.

Although it’s not about the “likes,” I wonder why there were so many so quickly. People probably heard about Karson missing but once he was found, they decided to like his page. Why? Because people like happy endings? Perhaps, or is it because people wait to see what happens, hesitant to invest themselves in a story lest they be disappointed if it ends badly. With so much depressing news happening in our world, it is tough to believe in miracles, but they happen all around us, even for our pets.

Miracles don’t happen because we wave a magic wand and “poof,” we all live happily ever after. They are called miracles because things happen that are out of our control, which result in an ending many times beyond our imagination. There are, however, things we can do to “hasten” miracles:

  1. PLANT THE SEED OF FAITH: In this case, a person made one phone call; a volunteer took one more look; a photographer hoped their camera would catch a glimpse of “the hairy kid,” and another offered one more prayer pleading for his safe return. These are seeds of faith that were planted.
  2. AN ENVIRONMENT OF HOPE: The ”germination” stage for this miracle was hope. The unfailing hope and perseverance of Officer Popp, the Wilmington Police Department, the Mayor, and all the volunteers and prayer warriors created a fertile environment. And though at times it was by a thread, hope remained strong in Officer Popp’s heart.
  3. THE DYNAMIC DUO OF LOVE AND PATIENCE: The bond between Officer Popp and Karson was evident and they quickly became our dynamic duo. After we’ve planted the seeds and created a hopeful environment for it to grow, we come to what is perhaps the hardest part and that is patiently waiting. What would drive Officer Popp to continue patiently searching every day with no promise of a fruitful outcome? LOVE!

Miracles often happen at the 11th hour as in the case of Karson. The Sunday he was found was to be the last day of the organized search. The professional tracker and K-9 trainer, Jordina Ghiggeri, was set to drive back to New Jersey and the trail cameras were being removed.

I had an opportunity to meet Officer Jerry Popp, Jordina Ghiggeri, and our beloved Karson on his first day back to the station for training. I asked Jerry if the reality has taken hold yet. “I still can’t believe it,” he said shaking his head. “It was truly a miracle. I still wake up in the middle of the night to check his bed to make sure it’s real—that he’s still there.”

I have to wonder, Officer Popp, how many times Karson looks at you with those soulful brown eyes to make sure it’s real—that you are still there. It truly is a miracle and will not be quickly forgotten.

Popp in fieldPhoto: Pam Jones

 God whispers miracles in the quietness of our hearts far from the curious onlookers and crowds.  This picture speaks volumes of God’s gentle whisper. Once Karson was safely secured in the police vehicle, Officer Popp collapsed on the ground, overcome with emotion and gratitude that Karson was alive and at first glance, very healthy. Jordina and fellow officer, Sgt. Fithen were there to offer support.

Mark 9:23 “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

Karson LOU

I had the pleasure of meeting Officer Popp, Jordina Ghiggeri, and our beloved K9 Karson on his first day back to the department!  When I arrived home, Louie was curious and asked to schedule an interview with this guy named Karson. Oh Louie…you little Karson wannabe!

Send an email to: danise@di-advisors.com

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16 thoughts on “Miracles Do Happen; The Power of K9 Karson’s Story”

  1. So very true … Every last word! I prayed everyday but was fearful and then it happened, a miracle! I sobbed like a baby and every time I look at the pictures of officer Popp on the ground, with him in the truck … I have tears, tears of joy and I thank God that all our prayers were answered. God gives all of us hope through life events such as this … Telling us to never give up because in our darkest hour he will be there. I do not believe it was coincidence in any way that Karson was found on that final day of the organized search … God said it was time. Praise God!

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  2. I just cried a river thinking about the long nights, cold winter nights, and knowing he was out there somewhere. I can’t imagine the pain officer pop felt every second of the day. What a beautiful ending, knowing he was finally safe and home again. I consider that day one of the happiest days of my life, and I had never even met karson. I love you karson! Thanks again to Jordina, and praying her heart is healing after loosing brody. Did Louie really get canned?lol

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  3. Awesome story of love faith and perseverance! God truly answered prayers. I had been praying daily, many times a day.and I finally said God how much longer, please let him be found. Later that day the story hit our local TV channels that Carson was found! Oh happy day and thank you God for hearing everyone’s prayers

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  4. I can’t speak for anyone else but I have always felt the majority of humans can help theirselves. Humans can ask for help. Animals like Karson can’t . I feel like when they run away all they want to do is go home. Hungry,scared,and nowhere to turn they can’t knock on a door and say I made a mistake and I’m lost. Without a voice animals count on us to do the right thing. I followed Karson from the first post. When it was posted that he was found I jumped off the sofa and yelled to my husband in tears. ” They found Karson and he fine !”

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  5. Karson and Officer Popp’s story, no matter how many times I read about it…brings tears to my eyes. They used to be tears of frustration and fear (although I never gave up hope). Now they are tears of relief and happiness to see our two officers reunited and to witness the many lives they have touched along the way. Thank you for such a touching re-telling of their journey of love, hope, and miracles <3

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  6. What a wonderful article. You hit the nail on the head from the beginning. I picked up this story from Calif. on a Police website and started following it from the first day he went missing. He became the “family” dog and we all grew to love Karson and Officer Popp. I love all the updates to this day. Xoxoxo

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  7. Even though I’m on the other side of the ocean (along with many others) we prayed and lived each day thinking of the hairy kid and longing for that final post that said he was safe. Tennis balls on the dash in the UK and many explanations as to why – tears were spilt thousands of miles away for ‘our’ pup and his partner Officer Popp when he finally came home.

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  8. A well written article. I enjoyed very much. I love animals, however, sure understood that K9 Karson was much more than a missing beloved pet. Yes, he was that but he also was a valuable Officer of the Law. Living too far away to look for him, I followed this story with my heart and prayers daily. Thanks for writing about him.

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  9. What a wonderfully written article on Karson. I was a part of the numerous search teams that looked for Karson. When searching you can see such a large expanse of woods, fields and small towns, there are a number of times when thoughts enter into your head, like, “how in the world are we going to locate him?” Then shooting a few prayers to God to restore the faith that we will puts us back on track, knowing in our hearts that Karson would be found alive. When I see the picture above with Officer Popp in the field it still brings a tear to my eye, I take it as a reminder that God does present opportunity’s for His miracles!

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  10. Very well written. ..Every time i read on Karson’s wall for updates, it gives an inspiration when Karson was missing for 61 days as his handler Officer Popp, Jordina along with their team as well as the volunteers that poured their heart, devotion,patience and determination for that fury little kid. Thank God and his guardian Angels,officer Popp, Jordina,their team and volunteers to guide him safe along with a beautiful ending.. 🙂

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