In Honor of Karla Kurth 1969-2009

It has long been the tradition to carefully consider the name one gives to a service dog, often recognizing a particular trait or meaningful circumstance. To honor somebody whose contributions changed a community for the better is common practice.

In this circumstance, though, there was nothing common about Karla Kurth. Her infectious laughter, her love of life, her unwavering dedication to a cause are just a few of the valuable qualities she shared. Her early passing was also uncommon and unanticipated, leaving many friends stunned and deeply saddened.

In naming a dog to honor Karla, we will be forced to say her name, even when our throats constrict with sadness and tears fill our eyes. We will have to acknowledge her absence, but more importantly, value her presence. We will sort through our memories, painful as they may
be, in the hopes that we will one day think of her and smile. The year of "firsts without Karla" will include the first PetExpo, the first Pet Partner training course, the first R.E.A.D. event at the Civic Center. And through this all will be a dog to walk quietly by our sides, as Karla did so many times. Ultimately, we will celebrate Karla's life by placing a service dog in her memory, sharing the joy that she shared with so many of us.

Please welcome Service Dog Kurth to Paws & Effect.