Karla Sanders 1952 - 2021

Karla Jane Sanders passed peacefully from this world at home on December 8, 2021, following a seven-year battle with cancer. She was born May 29, 1952, in Medford, Oregon, to Jack and Sally Sanders (née Tams).

Karla grew up in Medford, except for two years of high school in the Philippines while her dad worked for the U.S. State Department during the Vietnam War. Upon returning to the States, she graduated from Crater High School in Central Point, Oregon. After high school, she attended college in pursuit of a veterinary degree. Unfortunately, Karla didn’t accomplish her plans to become a veterinarian, but her love of animals never diminished. She lived in Roseburg, Oregon, throughout the late ’70s to ’90s while raising her son, and relocated to the Salem, Oregon, area in 1990 to complete a B.A. degree at George Fox University in personnel management. While studying, she worked at the Oregon State Employment Office and the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Karla worked part-time for Polk and Multnomah counties Soil and Water Conservation Districts in retirement.

Retirement also allowed Karla to follow her true love of animals, and she started Valley Dog Sports. Valley Dog Sports is best known for its Barn Hunt classes, workshops and trials. It also included activities such as treibball, nose work, agility and flyball. Valley Dog Sports was nationally known, and people from all over the U.S. attended Karla’s training sessions and competitions. In addition to teaching classes, Karla was a popular Barn Hunt judge who traveled all over the west coast. Her other hobbies included raising llamas for the fiber to weave and spin, beekeeping and raising ducks and chickens to sell eggs.

She was a passionate supporter of the environment, wildlife and women’s rights. For relaxation, her personal favorites were walking with her dogs, trips to the beach, and enjoying the "beautiful sky" pictured in sunrises and sunsets with a glass of her favorite wine.

Karla is remembered by her family members, friends, associates, coworkers and the dog community for her supportive attitude; her willingness to answer questions for anyone who needed help was well known. She was a strong-minded and independent woman who “always had a smile on her face and was easy to talk to” and encompassed a “can do” attitude. She will be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing her. Karla was special and meant so much to so many people for all who knew her. They will never forget how generously she reached out to others; her love for and knowledge of dogs was amazing. She especially loved teaching Barn Hunt 101 classes, as they allowed her to welcome and encourage so many people to the sport. She may be gone, but she has left behind a legacy of individuals she welcomed to the world of Barn Hunt.

Karla is survived by her husband, Kenneth Clow; her son and daughter-in-law, Matthew and Danielle Golden; stepchildren, Kelle Hildebrandt and Craig Clow; and three step-grandchildren.

A celebration of life is being planned for Karla from 3 to 6 p.m. this Sunday, August 7. If you plan on attending, please email valleydogpractice@gmail.com. Location: Bella Vista, 15730 S.W. Pleasant Hill Rd., Sherwood OR 97140.

At Karla’s request, instead of flowers, she recommends donations be made to the Hospice Pet Peace of Mind Program. The program supports the care and re-homing of hospice patients’ pets.

You can contact them at this special link created in Karla’s honor:


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