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A veteran military dog performs tricks at Veteran's Day Assembly

Cross Creek Charter Academy (CCCA) students enjoyed having a special four-legged guest at the school’s Veteran’s Day assembly on Friday, Nov. 10.

Jason Johnson, a former U.S. Army K-9 handler in Iraq and Afghanistan, brought his highly trained apprehension dog, Axel, to the school’s Veteran’s Day assembly to share with students his passion for taking care of veteran and police dogs after they retire.

Johnson started an organization two years ago called Project K9 Hero. His mission is to raise funds to help former military and police dogs with medical and care expenses after they retire.

“After years of service in law enforcement or military deployment, many of these animals leave service with complicated medical and dietary needs, sometimes resulting in thousands of dollars of care per year. While employed these exceptional animals receive a host of benefits, including food, shelter, companionship and veterinary care; but once they “retire” from service the question of how to provide for special needs is a serious consideration for someone considering adoption,” says Johnson.
Johnson currently is working with legislators to pass bills to help retired K-9s.
During his time in Iraq and Afghanistan, Johnson was an explosive detection K-9 handler assigned to the U.S. Ambassador. He was charged with securing every venue presidents Bush and Obama, and Secretary of State Clinton visited in those countries.

During the assembly, Johnson talked about his career path and encouraged students to look into a career “where you play with dogs all day.”

He read from his book “K-9 Flash Becomes a Hero” during the assembly and conducted a demonstration on control and obedience with Axel. Students also were able to ask questions.

Axel is retired from the ATF Special Response Team. He conducted more than 200 high-risk missions nationwide as a Tactical K-9, apprehending some of the nation’s most violent criminals. Axel was one of only five active K-9s of his kind during his seven years of service to our country.

The assembly also featured photos of veterans related to students at the school and recognition of all they have done for the country. The middle school choir led students in several patriotic songs.

“As a parent, I am so proud of the attention Cross Creek paid to Veterans Day,” said Megan Moore Inchauste, CCCA PTO president. “It was heartwarming to see how involved the students were. Between the songs at the assembly, the artwork in the halls, the slideshow of family members who have served, and the family in attendance, it was easy to see the lessons of gratitude and respect come to life.”