We at Project K-9 Hero are honored to be attending our first Police Fleet Expo this year in Richmond, Virginia. For those who may have never heard of us, Project K-9 Hero is a national nonprofit 501c3 organization, whose mission is to provide medical care, food, and death benefit assistance for our nation’s retired Police K-9s and Military Working Dogs. Project K-9 Hero also helps K-9s who need a home after their service, through rehabilitation and adoption. Project K-9 Hero is dedicated to “Protecting Those Who Protected Us,” by spreading awareness and educating the public.
What most people don’t know is that not every Police K-9 or Military Working Dog has a home to go to in retirement. Some dogs need to be placed after their service because of behavioral issues, or just because their handler can’t keep them any longer. Perhaps they had a change in their family or financial situation? No matter the reason, our organization is here to help. We have purchased 177 acres of beautiful land in the rolling hills of Tennessee between Chattanooga and Nashville. It is here where we rehabilitate and rehome heroes who need our help the most.
Please take a moment to meet retired U.S. Air Force Military Working Dog “Rosso” T206. Rosso served in the USAF for nearly 10 years. He protected both President Trump and Obama during his assignments with the U.S. Secret Service. He even traveled with the President to Japan to use his expert explosive detection skills. He was also certified in patrol work and force protection where he deployed to the Middle East during Operation Inherent Resolve. When he retired on December 1, 2020, he was the most senior working dog in the Air Force. He was given the Air Force Commendation Medal. However, the review board at his retirement ceremony recommended he be euthanized.
You see, Rosso was trained to be aggressive, trained to protect. In fact, he was so good at it that he was routinely called upon to protect the President of the United States and his family all around the world. Rosso performed his job so well that the government did not feel as if he was fit to live with the general public. That is when his Kennel Master stepped up at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington, and gave us at Project K-9 Hero a call. He basically stated that our organization was Rosso’s last hope. Once I heard his entire story, his background, and all that he has done for our country, I committed our organization to taking him in and saving him from being put down.
Shortly after his retirement date, I flew out to Washington state, rented a vehicle, and spent a week working with Rosso and his former handler one-on-one. Gaining a rapport with the most senior working dog in the Air Force was tough. If I was going to make the drive back to our facility in Tennessee with this war hero, I knew I was going to have to gain his trust. So, I used french fries and I hand-fed him every day, until he finally let me put the leash on him. Then we worked on throwing the ball and playing. I transitioned that into loading him in the vehicle and putting him in his crate. After a week, we were ready. Rosso and I took four days to get home and got to know each other. Once we arrived at our facility in Tennessee, Rosso fell in love with it. Acres and acres for him to be able to run and play, to just be a dog and enjoy retirement.
Many people ask me how I took one of the most dangerous Military Working Dogs in the world and managed his PTSD? The answer for me is simple. Keys to his success have been:
1. Plenty of Exercise
2. Removal of all Stress Related Triggers
3. Daily Routine
4. Consistency from Trainer
5. Proper Diet
6. Mental Stimulation
7. Positive Reinforcement
It has been my honor to personally take on Rosso, after he was set to be euthanized for his behavioral issues. One Veteran Helping Another Veteran!
I wanted to tell Rosso’s story to you because one of the main reasons we at Project K-9 Hero were so eager to attend the Police Fleet Expo is because we are looking to build corporate partnerships with the organizations that attend and put on this yearly event. We are currently building a state-of-the-art Rehabilitation and Rehoming Facility on the 177 acres I spoke about. We won’t ever get all six buildings up by selling T-shirts or taking in private donations. We are looking to partner with Police-related corporations that believe in our mission and understand that there are heroes like Rosso out there that no longer have homes to go to in retirement. That some actually face euthanasia after protecting our country.
The other 90 percent of the K-9 Heroes we assist live with their handlers. However, did you know that the agencies they serve have no programs or funding in place to help them with their medical bills when they retire? Each week, our organization pays medical bills directly to the Veterinarian Offices around the country for the 132 program members we assist. Some weeks, we spend over $20,000 just to make sure the heroes we serve are getting the best medical care possible and that no K-9 Hero goes without just because someone cannot pay a bill.
I would encourage each of you to follow us on our Facebook Page, Instagram, or Twitter @projectk9hero to see our daily posts and the difference we are making in the Law Enforcement community. Another way we have made an impact is by working closely with Congress to be heavily involved in the writing of the K-9 Hero Act. This piece of legislation will provide federal funding to nonprofits like PK9HERO to pay medical bills for our nation’s retired Federal Police K-9s and Military Working Dogs. This was a dream of mine while I was in the government, and now that I have founded this organization, I have been working hard to see it passed.
This coming November 4, 2021, at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington D.C., we will be holding the K-9 Hero Awards. The nominations for the 2021 “K-9 Hero Awards” are open until August 2, and we are currently speaking to several major television networks to air our show nationally. We already have over 100 members of U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate signed on to co-host this event put on by our organization.
The K-9 Hero Awards are for Police K9s, Fire/SAR K9s, and Military Working Dogs exclusively. PK9HERO will be recognizing the nation’s top active or retired working dogs in the following categories:
Search and Rescue
The winner of each of these seven categories will receive:
FREE MEDICAL CARE for LIFE from Project K-9 Hero!
FREE DOG FOOD for LIFE by our sponsors at SportDogFood!
$1,000 gift card to our shop!
Many other K-9 related items from our partners such as Brutus Broth, Rex Specs, DreamBone®, FURminator Inc., HonestPets.co, Nature’s Miracle, Fox + Hound, and Spectrum Brands.
As you can see, our nonprofit is extremely diverse. I would encourage each of you to visit our website at www.projectk9hero.org and check out our shop. We carry many PK9H branded items such as shirts, hoodies, hats, drinkware, my children’s books, and many other great items that support our mission.
We look forward to meeting each of you while we are at the 2021 Police Fleet Expo with our partners at PFC Brakes. On Aug. 17 and 18, we plan on bringing two of our heroes for you all to meet: K-9 Yoube, who served as a Narcotics Detection K-9 with the Chattanooga Police Department, and K-9 Klara, who was a Dual-Purpose Patrol/Narcotics Detection K-9 with the Wilson Police Department and Carter County Sheriff’s Office in Oklahoma. Both heroes found themselves needing a home in retirement, which is how they ended up in our organization.
This is why our Rehabilitation and Rehoming Facility in Tennessee is so important! We look forward to meeting all of you and trying to form a long-lasting partnership that helps us provide the best retirement possible for these deserving K-9 Heroes.
About Jason Johnson, Founder and CEO Project K-9 Hero
Jason Johnson has a passion for Police K-9s and he has dedicated his life to working with them, as well as training and taking care of them. Jason believes that Police K-9s perform selflessly for the departments and agencies they work for, and in return, they are not offered that same respect, in their retirement years, by those they served. It is Jason’s goal to ensure he educates the public on the costs and responsibilities of adopting a retired hero and that every Police K-9 in the United States has their medical, food, and end-of-duty costs taken care of for them so they may live the healthy and happy retirement that they deserve.
After volunteering his time for three years at the inception of the organization, Jason now acts as the CEO of Project K-9 Hero. Jason is also the CEO of Paradigm Defense Concepts and the CEO of K-9 Solutions International (K-9SI), where he manages domestic and international K-9 detection as well as defense contracts, training, and consulting services with civilian and government agencies worldwide. Since founding Project K-9 Hero, Jason has been working hard to grow the foundation so that he can serve as many retired K-9 heroes as possible.
Before he founded Project K-9 Hero, Jason served as a Field Canine Coordinator for the Department of Homeland Security, where he provided program oversight and subject matter expertise to law enforcement canine teams and federal canine teams. He provided leadership, technical advice, guidance and direction to ensure the overall effectiveness and utilization of explosive detection K-9 teams. He ensured that national program policy, standards, and guidelines were communicated in a clear and effective manner to a variety of internal and external stakeholders, while also ensuring adherence to such measures. He served as a K-9 liaison to civilian and law enforcement officials on the federal, state, and local government levels.
Prior to working as Field Canine Coordinator, Jason was a K-9 Trainer/Instructor and Course Developer for Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). He planned, developed, and was the Lead Instructor for Explosive Detection Courses to a variety of Domestic and International Federal Agents, Law Enforcement, and U.S. Military. He trained, instructed, and certified students in multiple federal agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Marshals Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency, and many other state and local departments working specifically in explosives detection. He worked with the Military Working Dog (MWD) program, providing Home-Made Explosives training to over 1,000 MWDs prior to their deployment to high-threat areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan. He was also involved in developing and instructing the agency’s first off-leash detection program, SEEK (Search Enhanced Evidence K-9), and the agency’s first SRT (Special Response Team) dual-purpose patrol/explosives detection canine. He instructed explosive detection canine courses for the U.S. Department of State’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, which served over 21 international countries. Jason was the 2011 recipient of the Johnny A. Masengale Memorial Award, which is given out nationally to those who made outstanding contributions in the explosives field.
Prior to working for the ATF, Jason served as an Explosive Detection K-9 Handler, Trainer, Kennel Master and Protective Security Specialist for the U.S. Department of State in support of the Worldwide Personal Protection Services contract with U.S. Diplomatic Security throughout Iraq and Afghanistan. He was assigned as one of the primary explosive detection handlers to the U.S. Ambassador and the Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, and was the lead K-9 handler used in the 2009 Afghanistan Presidential Elections. He was the lead K-9 handler used in the 2008 Iraqi elections for South – Central Iraq, providing explosive detection sweeps for the U.S. Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the U.S. Department of Defense, along with various other governmental agencies and programs.
Jason also served as a Police Officer for the City of Yakima, WA, and the City of Puyallup, WA. During that time, he specialized as a K-9 Handler and K-9 Trainer with the Washington State Police Canine Association. His additional duties included being a member of the SWAT Team, a Defensive Tactics Instructor, a Field Training Officer, and the Officer in Charge of the Honor Guard.
Jason honorably served in the United States Army as a Military Police Officer, where he received numerous awards and recognition throughout his assignments for his service. Jason holds a Master’s of Science and a Bachelor’s of Science from Bellevue University in Security Management. He has served as an adjunct professor at Henley-Putnam University, teaching a Master’s program in Advanced Executive Protection. Jason is an accomplished author and has contributed chapters for two separate University textbooks, used for teaching at the Master’s level in Strategic Security. He was published in both K-9 Cop and Police K-9 magazines with featured articles. Jason has also published his own children’s book about his inspiration to start this organization, titled K-9 Flash Becomes A Hero. K-9 Flash was named the 2018 Law Enforcement Dog of the Year in the country by American Humane. Jason actively works with Congress to see that his vision of the K-9 Hero Act, HR #5081 gets passed as a law to bring a positive change to the K-9 community for generations to follow.
You may learn more about our Capital Campaign at:
You may learn more about our K-9 Hero Awards at:
Project K-9 Hero is a national nonprofit 501c3 organization, whose mission is to provide medical care, food, and death benefit assistance for our nation’s retired Police K-9s and Military Working Dogs. Project K-9 Hero also helps K-9s who need a home after their service, through rehabilitation and adoption. Project K-9 Hero is dedicated to “Protecting Those Who Protected Us,” by spreading awareness and educating the public.
You may learn more about us on our website at:
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @ProjectK9Hero
Jason K. Johnson
Founder of Project K-9 Hero
Visit us at booth #640
Aug. 16–19, Richmond, VA
The PFC Brake Family is proud and excited to have Jason Johnson and 2 of his K-9 Heroes join us in our booth (#640) at Police Fleet Expo. Jason will be signing his two children’s books, K-9 Flash a Hero’s Hero & K-9 Flash Becomes A Hero…along with other Project K-9 Hero items for a donation to his organization. Team PFC believes strongly in Jason’s mission to “Protect Those Who Protected Us” and will donate a portion of the proceeds in the name of the participating agencies that sign up at the show (we will have details at the booth). Please join us in supporting Jason and his team at Project K-9 Heroes…see you in Richmond!