On October 1, 2017, a mass shooting took place on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada. There were over 1,000 rounds of ammunition fired out of a hotel and into a crowd attending a concert, leaving 851 people injured, and another 58 dead.
The incident is cited as the largest mass shooting committed by an individual in America, and to this day the survivors are still trying to recover.
Joesph Johnson and his wife Lona were two of the survivors of the Vegas shooting. It was a close call for them both, which is clear by the fact that their cousin Brockie, who was with them, got shot in the cheek.
Understandably, the couple had a hard time dealing with the attack, and each of them began suffering from increased anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder.
To handle the stress and PTSD, the Johnsons decided to get a dog because they heard that it could help.
“We heard that dogs are good pets to help with the healing and PTSD and anxiety and all the things that came with that horrible night,” Johnson said. “We decided on a labradoodle and got Jax, and he was such a blessing.”
Jax helped the whole family deal, not just Joseph and Lona, but also their children.
“He gave us something to look forward to. I really believe Jax was a big part of our healing, not only for my wife and I, but for our children, who were at home and saw the news and the social media and knew we were shot at. He’s helped us all.”
Jax was a member of the family for nearly a year when something tragic happened. One morning, the Johnsons heard a gunshot outside of their home. Obviously that is scary enough after going through what they did, but when they looked out into their yard they saw their dog laying dead on their driveway.
Sheriff’s deputies arrived to investigate shortly after the shot was fired. Their neighbor, Odin Maxwell, apparently claimed that the dog was chasing his chickens. Johnson says that Maxwell admitted that he shot the dog, allegedly saying “If it was your dog chasing my chickens, then yes, I shot your dog.”
Prior to this incident, the Johnsons had never had any issues with the neighbor. They even said that a few days before the shooting they had gone out of their way to return one of chickens that had ended up on their property.
Maxwell had never mentioned anything to the Johnsons about their dog harassing his chickens, and now they are afraid of their own home.
“Yeah, I do feel threatened,” Johnson said. “I do feel scared in my own home.”
“We cried pretty much all day Sunday, and the kids had a hard time, wanting to come home,” Lona said. “It was hard being home without having Jax around. It was so quiet.”
The police investigation showed that no chickens had been harmed, but that won’t bring back Jax. The family is still grieving their loss.
“We’re pretty upset and hurt right now,” Lona said. “It triggered a lot of PTSD for our family. We’re still trying to deal with what happened in Las Vegas, and then this happened. Everybody who knows us knows how important Jax was to us.”
“It’s definitely been a tough year,” Johnson said. “We went through a life-changing event in Las Vegas. It gives you a different perspective on a lot of things. Just like now, there was a lot of anger over what we went through.”
The family didn’t deserve this treatment, and neither did the dog.