Survivors Of Las Vegas Shooting Say Neighbors Shot Their PTSD Therapy Dog


The mass shooting in Las Vegas that occurred on October 1, 2017, shocked the world. A man shot more than 1000 rounds of ammunition from a hotel window into a crowd who was attending a nearby concert. 851 people were injured as a result of the attack and 58 lost their lives.


This is the largest mass shooting in the United States by an individual to date. The survivors of that shooting are still trying to recover in their own way.

Joseph and Lona Johnson were two of the survivors of the Vegas shooting. They both experienced a close call, which is obvious because of their cousin, Brockie, who got shot in the cheek.

The couple has struggled with dealing with their emotions from the attack and they started to experience more and more anxiety as well as posttraumatic stress disorder.

In an effort to combat the stress and PTSD, they got a therapy dog. They heard that it would help them feel better.

“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.”

Not only was there new dog help to Joseph and Lona, he also helped the entire family, including 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 had been with the family for almost a year when tragedy struck. The Johnsons heard a gunshot outside one morning, which would be frightening enough considering what they went through. When they looked out into the yard, however, they saw that their dog was lying dead on the driveway.

The Sheriff’s deputies arrived shortly after the shot was fired and began an investigation. Odin Maxwell, who was their neighbor, admitted that he shot the dog and said that Jax had been chasing his chickens. He said: “If it was your dog chasing my chickens, then yes, I shot your dog.”

The Johnsons had never had any problems before with their neighbor. They had even said that they went out of their way to return one of the chickens just a few days before when she ended up on their property.

Maxwell had not complained to the Johnson about their dog chasing his chickens. Since this occurred, they are now afraid to leave their home. In fact, Johnson said, “Yeah, I do feel threatened. 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.”

No chickens were harmed according to the police report but that won’t bring back to Johnson’s dog. They are still grieving.

“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 Johnsons did not deserve what they went through in Las Vegas and their dog did not deserve what he got that day.



log in

Become a part of our community!

reset password

Back to
log in