Loyal Deputies

K-9s Ax and Endo were officially honored after line-of-duty gunshot injuries. From left are Deputy AJ Davis and K-9 Ax, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood, and Deputy Brett Whitson and K-9 Endo.

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood and the Georgia non-profit organization Irondog K9 International honored K-9s Endo and Ax Nov. 17 for their actions responding to an armed carjacking incident in Deltona in September.

Endo and Ax were each shot while working to apprehend the fleeing suspect.

Irondog K9 International pays medical bills and provides medic training and equipment for all Volusia Sheriff's Office K-9 handlers

Both K-9s received the Purple Heart from the Sheriff's Office and a Medal of Honor from Irondog K9. The Purple Heart is the retiring K-9 Endo's second since 2016 when he was shot in the neck while responding to a domestic disturbance call with his handler, Deputy Brett Whitson. K-9 Ax has been back on duty with his handler, Deputy AJ Davis.

In presenting their medals at the Deputy Stephen Saboda Training Center, Sheriff Chitwood recounted how one of the first messages he received following the carjacking incident was from Irondog K9, offering to cover the dogs' medical bills.

"It was this incredible, heartwarming email saying that whatever your organization needs, whatever Endo and Ax need, we got you," Sheriff Chitwood stated in a news release. "We got medical bills, we got training – you tell us what you want."

"Our job is to support these law enforcement K-9s and their handlers, and we are so excited to be able to be here for them," said Irondog K9's Mitzi Nash.

The organization has contributed more than $25,000 to Volusia Sheriff’s Office K-9s and handlers since the September incident, including about $4,000 in medical bills, $4,200 in first aid kits and more than $18,000 for a 3-day K-9 medic training class for every single VSO K-9 handler. The class is underway now.

Irondog K9 supports K9 teams across the country by providing equipment like first aid and trauma kits, sponsoring training events like this week’s seminar, and paying for on-duty injury vet bills.

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