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The American Kennel Club (AKC®), the world’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for dogs, is honored to recognize K9 Jedi of the Seattle, WA PD and K9 Dash of the Shepherdsville, KY PD with a posthumous 2022 AKC Paw of CourageSM award after they made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty this past January and March, respectively. The AKC Paw of Courage expresses appreciation for the work that dogs do in the service of humankind. These awards recognize dogs who serve their communities honorably, making great impacts in the lives of their human counterparts.

“The American Kennel Club is deeply saddened by the news of K9 Jedi and K9 Dash’s passing,” said AKC Executive Secretary, Gina DiNardo. “These exemplary canines were pivotal parts of their departments, keeping their communities and taskforces safe in the face of all kinds of danger. They performed fearlessly and with great loyalty and will not be forgotten.”

K-9 Jedi, Seattle Police Department, WA

K-9 Jedi was a five-year-old German Shepherd-Belgian Malinois-mix, serving as a valued member of the Seattle Police Department when he was killed on duty on January 5, 2022. He passed away after assisting in the arrest and death of a burglar, who stabbed Jedi and slashed another officer, Tim Jones, with a machete. The man was breaking into a home in Seattle when officers responded, and Officer Jones fired shots killing the suspect. Both the burglar and Officer Jedi died at the scene.

Jedi’s handler, Officer Anthony Ducre, said that Jedi would have turned six in early February. “He faithfully served the department for four and a half years, and absolutely loved vanilla ice cream.” Officer Jedi was one of the department’s top-performing canines. He and Officer Ducre were named the 2018 K9 Team of the Year during the first year of his certification, and were awarded the 2018 Chief’s Award.

During his tenure, he helped in the arrest of over 100 suspects, including three of which were homicide suspects. K-9 Officer Jedi’s street work included working with the Seattle Police Department SWAT Team as well as the US Marshall’s Task Force. He was a valued part of the department and the community, and he will be greatly missed.

K-9 Dash, Shepherdsville Police Department, KY

K-9 Officer Dash was a five-and-a-half-year-old Belgian Malinois and a valued member of the Shepherdsville, KY Police Department. He was killed in a shoplifting incident as officers responded to the scene in Lebanon Junction when the suspect began firing. When they turned a blind corner, Officer Dash was shot and killed, saving his handler Officer Jeff Schank’s life. The suspect was shot and critically injured before being arrested and taken into custody.

“On Wednesday March 9, Dash did his job and tracked the bad guy. The bad guy took his life and allowed me and other officers to come home to our families,” said Dash’s handler, Officer Jeff Schank. “For this we will be forever grateful and he will be forever missed.”

K-9 Dash had served on the Shepherdsville Police Department since 2018, and he was one of four canines on the team – one of whom retired just a month prior. The dogs would rotate so that one would always be on-call.

Any dog is eligible to receive an AKC Paw of Courage; the award is not specific to purebred dogs. Paw of Courage awards can be presented to Police K-9s, Military Working Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Service Dogs and other canines that work to make the lives of the people around them safer, easier or just simply happier. To nominate a dog for a Paw of Courage award, click here.