Rachael Mullen’s fourth-grade class received a visit from a couple of special four-legged friends at the end of January.

Nitro and Sadie, two German shepherd Warrior K9 PTS Service dogs with the Zachary Lee Crawford Foundation, showed off their skills to the young CEC students, while handlers Renee Crawford and John Rohman discussed how service dogs serve different, unique purposes for their owners.

Students had recently read “The Right Dog for the Job,” a story from the new Journeys curriculum about a service dog that trained at Guide Dogs for the Blind in California and was given to a blind man who worked as a piano tuner. Along with “The Right Dog for the Job,” Mullen’s class also read a paired passage about search and rescue dogs and how they are trained.

According to the foundation’s website, the Warrior K9 program was initiated for veterans of Marshall, Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties to provide service dogs to veterans with post-traumatic stress. Their program rescues dogs from euthanization and then are properly trained and ready to bond with a veteran in need.

Questions were plentiful as the fourth-graders watched Nitro and Sadie perform specific tasks and heard about the different training techniques. Crawford and Rohman also discussed various dog safety and handling tips.

The Zachary Lee Crawford Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Chillicothe with its mission, “To honor and empower veterans and their families in the state of Illinois suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. For more information about the Zachary Lee Crawford Foundation, visit their website www.zacharyleecrawfordfoundation.org.