Joe Worley

Joseph Worley joined the Navy in 2003, just before he turned 22 years old. “Everyone, I think feels the pull to serve their country. I wanted that. I wanted to see the world,” he says.

 He became a Navy corpsman, and was the medic attached to a Marine unit. In 2004, as his medical convoy was heading back to base in Fallujah, Iraq, the first vehicle in the convoy hit an improvised explosive device. Worley jumped out to aid his wounded comrades, ran a few yards, and was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. It did not explode, but it took off his left leg. He was then shot six times. For his actions, he was awarded the Bronze Star for valor and a Purple Heart.

 Worley lost his left leg above the knee, and suffered severe damage to his right leg and ankle. He spent almost two years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center recovering from his injuries. He was among the veterans who attended the first on-campus America’s VetDogs class in October 2008.

 His first service dog Benjamin, a Golden Retriever, was trained to help with balance and stability while in harness and retrieval for when Worley uses his wheelchair. “Benjamin was a constant, nonjudgmental companion who didn’t treat me differently based on how I looked. I am grateful for the difference he made in my life – not only for me, but for my family,” he says.

 After he was teamed with Benjamin, Worley became one of America’s VetDogs’ most popular veteran ambassadors. He joined the staff of America’s VetDogs as its veterans relations liaison.

 After a long and outstanding career, Benjamin retired to live with the Worley family. Worley trained with his new dog Galaxie in April 2017. There was never a question, he says, that he would come to America’s VetDogs when it was time to get another dog.

 “My life is so far beyond where I thought I would be in 2008 when I got Benjamin that I cannot begin to express the love and appreciation I have for America’s VetDogs and for the people here. I feel like I left the old me in the dust. I’m doing things I never thought possible,” he says.

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