He spent three weeks in Germany while doctors tried to fix his ankle; if they could, he would return to his unit. However, he ended up having to return to the United States for treatment. “I hated being sent home and leaving my team, my ‘family,’” he says.
For the next four years, he dealt with daily pain from his ankle in an attempt to keep his leg, but he eventually grew tired of all the pain. “I had to convince my surgeon into amputating my leg,” he notes, but once it was done, “I got my life back.” Free from pain, Will now had to learn how to walk with his new prosthesis.
Will first learned of America’s VetDogs while undergoing rehabilitation therapy at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. His occupational therapist thought a service dog might prove helpful with some of his balance issues. "I was told that I would be a good candidate because I had counterbalance issues when walking with gait, and was told that a service dog would be able to help, " says Fisher. "That's what got me interested in the VetDogs program." In addition to balance and helping him walk a straight line, Lyla will open and close doors, retrieve dropped items, including his prosthetic leg. She has even been trained to pull his wheelchair to him if he falls.
Today, Will serves as a volunteer firefighter in Anne Arundel County in Maryland, and gives back to his fellow veterans: He is active in SUDS (Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba), which offers scuba training to injured service members who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan to help facilitate their rehabilitation.