FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'More Happiness In My Life'
Jeremy Moore was on a night patrol in Afghanistan in 2012 when he fell nearly 60 feet down an open well. He suffered serious injuries to his legs, spine, and head. He returned to Fort Bragg, determined to stay in the Army and keep working, even while he recovered from trauma that made routine activities difficult.
“It was like my legs were asleep all of the time,” said Moore. “I would want them to do something, and I just couldn’t get them to do it.”
As someone who prided himself on being physically fit and up for any challenge, Moore had a hard time coping with his new limitations. Recovery was slow.
“The only thing I had was work. I was angry, I was sad, I was very alone,” he said.
Moore’s medical team convinced him a service dog might improve his quality of life. He applied to Canines for Veterans, a nonprofit that trains service dogs to help vets cope with mobility issues and brain trauma.
“Almost instantly, there was a lot more happiness in my life,” he recalled. “I would go out more. I was comfortable being out in the world because having this beautiful dog with me everywhere took the attention off me.”
Artemas did more than just draw admiring glances. He wore a backpack with a handle that Moore could lean on when he felt off balance, offering greater stability than the cane Moore had previously relied on. With his dog at his side, Moore was inspired to tackle situations he'd avoided since his fall, like walking down stairs, or taking a trip to the mall.
After several years of rehabilitation and healing, Moore says he has fully recovered from his injuries. He now teaches special needs students in his hometown of Bellefont, Deleware. Artemas retired as a full-time service animal, though he still visits schools and nursing homes as a therapy dog.
Ft. Bragg Stories is a collaboration between the Fayetteville Observer and WUNC's American Homefront Project to commemorate a century of history at Fort Bragg through personal narratives. You can hear other stories in the series here.