Hero Guide Dog Led Blind Man To Safety On 9/11

A Remarkable Story

The remarkable story of Roselle, a guide dog that led a blind man and others to safety just moments before the World Trade Center collapsed has become an instant best seller. In the first week of its release, Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog & the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero made it on the New York Times bestseller list.

Readers will follow blind man, Michael Hingson and his guide dog, Roselle inside Tower One when it was struck, down each step from the 78th floor to their safety on the street just moments before the tower collapsed. The book is available from michaelhingson.com ($23.95) or at Amazon.com

Roselle Did Her Job Perfectly

Michael Hingson has told his story numerous times, “On Sept. 11, 2001, my guide dog Roselle and I were working in the World Trade Center on the 78th floor of Tower One when the airplane crashed into our building.” During all the horror and confusion, Mr. Hingson, never doubted that his guide dog, 3-year-old Roselle would lead him to safety.

“From the outset, Roselle guided and did her job perfectly, as we went to the stairwell and traveled down 1,463 stairs. Despite the dust and chaos, Roselle remained calm and totally focused on her job, as debris fell around us and even hit us. We found a subway entrance, where we could escape the heavy dust. All that day Roselle worked flawlessly. She saved my life and truly is the greatest dog hero of all,” said Hingson.

Unfazed By The Extraordinary Day

After all the events of that day Roselle seemed unfazed, Hingson said. At home that night she played with her toys as usual and continued to cheerfully lead her partner. Although brave through the terrorist attacks that day, Roselle had a big fear of thunder.

Roselle Becomes A Hero Award Finalist

Roselle was nominated by Hingson for the first American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards in which more than 300,000 voters picked her as one of the eight finalists.

Each finalist won $5,000 to donate to charity. Roselle’s winnings will go to Guide Dogs for the Blind, the organization that raised and trained her.

She Lived To A Ripe Old Age

“Life went back to normal until 2004, when a routine veterinary visit revealed that Roselle’s blood was not clotting as it should,” Mr. Hingson said. Roselle was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder but was able to lead a normal life until 2007, when blood work revealed poor kidney function.

“I think it’s related to 9/11, but there’s no way to prove that,” Mr. Hingson said. “We decided to retire her, thinking a more leisurely lifestyle would extend her life, and that’s what happened.”

Once retired, Roselle was happy to live the life of a pampered pooch with Mr. Hingson and his wife Karen. Africa another yellow Lab became Hingson’s new guide dog and Roselle did not resent her for it.

“Roselle was always mischievous, and she always loved stealing socks and playing with them,” Mr. Hingson said.

Roselle died on June 26th, at the age of 13. A fairly long life for a dog of her breed.

Roselle Will Always Be Special

“She had a long and happy life,” said Mr. Hingson. He is making sure that Roselle will never be forgotten. She has a Facebook page, a foundation, and a book.

Mr. Hingson, 60, has had seven amazing guide dogs in his life that he loved, but to him Roselle will always be special.

Based on a story by the post-gazette and disabled-world

by Shelley Mamott

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