Dog Who Saved Owner On 9/11 Named American Hero Dog

Guide Dog Roselle Wins Top Award

Michael Hingson was working on the 78th floor of the World Trade Center on the morning of 9/11 when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the other side of the building. He is alive today because of his guide dog Roselle.

Guide dog Roselle, clearly unphased by all the attention at a 2002 awards ceremony, was posthumously named American Hero Dog by the American Humane Association.

The yellow lab bravely led Hingson to safety down 1,463 steps through falling debris and dust to a subway underground.

Even though Roselle died in June at the age of 13, her heroism lives on. She was honored Saturday night at a red carpet event in L.A. as American Hero Dog of the Year.

More than 400,000 people cast votes for Roselle and 7 other finalists. But it was Hingson’s description of her actions on 9/11 that helped her win top honor. “She saved my life,” Hingson wrote on the American Humane Association’s site.

As they were making their way out of the building, the south tower collapsed. “While everyone ran in panic, Roselle remained totally focused on her job,” Hingson wrote.

Hingson and the seven other finalists and their handlers were flown to L.A. to attend the ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hilton where they were joined by another four-legged celebrity, RIN TIN TIN Smith, a twelfth-in-line descendant of the original RIN TIN TIN.

It’s Time To Recognize Man’s Best Friends

“Every day, across America, dogs protect, comfort, and give their unconditional friendship and affection to the ill, the infirm, the wounded veteran, and the frightened child,” Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of the American Humane Association, said of the awards. “It was time to recognize the contributions of man’s best friends and celebrate the heroic feats they have performed for us every day.”

A few months after 9/11, Hingson was offered a job as national public affairs director for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Roselle accompanied him on trips until she retired in 2007. Last year he published a book chronicling the events of 9/11: “Thunder Dog: A Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero.”

Roselle was honored Saturday night with other hero dogs including Zurich, a Labrador retriever and service dog who cares for a woman who can no longer walk or speak; Ricochet, a dog who surfs with special needs children and people with disabilities and Sadie, a brave K-9 arson dog who has worked hundreds of fires and whose efforts have led to numerous arrests.

Other Canine Finalists

• Stacey Mae, a therapy dog who collects thousands of teddy bears for sick children in hospitals

• Bino, a military working dog and patrol K-9 who has served in Iraq and has helped the U.S. Border Patrol with narcotics detection

• Harley, a hearing dog who has given his owner self-confidence and a feeling of equality

• Sage, a K-9 and search-and-rescue dog who has participated in numerous missing persons searches. Sage has also helped with recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita and the Sept. 11 terrorist attack at the Pentagon.

The awards show was hosted by Carson Kressley of “Carson Nation” and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” fame. The “Hero Dog Awards” will premiere as a 90-minute special on the Hallmark Channel on Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Based on a story by today.msnbc.msn

by Shelley Mamott

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