Blind 9/11 survivor remembers how his guide dog helped led him out of World Trade Center
This past Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001. People all throughout the world used the chance to remember the fallen heroes and those who assisted in the aftermath.
We also recalled the dogs who played a vital role in the search and recovery efforts at Ground Zero, as well as in boosting the morale of first responders.
And Michael Hingson, a survivor of the assaults, recalls one dog in particular who became a hero that day: his seeing eye dog, Roselle, who led him safely out of the building.
Michael has been blind since birth, yet he has lived a regular life. He managed an office on the 78th floor of the World Trade Center in 2001. Roselle, his dependable Labrador Retriever with the ability to sight, allowed him to move about.
According to PIX 11, Michael was preparing for a presentation on September 11 when American Airlines Flight 11 collided with the North Tower, initiating its cataclysmic collapse.
But Roselle helped her owner remain composed during the terrifying ordeal: “Roselle was sitting, wagging her tail and yawning as if to say, ‘Who woke me up?’
“That told me that we could attempt an orderly evacuation, and that panicking wouldn’t help,” Michael told PIX 11.
The evacuated personnel were unable to use the elevators, so they had to down nearly a thousand stairs to leave the building. Michael recalls that despite the dire circumstances, everyone maintained order, maybe following the example of his calm guide dog.
Michael added, “All the way down the stairs, the fact that I kept telling Roselle how well she was doing helped a great deal of other people, since they saw me concentrating and taking command of my position.”
Michael and his coworkers escaped the building by 9:15 a.m., but the experience was far from done. They were urged to seek shelter just minutes before the building collapsed to avoid being trapped in the catastrophe.
Michael told FOX 13: “As I began to flee, I remember thinking, ‘God, I can’t believe you got us out of a building only for it to collapse on us,'” “When I did that, the first thing I recall was hearing a voice in my head saying, ‘Don’t worry about what you can’t control; instead, focus on running with Roselle, and the rest will take care of itself.'”
Michael ran a distance of 100 yards before collapsing, but Roselle continued to lead the way. Michael told PIX 11: “She accomplished all that was expected of her.”
Michael subsequently wrote, according to Today, that Roselle remained completely focused on her work while everyone else panicked. “While debris dropped about us and even struck us, Roselle maintained her composure.”
It’s an astonishing tale, but Roselle wasn’t the first guide dog to save its owner on September 11th.
From the 71st floor, another guide dog named Salty led his owner, Omar Rivera. Both canines were regarded as heroes following September 11th.
They both received the PDSA’s Dickin Medal, the highest medal for courage an animal can receive, in 2002 for their service, and were posthumously voted the American Hero Dog of the Year by the American Humane Society in 2011.
In 2011, Roselle passed away at the age of 14. Michael has acquired a new guide dog named Alamo.
But Roselle will be known as a hero forever. Michael is a motivational speaker and advocate for the blind who shares her experience with the globe today.
People continue to learn from his 9/11 experience, he says: “We must remember what it was like and develop methods to work together. We must all do this,” he told FOX 13.
What an incredible hero. On that dreadful day, thank you, Roselle, for guiding your owner out of the World Trade Center. It is a reminder of the daily life-saving work that guide dogs perform.