Michael Hingson has been blind since birth, and that means he’s relied on a lot of guide dogs.
These trained service animals are important tools that help the blind navigate our world, but they’re also just like any other dogs. They have their own personalities, and while some are serious, others are silly. When Hingson was given his fifth guide dog, he asked for a partner “who could focus.” And that’s just what he got.
His guide dog Roselle was with him on that fateful day in 2001, when terrorists crashed a pair of airplanes into the World Trade Center. Hingson was a sales manager for Quantum, and he was having a quiet day in his office on the 78th floor until he heard the crash.
“I heard a tremendous boom,” he remembers, “and the building started to shudder violently, before slowly tipping, leaning over 20 feet.” By the time it leaned back in place people were screaming and panicking.
Hingson’s coworkers realized there was a fire above, and there was debris falling into the office. “I had always paid attention to fire drills,” Hingson said, “and I knew to avoid the elevators, take the stairs and not to panic.” He told the rest of his office what to do, and in minutes they were heading downstairs.
During the next hour, Roselle proved just how well she could focus….