Traffic map
Article updated: 12/19/2013 7:53 AM

Blind New York man to keep aging guide dog

Cecil Williams smiles Tuesday as he pets guide dog Orlando in his hospital bed following a fall onto subway tracks from the platform at 145th Street in New York. The blind 61-year-old Williams says he fainted while holding onto his black labrador who tried to save him from falling. Both escaped without serious injury.

Cecil Williams smiles Tuesday as he pets guide dog Orlando in his hospital bed following a fall onto subway tracks from the platform at 145th Street in New York. The blind 61-year-old Williams says he fainted while holding onto his black labrador who tried to save him from falling. Both escaped without serious injury.

 

Associated Press

 1 of 1 
 
text size: AAA
By Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Enough donations have been raised to allow a blind man to keep the aging guide dog that went onto the subway tracks with him when the man lost consciousness and fell from a station platform, officials say.

"The spirit of giving, Christmas ... exists in New York," a tearful Cecil Williams said Wednesday, calling the outpouring of money and good will a "miracle."

Advertisement

"It's a time to rejoice," Williams said.

Michelle Brier, a spokeswoman for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, which provides working dogs for free but cannot cover retired dogs' expenses, said Thursday that "as of right now," Williams plans to keep Orlando as a pet after Orlando retires and Williams gets a new working dog early next year.

Brier added that "it's an emotional time" and the organization will support whatever path he ultimately takes. The family that raised Orlando has said it would be thrilled to take in Orlando if Williams is unable to care for two dogs.

"I'm not a crybaby or nothing. But my eyes are misty and I'm tearing right now because things like this here don't happen for everybody," Williams said at the hospital. "They should happen. We should care about one another. We should do for one another. But it's not always that way."

Williams expressed gratitude to all of the people involved in his rescue and those who donated money to help him keep his "best buddy."

"I'd like to say thank you but I'm trying to look for some more words to describe how I really feel," he said.

He urged the public to support other disabled people who need guide dogs. Guiding Eyes said any leftover donations would be used for that purpose.

Williams, 61, and Orlando both escaped serious injury Tuesday when they were bumped by a train passing over them -- a miraculous end to a harrowing ordeal that began when Williams felt faint on his way to the dentist.

Witnesses said Orlando barked frantically and tried to stop Williams from tumbling off the platform. Matthew Martin told the New York Post that Orlando leapt onto the tracks as the train approached and licked Williams to entice him to move.

Williams doesn't remember much about the incident because he lost consciousness. He recalls that Orlando tried to brace him against the fall and thinks momentum may have propelled the harnessed dog onto the tracks with him.

"He stayed with me. He was licking my face," Williams said. "He's a very gentle gentleman."

Comments ()
We are now using Facebook comments to offer a more inclusive, social and constructive discussion. Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.

This article filed under

Latest Video

MostViewed

Today
Yesterday
Most Commented
Top Jobs

    View all Top Jobs Place a job ad

    MarketsReport

    DHExtras

       
    • Newspaper next section - Newspaper next section Report card checker - report card checker
    • Dh innovation award 2 - Dh innovation award 2 Zillow /real estate page
    • Discuss refer On Guard series
    • Newspaper archives -- Monday or anyday Mike North

    FacebookActivity

    BusinessDirectory

    Connect with a business or service in your area fast. First select a town, then enter a search term or choose one of the listed popular searches:

    Don't see your town listed? Visit our full directory to begin your search.