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Faithful guide dog gets to stay with grateful New York guardian

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Thanks to a generous outpouring of support from compassionate strangers, a loyal Guide dog who is nearing retirement age, will get to stay with his blind guardian, reported Thursday's publication of Today.

On Tuesday morning, 11-year-old "Orlando," tried to stop his blind guardian, 61-year-old Cecil Williams, from toppling over a platform and onto subway tracks in Harlem, N.Y., but the man fell anyway.

The devoted black Labrador retriever went over the side as well. Miraculously, though a subway train ran over the pair, they were not seriously injured.

Williams was taken to an area hospital for treatment following the harrowing ordeal and it was there that sad news became available; Orlando was nearing retirement age and Williams' health insurance would not cover the cost of a non-working dog.

According to Today, Williams announced on Wednesday that Orlando can continue to live with him after the dog's retirement.

At a press conference, Williams said:

"I appreciate that people got together and they helped me to keep Orlando. ... Somebody made a donation, and it is going to cover him for the rest of his life."

He added:

When I get the other dog, he will retire and be a pet,

He’s been working for eight years straight, taking me through New York, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and everywhere. It’s time for him to retire. He’s about 77 (dog) years old. He's a senior citizen. He got gray hair. He’s looking forward to enjoying life now.

If anything should happen in the future which prohibits Williams from caring for his retired companion, Orlando will go back to the family that raised him as a puppy.

Guiding Eyes for the Blind, who noted that no further donations are necessary at this point, has kept concerned individuals apprised of the situation on their website. On Wednesday, they stated:

We’re grateful to report that Cecil Williams and Guiding Eyes dog Orlando are both doing well this evening.

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