It's the kind of story that proves dogs are a man's best friend, and on Wednesday, Orlando the guide dog who jumped onto the tracks of the New York City subway, to save his human, Cecil Williams when the blind man lost consciousness and fell, will be able to keep living with his owner after the dog's retirement, reports CBS New York.
On his way to the dentist on Tuesday, blind Cecil Williams, 61, felt faint and fell off the platform. Eleven-year-old trained guide dog, Orlando, a black Labrador retriever, jumped onto the tracks and began to lick his master in order to wake him up.
During a news conference on Wednesday from St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital, Williams stated:
"I lost consciousness and he was trying to pull me back, but when you have a dog in a harness, I guess I fell over and he fell over with me. When we fell over, he stayed down there with me. And he was licking my face, but he was there for me."
Williams ordered Orlando to put his head down, and both escaped serious injury as onlookers waved to the train to slow down.
When the story about Williams and Orlando initially hit the news media, readers were worried that Orlando, slated to be retired in the upcoming next few months, would be taken away from Williams who has an incredible emotional tie with his four-legged friend and guide. Insurance only pays for one guide dog.
Readers were so moved by the incredible bond between Williams and Orlando, funds have been donated to help Williams have two dogs if possible; one working dog and the other retired. Animal Medical Center, who provides veterinarian care to Orlando and other guide dogs has already offered to treat Orlando for free once he retires.
Guiding Eyes for the Blind, the New York organization who provided Orlando to Williams has already promised to make sure the dog will be well cared for if Williams is not able to manage having both dogs.
Between GoFundMe and Indiegogo, close to $100,000 has been raised.
In a statement released on the organization's website, Guiding Eyes for the Blind addressed the overwhelming calls and emails it has received. The organization stated the money raised would be used to help Orlando and Williams stay together, and funds not used would go for the benefit of other guide dogs.
According to Today.com, The Guiding Eyes for the Blind issued a statement Wednesday afternoon stating:
"We recognize everyone's concern about Orlando's future — whether he stays with Cecil or goes back to the loving home of his puppy raiser, please know he will be honored like the hero he is."
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