Michael Hingson became blind as a result of oxygen treatment he received as a premature infant in 1950. Fortunately for Michael, he was born into a family that refused to hide him away in a home for the blind. Instead, they focused on enabling him to function in a sighted world. Part of that focus included getting Hingson paired with a guide dog. Over the years he worked with several dogs.
In 2001 he had been partnered with Roselle, a yellow Labrador guide dog for less than two years. Roselle was a good dog, but terrified of thunder. During a storm, she would hide under his desk and quake with fear until the storm passed. Hingson would comfort her as she trembled and try to calm her.
In spite of this fear, Roselle led Hingson to safety from the horror of the World Trade Center on September 11. The two of them survived the attack and Hingson has gone on to tell their story in a number of venues. With “Thunder Dog,” co-written with Susy Flory, he shares not only the harrowing story of their escape but the events leading up to the day and their lives since.
The book is far more than simply an account of a 9/11 survivor. It tells of a family’s determination to give a child every opportunity in a world that doesn’t always want to make room for those who are “differently abled.” It relates the journey of a man who could have quit along the way and asked the system to take care of him, but preferred to do whatever was required to make his own way. It shares a partnership that allowed a determined dog to overcome fear of the thunder-like noises around her and lead her blind master to safety.
Filled with insights into how a person without sight fits into a world of those who can see, the story will touch those seeking an inspirational book. Fans of animal books will enjoy the look into the life of a working guide dog as Hingson introduces readers to several of his companions over the years. Christian readers will appreciate the role of Hingson’s faith in his life.
“Thunder Dog” provides a glimpse into a history-making event at a personal level. You won’t forget Roselle and her part in the day.
“Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog & the Triumph of Trust” by Michael Hingson with Susan Flory
Published by Thomas Nelson