Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust by Michael Hingson. Thomas Nelson, 2012.
On September 11, 2001, a guide dog led a blind man down 78 flights of stairs and safely out of the World Trade Center's North Tower.
Roselle, Mike Hingson’s guide dog, was raised in California at Guide Dogs for the Blind away from storms. Now living on the East Coast, thunder frightened her - but not much else.
Mike tells the story of that September day from the morning thunder, to their taxi ride to the train station, and trip to his office. Preparing a sales presentation, he felt the building sway. He shut down computers until it was clear he and Roselle must leave with his colleague David. Mike was prepared, had taken training, and knew how to exit the building in an emergency. From Room 7827 down 1,463 stairs.
Burn victims pass them. Mike jokes that if the lights go out a blind man and his dog with help them, His humor calms the fearful . Roselle breaks her training and kisses a firefighter’s hand. Perhaps his last touch. Sightless, Mike describes the chaos around him. And trusts Roselle to do her job and lead him to safety. Outside he describes the smoke, falling glass, and ash.
An inspirational story, showing the trust and courage of the man and the dog and that saved them both. Truly an heroic team.
Running with Roselle: How a Blind Boy and a Puppy Grew Up, Became Best Friends, and Together Survived One of America’s Darkest Days by Michael Hingson with Jeanette Hanscome. Roselle's Dream Foundation, 2013.
Written for children age 8 and up, Running with Roselle is the story of Mike Hingson and his guide dog Roselle and their 9/11 escape from the World Trade Center. The book does not talk down to kids and adult dog lovers might like it even more than Thunder Dog, for it contains more information on the training of a guide dog.
Told alternately, by man and dog, the story begins with a boy growing up with parents who worked hard to ignore their son's disability. He never let his disability hold him back and shares what blindness is like. As a boy he rode a bicycle and later drove a car (with a sighted friend’s assistance). He went to public schools, received his first guide dog at 14, attended college, and earned a graduate degree in Physics.
Roselle tells her story through the imagined eyes of a soon-to-be guide dog at GDB headquarters. From birth as a Guide Dogs for the Blind yellow Labrador Retriever puppy, through meeting her puppy raisers, her rigorous training, graduation and being matched with Mike. They become a team.
The issues of 9/11 and their escape is presented in a thoughtful manner and teaches appreciation of what service dogs can do.
Guide Dogs for the Blind retired the name “Roselle” as a guide dog name in 2007. Roselle lived until the age of 14.
Michael Hingson lives in Novato, California with his wife, Karen, his guide dog Africa, and Africa's mother Fantasia. When he isn't traveling the world with Africa speaking and teaching, he enjoys playing with his dogs and cooking.
In 2011 Hingson started Roselle's Dream Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to help society understand that blindness is not the characteristic that holds anyone back from achieving all they wish to be. It provides scholarships to assist blind students, especially elementary and high school, to secure needed assistive technology to help them further their education.