Special dog helps lead survivors during 9/11

By: Kelly Sommariva

During the chaos of 9/11, there was a special dog, that not only inspired calm, but also a book. The World Trade Center was so large it had its own zip code. But when those planes hit the tower everyone had the same vision; get out alive and a 4 legged friend helped them do it.

“I kept telling Roselle 'good girl' keep going, remain calm, keeping her focused going down stairs.  I know a lot of people followed us I have no idea how many,” Michael Hingson said.

Michael Hingson did not see the World Trade Center collapse. But he was there. He could feel the fear, palpable, as his guide dog 'Roselle' led him down 1,463 steps. Michael Hingson is blind.

“On 9/11 when the plane hit the building, we heard a muffled explosion, we felt the building shudder I'm holding up my arm if there's anyone in the audience who can't see it and the building began to tip just like my arm is doing, it tipped and tipped and tipped and we moved about 20 feet,” Hingson said.

Michael made it to safety from his office on the 78th floor. He turned around just as Tower one collapsed. For just a moment, clouds of thick dust made everyone blind.

“After it all died away and the dust cloud passed us, we looked around and David said oh my God there's no World Trade Center anymore,” Hingson said.

Through the chaos, Roselle never panicked. She led Michael and countless others to safety, just by doing her job. This is Michael's message of teamwork, shared with Southeast High school students. He calls it “Guide Dog wisdom.”  Never be blind to your own potential.

“Don't let your sight get in the way of your vision. I believe in that. I believe we need to think further ahead we need to truly have in our minds what it is that we seek out of life,” Hingson said.

Michael's book is called “Thunder Dog”.  He now travels around the world full time, speaking about his experience and his message.

If you want to hear more from him, he will be at the Cornhusker Hotel Wednesday evening at 7 pm. That is free and open to the public.