Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Human Interest

Hero guide dog assured good home after NY rescue

NEW YORK — The guide dog that leaped onto subway tracks after his blind owner lost consciousness and fell off a station platform is assured a loving home after his retirement.

Cecil Williams, who has been recovering at a hospital with Orlando still by his side, had been slated to get another working dog in January or February to replace the 11-year-old black Lab.

Now, he would ideally like to have two dogs — one working and one retired as a pet — if logistics, physical abilities and finances allow.

If that's not possible, the family that raised Orlando as a puppy says it will be "absolutely thrilled to have him back," said Guiding Eyes for the Blind spokeswoman Michelle Brier. "They're very thrilled their little baby has made such a big difference."

Williams told the Associated Press on Tuesday that he couldn't pay for a non-working dog, so he was planning to look for a good home for Orlando. Guiding Eyes, based in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., provides working dogs for free but cannot cover retired dogs' expenses.

After the AP published its interview and photographs of Williams with Orlando in his hospital room, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center has been fielding queries from well-wishers offering money and other assistance.

Guiding Eyes has "graciously stepped forward to handle those inquiries," said hospital spokesman Jim Mandler.

Williams said that if he does decide he's able to care for two dogs, he'd need help paying for the Lab's care.

"We don't know yet what Cecil will choose to do," said Brier. "He's in a tough place right now. ... It's an incredibly emotional, dramatic time."

The organization was setting up a fund and planned to post information on its website. If it turns out Williams doesn't need the money, it will be used for other guide dogs, according to Brier.

Williams, 61, and Orlando both escaped serious injury Tuesday when they were bumped by a train passing over them — a miraculous end to a harrowing ordeal that began when Williams felt faint on his way to the dentist.

Witnesses said Orlando barked frantically and tried to stop Williams from tumbling off the platform. Matthew Martin told the New York Post that Orlando leaped onto the tracks as the train approached and kissed Williams to entice him to move.

Williams said Wednesday that he's "feeling a little bit better" but wasn't sure how long he'd be hospitalized.

"My head is still a little sore where they put the staples in. There are bruises on my body," he said. "They've still got to run the tests, trying to find out what caused it."

Comments
8 stories that will make you believe in love again

8 stories that will make you believe in love again

These love stories were published on tampabay.com over the years. We think you’ll like them. ALICE AND JOE They were famous once. Alice starred in Ice Follies and Holiday on Ice. Joe was a lousy skater, but a great stage manager. He also mana...
Published: 02/12/18
Woodstock singer Melanie wants a new home in Tampa Bay. All she needs is the key.

Woodstock singer Melanie wants a new home in Tampa Bay. All she needs is the key.

ST. PETERSBURGMelanie leans in the kitchen, surveying the step-down dining room and den."If the kids come to visit, we could put them in here," she says. "Right?"The kids are her grandkids. She has three but hopes for more. If this is where she moves...
Published: 02/12/18
Robin Williams’ suicide was followed by a sharp rise in ‘copycat’ deaths

Robin Williams’ suicide was followed by a sharp rise in ‘copycat’ deaths

"Hanged." The front page of the New York Daily News said it all in one word on Aug. 13, 2014. Above the capital letters, which filled nearly a third of the page, was a photo of comedian Robin Williams with a somber expression, dead at age 63.The head...
Published: 02/07/18
What a pink pirate wedding at Gasparilla looks like

What a pink pirate wedding at Gasparilla looks like

Gay Hartman’s vision of a pirate wedding may not be what you would expect from someone who lives the pirate lifestyle nearly year-round.To the London transplant, a pirate’s life is not only rough beards, eye patches and hooks — it&#...
Updated one month ago
Questlove and NBC sued for racial discrimination in firing of white ‘Tonight Show’ cameramen

Questlove and NBC sued for racial discrimination in firing of white ‘Tonight Show’ cameramen

Questlove has led his band the Roots from the underground hip-hop scene to a permanent gig as the house musicians on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon." Along the way, he’s been an outspoken critic of racial injustice. In a Rolling Stone profile, h...
Updated one month ago
2018 Oscar nominations: the complete list

2018 Oscar nominations: the complete list

List of nominees for the 90th annual Academy Awards presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Oscars ceremony will take place March 4, airing live on ABC.BEST PICTURECall Me by Your NameDarkest HourDunkirkGet OutLady BirdPhant...
Updated one month ago