911

Roselle, the guide dog who saved her blind master in Tower One on 9/11

Here is an excerpt from Michael Hingson, who is blind, about his faithful guide dog, Roselle, who led him down 78 flights of stairs in Tower One of the World Trade Center on that fateful date of 9/11/2001.

“It is strange for me to be writing this article while I have feelings of both sadness and joy in my heart.  Nevertheless, it is something which must be done.

Roselle was born on March 12, 1998 at Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California.  After her time with puppy raisers she went back to Guide Dogs for the Blind for training.  I think I first met her on November 22, 1999.  It was obvious from the very beginning that we were a perfect match.  Roselle was my fifth guide dog.  I could tell that she would be an excellent guide from our very first walk together.  What took me a few days to discover was that Roselle was also quite a character; I constantly referred to her as a pixie.

On September 11, 2001 Roselle and I were in our office on the 78th floor of Tower One of the World Trade Center when the tower was struck by American Airlines flight 11 which had been hijacked and was being controlled by terrorists. All I want to say here is that Roselle did an incredible job.  She remained poised and calm through the entire day.   I would not be alive today if it weren’t for Roselle.

In 2004, Roselle was diagnosed with immune mediated thrombocytopenia, a condition which caused her body to attack her blood platelets.  Through medications we were able to control the disease and Roselle was able to continue guiding.  As usual, she worked like a trooper and never once exhibited pain nor discomfort.

In February 2007 during a normal checkup we learned that some of Roselle’s kidney values were changing for the worse.  It was decided that the medication regimen on which Roselle had been placed as well as the stress of guiding were the causes for her kidney value changes.  Roselle retired from guide work in March of 2007.

In 2010, Roselle began exhibiting some chronic back pain.  We immediately took Roselle to her vet and started her on a treatment of acupuncture, some other back adjustments, and herbs which altogether mostly eliminated her chronic back pain.

Earlier this year [2011] we noticed that Roselle was beginning to have a harder time standing up on her own, although once she was standing she loved to continue her daily walks.  She stopped playing tug bone with Fantasia and Africa, but she still enjoyed lying in the sun, eating, kissing everybody in sight, and barking at the doorbell.  Her ability to stand on her own grew worse throughout the first half of this year.

Last week she began exhibiting some other signs of distress and pain.  On Friday, June 24, 2011 she had to be taken to her vet as she had begun vomiting blood.  It is suspected that somehow she had developed a stomach ulcer.  Also, it was discovered that her red blood cell count had dropped significantly.  Friday evening she was taken to the Pet Emergency and Specialty Center where she was well known and would receive over night care. She had spent many hours with Doctor Harb and the other staff working through her IMT issues.  They had also helped her in January 2009 when she developed gastric torsion and had to undergo emergency surgery to untwist her stomach.

Yesterday, Sunday, June 26, we visited her in the evening only to see her condition continuing to deteriorate.  She was in a lot of pain and discomfort.  There was no one cause for her discomfort, but Doctor Bowie of the PESC felt that some of her immune mediated related conditions had returned in addition to the possible stomach ulcer.  After much consultation and discussion we all came to agreement that the best thing we could do to help Roselle was to assist her in crossing the Rainbow Bridge and go to her friends Linnie and Panama.  At 8:52 last evening she crossed the bridge and, I am sure, is now more comfortable and has all the doorbells she wants to bark at.”

This was posted on June 28, 2011, by Mike Hingson.  For the full story, you may visit his website here.

May you rest in peace, Roselle.

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