NEW YORK, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Cecil Williams, a 61-year-old blind man, made headlines last month when he tumbled onto the subway tracks in Manhattan. His aging guide dog, Orlando, jumped down after him, and the pair managed to escape serious injury by squeezing into the space between the rails as a train passed over them.
“Orlando was like my angel, and he's always been that since I got him,” Williams told the Today show. “We work together. I protect him and he protects me.”
Though he was grateful to be alive, Williams told reporters that Orlando, nearly 11 years old, would soon be forced to retire. Williams' insurance would only allow him to pay for one working guide dog.
People inspired by his story began raising money for Williams to keep Orlando, who retired earlier this month. Williams then received a yellow Labrador named Godiva, who just graduated from the training program at Guiding Eyes for the Blind, the organization that first trained Orlando.
Orlando will get to stay with Williams, while Godiva takes his place as Williams' guide dog.
“After a while, Orlando will learn he can put his feet up, and it’s going to be Godiva’s turn to work,” said a Guiding Eyes rep.
[Today, New York Daily News]