Gallant guide dog Orlando, a black Labrador retriever, bravely leapt onto the tracks at a Manhattan subway platform on Tuesday after his blind owner fainted and tumbled in front of an oncoming train.
Cecil Williams, 61, and Orlando both escaped serious injury when the train passed over them — a miraculous end to a harrowing ordeal that began when Williams began to feel faint on his way to the dentist.
“He tried to hold me up,” Williams said of his pet from the hospital.
Witnesses said Orlando began barking frantically and tried to stop Williams from falling.
Matthew Martin told the New York Post that Orlando jumped down and tried to rouse Williams even as a train approached.
“He was kissing him, trying to get him to move,” Martin said.
Witnesses called for help and the train’s motorman slowed his approach as Williams and Orlando lay in the trench between the rails.
“The dog saved my life,” Williams said.
As Williams regained consciousness, he said he heard someone telling him to be still.
Emergency workers put him on a stretcher, pulled him from the subway and made sure Orlando was not badly injured.
“I’m feeling amazed,” Williams said. “I feel that God, the powers that be, have something in store for me. They didn’t take me away this time. I’m here for a reason.”
Williams was taken to a hospital where he is expected to recover, with Orlando at his bedside.
Williams, a large bandage on his head, said he is not sure why he lost consciousness, but he is on insulin and other medications.
Orlando will be rewarded with some kind of special treat, Williams said, along with plenty of affection and scratches behind the ears.
Williams, of Brooklyn, has been blind since 1995 and Orlando is his second dog. The lab will turn 11 on Jan. 5 and will retire soon, Williams said. His health insurance will not cover the cost of a non-working dog, so he is looking for a good home for Orlando.
If he had the money, “I would definitely keep him,” Williams said.