She snored loudly, was amazing at snatching socks, and her tail never stopped wagging. But what makes Roselle, a yellow Labrador, unique is how she ensured her blind owner was safely taken out of one of the world’s deadliest terror assaults.
Roselle was Michael Hingson’s faithful guide dog when he worked on the 78th level of the World Trade Center’s North Tower. On September 11, 2001, shortly after 8:30 a.m., Michael was in the conference room, with Roselle sleeping beneath the desk, directly next to his feet.
According to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the hijacked jet slammed into the building, forcing the multi-story structure to shake under the pressure.
He heard a massive explosion, and the structure began to tremor fiercely before slowly tilting, leaning over 20 feet, Michael explained. Those on the inside became sure they were dying. Colleagues bid their goodbyes with tears in their eyes. He was convinced he was going to die.
The 110-story edifice sagged back into place, but it was all chaos. Michael, who was blind and reliant on his guide dog, could hear the screams of those around him while others saw the wreckage and flames.
While everything was going on, the explosion, the flaming debris, the people screaming in the conference room, Michael recounted, Roselle sat next to him as calm as ever. She didn’t see any threat in the smoke and flames that were all around them. She would have done differently if she had felt danger, but she didn’t. Roselle and he worked well together, and he trusted her.
Michael remembered what he understood from fire drills and knew he had to avoid the elevators. He gave Roselle the order to go, and they arrived at the stairway. But, it was a long way down from the 78th story to the earth, and time was running out as the building crumbled around them.
The smoke didn’t bother the guiding dog, and she escorted Michael and the individuals that began following them down the 1,463 steps. Roselle remained calm, even as objects fell on top of her, and she escorted him through the wreckage, Michael added.
They spotted a few injured and charred people being carried along the road. Considering all of the things to worry about, Michael remained calm in order for Roselle to remain peaceful. He needed to get out by the sixth floor. His legs were ready to give way, and needed to phone Karen, his wife. The fall had lasted almost exactly an hour, he stated.
When they arrived in the lobby, there were firefighters, FBI officers, and survivors everywhere. It wasn’t until they got to the ground that they saw Tower 2 was also on fire. The horror was not gone, even though Roselle was able to bring Michael and 30 other individuals out.
A cop yelled at Michael and Roselle to leave since “she’s coming down” only minutes after they went outside.
He heard glass shattering, metal bending, and horrified screaming, Michael remembered. He shall never forget the sound for the rest of his life. The sidewalk was like a trampoline.
In a couple of seconds, one of the skyscrapers collapsed. He grabbed up Roselle, spun 180 degrees, and they started sprinting, Michael explained. Nobody was assisting anybody longer. They were all on the run for their lives. Then they were overwhelmed by a gigantic sand and gravel cloud. It filled his throat and lungs, and he felt like he was drowning while attempting to breathe. But they continued going, and Roselle kept him precisely guided. She didn’t pause for a second. Roselle and he work well together, and he was not about to abandon her.
As Tower Two collapsed, Roselle escorted Michael out of harm’s way once more. He would have been considerably more exposed in the confusion and stress if he hadn’t had Roselle and had to rely on a cane, Michael expressed. But she was directing him as he was pushing her. It was a true collaboration.
He wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for Roselle, Michael said.
Seeing how they both worked together demonstrated to Michael how “potent” collaboration can be. He also learnt “patience and love and loyalty” from the Labrador, who died in 2011, nearly a decade after saving Michael.