Following 9/11 a story circulated on the internet about Daisy, a guide dog who led her owner out of the tower and then went back to save 967 lives and win the Medal of Honor of New York City.
The story was pure fabrication.
However there was a Roselle and there was a Dorado who behaved the way Guide Dogs are trained to behave.
Dorado. Omar Rivera was on the 71st floor of the World Trade Center north tower when the hijacked airliner struck 25 floors above him. Rivera who is blind was in the office with his 4-year-old Labrador Retriever guide dog Dorado lying under his desk.
Rivera could hear the debris falling around him and feel the smoke and unbearable heat.
"Not having any sight I knew I wouldn't be able to run down the stairs and through all the obstacles like other people. I was resigned to dying and decided to free Dorado to give him a chance of escape. It wasn't fair that we should both die in that hell.
"I thought I was lost forever—the noise and the heat were terrifying—but I had to give Dorado the chance of escape. So I unclipped his lead, ruffled his head, gave him a nudge and ordered Dorado to go."
He felt himself alone for several minutes, but then he felt a familiar fuzzy nudge beside him.
Mr. Rivera explains, "He returned to my side a few minutes later and guided me down 70 flights and out into the street, it was amazing. It was then I knew for certain he loved me just as much as I loved him. He was prepared to die in the hope he might save my life."
A co-worker took his arm. With her on his right side and Dorado on his left, they worked their way down the stairs. It took an hour to descend the 70 floors.
Not long after they reached the safety of the ground, the tower collapsed.
Says Mr. Rivera, "I owe my life to Dorado—my companion and best friend."
Roselle, a Labrador Retriever guide dog who led her owner Michael Hingson from the 78th floor and away from the collapsing buildings, is retiring.
She will spend her life as a pet in the Hingson home in California and as a goodwill ambassador at Guide Dogs for the Blind where she was trained.
Roselle had led Hingson through the noise, smoke and rubble of the office to descend the stairway. Once on ground level in the middle of the human panic Roselle remained focused as they continued walking away from the chaos.
When they were about two blocks away, Tower 2 began to collapse. To escape the ash and debris, they started running for the subway. Roselle eventually guided Michael to the home of a friend in mid-Manhattan where they stayed until the trains were running again. They were finally able to arrive home in New Jersey after seven that night.
Source: Guide Dogs of the Desert