by Amanda Just
Categories: Animals, Causes, People.

Cecil Williams, 61, was waiting for the A Train in NYC with his black Labrador service dog, Orlando, when he fainted. Orlando stood strong beside Williams, who is blind, trying to prevent him from toppling over onto the tracks below. Orlando couldn’t keep Williams upright, though, and the two tumbled to the tracks.

Ana Quinones, one of the witnesses, told The New York Post, “The dog was trying to pull [Williams] away from the southbound edge of the platform, but his feet were on the edge, he was wobbling, and the dog was barking.”

Another witness, Matthew Martin, said, “He went down, and the dog jumped down. He wasn’t pulled. He was kissing him, trying to get him to move.”

Witnesses saw Orlando licking Williams’ face, trying to get him to move. Bystanders said the subway was spotted coming in about a minute after Williams and Orlando hit the tracks. People shouted, trying to get the attention of subway workers. A construction flagger told Williams to get into the center of the tracks, where it was deeper.

This is where the story gets really intense.

Williams and Orlando slid into that deeper, center part of the tracks, and while the subway screeched to a halt, two subway cars still passed over the pair before it could come to a complete stop. Aside from some scrapes and bruises on Williams, the pair survived. Orlando was unscathed.

“He was definitely this man’s best friend. When the train was coming, the dog didn’t move,” said Quinones. “The dog was loyal to his master. He tried to save him. He was trying to pull him away when he was too close to the edge. He risked his own life to save his owner.”

Unfortunately, Orlando is nearing retirement from service work, which means he’ll no longer be with Williams. Williams will get a new service dog and Orlando will be put up for adoption come January. According to the Associated Press, as much as Williams would like to keep Orlando, he can’t afford to take him in himself and insurance won’t cover a non-working dog. One good Samaritan has started an indiegogo campaign to raise money for Williams to adopt Orlando and their special bond will remain unbroken. Hopefully the two can stay together since they’re clearly meant for each other.

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Photo credit: Nightly New with Brian Williams /


About Amanda Just

Amanda Just is a longtime vegan who loves to promote compassionate living in fun, creative ways. As a writer, she has contributed to This Dish Is Veg,, and many other blogs, websites, and newsletters. As an activist, she champions many causes, from veganism and animal rights to environmental protection and human rights. Amanda resides in Tampa Bay, Florida.

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    Animals > People. Always.