Blind man who fell on tracks hopes to keep guide dog

Blind man who fell on tracks hopes to keep guide dog

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Cecil Williams pets his guide dog Orlando in his hospital bed following a fall onto subway tracks from the platform at 145th Street, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013.(AP Photo/John Minchillo) Cecil Williams pets his guide dog Orlando in his hospital bed following a fall onto subway tracks from the platform at 145th Street, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013.(AP Photo/John Minchillo)
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

A blind man who fell onto the subway tracks in Manhattan Tuesday morning said that he hopes he can find a way to keep his guide dog who tried to save him.

Cecil Williams, 61, fell onto the tracks at the the northbound platform at 125 Street on the A/B/C/D line at about 9:30 a.m. He told the AP that he had fainted. His black Labrador retriever fell onto the tracks with him.

A construction flagger at the station saw that Williams had fallen and told him to stay down in the space between the rails and not try to get back up on the platform, the MTA said in a statement.

Williams told the AP that he does remember someone telling him to be still.

Other commuters at the station tried to alert the operator of an oncoming A train, but the driver was not able to stop in time, the MTA said. One and a half cars passed over Williams and his dog, the MTA said. The train did not hit Williams, who suffered minor lacerations, the MTA said. He was listed in stable condition, St. Luke's said.

The dog didn't have any noticeable injuries, the MTA said.

Orlando, described by Williams as serious but laid-back, was making new friends at the hospital. He will be rewarded with some kind of special treat, Williams said, along with plenty of affection and scratches behind the ears.

"(He) gets me around and saves my life on a daily basis," Williams said.

Williams, of Brooklyn, has been blind since 1995, and Orlando is his second dog. The Lab will be 11 on Jan. 5, and will be retiring soon, Williams said. His medical benefits will cover a new guide dog but won't pay for a non-working dog, so he'll be looking for a good home for Orlando.

If he had the money, Williams said, "I would definitely keep him."

In fact, two crowd-funding sites have raised close to $80,000 to help Williams care for Orlando after he gets a new guide dog.

And the Animal Medical Center in New York has announced that Orlando will get free care.

"In recognition of Orlando's loyalty, devotion and valiant efforts to save Mr. Williams, the Animal Medical Center will continue to provide Orlando with free veterinary care after he retires as an actively working Guide Dog," Kathryn Coyne, the center's CEO, said in a statement.

With the AP

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