Roselle and Michael Hingson first met on November 22, 1999 at Guide Dogs for the Blind. Although blind from birth, Hingson earned a Master’s Degree in Physics from the University of California, Irvine and has always competed successfully in a sighted world. Roselle was Hingson’s fifth guide dog and according to him “It was obvious from our very first walk together that we were a perfect match.”
The teamwork that Hingson and Roselle developed would soon however, come to the ultimate test.
On September 11, 2001 Hingson and Roselle were in their office on the 78th floor of Tower One of the World Trade Center in New York City when it was struck by American Airlines flight 11, hijacked and under terrorist control. Working as a team, Roselle led Hingson, along with the others on their floor, down the darkened stairwell to safety moments before the building collapsed.
“I would not be alive today if it weren’t for Roselle,” Hingson states with gratitude.
“Roselle did an incredible job and is a true hero. She remained poised and calm through the entire day, giving kisses and love wherever she could, while working valiantly when she needed to do so,” Hingson says.
In the aftermath of 9/11, in January 2002, Roselle began accompanying Hingson, who left a long career in high tech computer sales to serve as the National Public Affairs Director for Guide Dogs for the Blind, based in San Rafael, California.
On Friday, June 24, 2011 though, Roselle was taken to her vet, who suspected that somehow she had developed a stomach ulcer. As her condition continued to deteriorate, Hingson and Roselle’s doctor came to the painful conclusion that the best thing they could do to help Roselle was to end her suffering.
On Sunday, June 26, 2011 at 8:52 pm, Roselle passed away at 13 years of age.
Hingson, although deeply saddened by her passing, is grateful for his time with her: “Roselle worked with me through the most trying time in our nation’s history, and she was right there unflinching for all of it.”
Hingson has written a soon-to-be released book about his special relationship with Roselle, entitled “Thunder Dog,” Roselle has also inspired the formation of “Roselle’s Dream Foundation,” which serves to educate people about blindness, and to assist blind children and later blind adults to obtain new technologies to empower them to learn, work and engage in life more fully.
Donations can be made in Roselle’s memory at: www.rosellefoundation.org.