NEW YORK - A blind man and hisguide dog were struck by a subway train in Manhattan on Tuesday after the manlost consciousness and they tumbled on to the tracks, but both escaped withoutserious injury.
Cecil Williams, 61, toldThe Associated Press from his hospital bed that he was on his way to thedentist during the morning rush hour when he felt faint on the 125th Streetplatform. His guide dog, a black Labrador named Orlando, is trained to protecthim from going over the edge.
"He tried to hold me up,"Williams said.
Witnesses said the dog was barkingfrantically and tried to stop Williams from falling, but they both fell to thetracks when Williams fainted.
The train's motorman slowed the subwaycars while witnesses called for help. Williams and Orlando were struck, but notbadly hurt.
"The dog saved my life,"Williams said, his voice breaking at times. He also was astonished by the helpfrom emergency crews and bystanders on the platform.
As Williams regained consciousness, heheard someone telling him to be still. Emergency workers put him on a stretcherand pulled him from the subway, and made sure the dog was not badly injured.
"I'm feeling amazed,"Williams said. "I feel that God, the powers that be, have something instore from me. They didn't take me away this time. I'm here for a reason."
Williams was taken to a hospital wherehe is expected to recover, with Orlando at his bedside. Williams, a largebandage on his head, said he is not sure why he lost consciousness, but he ison insulin and other medications.
Orlando, who Williams described asserious but laid-back, was at the hospital making new friends. He will berewarded with some type of special treat, Williams said, along with plenty ofaffection and scratches behind the ears.
"(He) gets me around and saves mylife on a daily basis," Williams said.
Williams, of Brooklyn, has been blindsince 1995, and Orlando is his second dog. The lab will be 11 on Jan. 5, andwill be retiring soon, Williams said. His health insurance will not cover thecost of a non-working dog, so he will be looking for a good home for him.
If he had the money, Williams said, "I would definitely keep him."
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