Roselle – A Sad Day

 In Human-Animal Bond, Newsletters

It is strange for me to be writing this article while I have feelings of both sadness and joy in my heart.  Nevertheless, it is something which must be done.

Michael and Rosell

I have the solemn obligation to inform you that my hero guide dog, Roselle, who was with me in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, passed away last evening, Sunday, June 26, 2011 at 8:52 PM.  I am sad, of course, because I will miss Roselle so very much, more than any of my other guide dogs.  I write with joy because Roselle is in a better place, no longer feeling pain, while I get to have so many fond memories of her.

Roselle was born on March 12, 1998 at Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California.  I heard right from the start that she was quite a mischievous little puppy.  She went to Santa Barbara, California to be raised by several puppy raising families.  Kay and Ted Stern had the joy and pleasure of spending the longest amount of raiser time with her.  Kay and Ted introduced her to airplane flying, New York, snow, and even the theater.  I must say that I think the culture did rub off on her.

After her time with puppy raisers she went back to Guide Dogs for the Blind for training.  I think I first met her on November 22, 1999.  It was obvious from the very beginning that we were a perfect match.  Roselle was my fifth guide dog.  I could tell that she would be an excellent guide from our very first walk together.  What took me a few days to discover was that Roselle was also quite a character; I constantly referred to her as a pixie.  Almost from the first night we spent together I found that Roselle was great at stealing socks.  She didn’t chew them up; she just carried them around and then hid them somewhere only to bring them out later just to taunt me.  She was always willing to give them up undamaged and ready-to-wear although a little bit damp.  Her tail wagged through the whole experience.  In fact, her tail hardly stop wagging during the almost 12 years I knew her.  During my first week with Roselle I also discovered that she was a loud snorer.  The Stearns told me later that she could snore with the best of them.

We came home to New Jersey on December 2, 1999.  Later that evening she met my retired guide, Linnie.  Linnie and Roselle seemed a bit uncomfortable with each other that night and into the middle of the next day.  I decided that this awkwardness had gone on long enough and brought out a rope tug bone.  I made each of them take an end and I grabbed the middle of the rope.  They started off by teaming up and tugging against me.  After about 20 seconds of this with mouths inching up toward my fingers from both sides I release the bone and let them go at it alone.  From that moment on they were inseparable until Linnie died on July 4, 2002.

On September 11, 2001 Roselle and I were in our office on the 78th floor of Tower One of the

Roselle – Hero

World Trade Center when the tower was struck by American Airlines flight 11 which had been hijacked and was being controlled by terrorists.  Our escape from that tower as well as the collapse of Tower Two is well known and, in fact, is the subject of Thunder Dog, a book written by me and Susy Flory, which will be in bookstores soon as well as be available on my website.  All I want to say here is that Roselle did an incredible job.  She remained poised and calm through the entire day.  She gave kisses and love wherever she could and she worked when she needed to do so.  I would not be alive today if it weren’t for Roselle.  I cannot say enough about the incredible job she did.  What Roselle did on 9/11 is a testimony not only to the Stern’s and the others who raised her, but also to her trainer, Todd Jurek, the entire GDB training staff, and all the people who make up the wonderful organization of Guide Dogs for the Blind.  Most of all, what Roselle did that day and in fact every day she and I were together is nothing less than the strongest possible evidence I can provide of the value of teamwork and trust.

After 9/11, in fact in mid-January 2002, after Roselle and I had spent countless hours speaking to the media, and at several events including GDB’s Holiday Luncheon, and even riding on a float in the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day, Roselle and I were offered a position at Guide Dogs for the Blind to serve as the National Public Affairs Director for the organization.  Over the next 6 1/2 years Roselle and I traveled hundreds of thousands of miles throughout the United States and the rest of the world speaking about trust and teamwork, guide dogs, and blindness in general in order to help people understand that the real handicap of blindness is not a lack of eyesight but a lack of proper education about blindness.  Roselle took every trip with poise and confidence whether it was to Kansas or Korea.  She was an incredible traveler and once even traveled from San Francisco to New Zealand, a 23.5 hour trip, without needing to go to the bathroom once.  I did not fare so well.

In 2004, Roselle was diagnosed with immune mediated thrombocytopenia, a condition which caused her body to attack her blood platelets.  Through medications we were able to control the disease and Roselle was able to continue guiding.  As usual, she worked like a trooper and never once exhibited pain nor discomfort.

When Linnie died in 2002 Roselle lost her major tug companion.  For the next four years I mainly had to take up the slack as it were.  We did care for some foster dogs from GDB, and in 2003 we adopted Panama, a 12 1/2-year-old career change dog from Guide Dogs.  Panama wasn’t a great tugging partner because she didn’t have the strength to keep up with Roselle.  In 2006, however, when Panama died at the age of 15 we decided to become a breeder keeper for GDB.  Fantasia came to live with us.  She was just two years old and was quite able to give as well as she got from Roselle.  Again, Roselle found an inseparable friend and made the most of it.  She still swiped the occasional pair of socks, but Fantasia was her main interest.  Roselle taught Fantasia how to bark every time the doorbell rang and how to beg for treats, although I must admit treat begging came natural to both dogs especially when 8:00 PM rolled around.

In February 2007 during a normal checkup we learned that some of Roselle’s kidney values were changing for the worse.  It was decided that the medication regimen on which Roselle had been placed as well as the stress of guiding were the causes for her kidney value changes.  Roselle retired from guide work in March of 2007.  It was a sad day for all of us, but Roselle took it in stride and soon made it very clear that retirement suited her well.  After retirement Roselle loved to take walks most of the time, she loved her meals, her treats, playing Battle of the Bone with Fantasia and later with my current guide dog Africa, and of course barking at the ringing of the doorbell.  Roselle was the loudest barker of the bunch.  I have fond memories of Roselle, Fantasia, and Africa all tugging on the same rope, all battling each other across our living room giving no care to whatever was in their way.

In 2010, Roselle began exhibiting some chronic back pain.  In March of 2010, while attending and speaking at the annual convention of the American Animal Hospital Association Roselle met Doctor Robin Downing, an expert in dog pain management.  Robin noticed Roselle’s pain and while I gave three consecutive workshops she spent time with Roselle.  I think they got to know each other pretty well that day because right after the workshops Doctor Downing, right there on the floor in the front of the conference room, gave Roselle a back adjustment which clearly helped Roselle and made her back feel somewhat better.  We immediately upon our return home took Roselle to her vet and started her on a treatment of acupuncture, some other back adjustments, and herbs which altogether mostly eliminated her chronic back pain.

Earlier this year we noticed that Roselle was beginning to have a harder time standing up on her own, although once she was standing she loved to continue her daily walks.  She stopped playing tug bone with Fantasia and Africa, but she still enjoyed lying in the sun, eating, kissing everybody in sight, and barking at the doorbell.  Her ability to stand on her own grew worse throughout the first half of this year.

Last week she began exhibiting some other signs of distress and pain.  On Friday, June 24, 2011 she had to be taken to her vet as she had begun vomiting blood.  It is suspected that somehow she had developed a stomach ulcer.  Also, it was discovered that her red blood cell count had dropped significantly.  Friday evening she was taken to the Pet Emergency and Specialty Center where she was well known and would receive over night care. She had spent many hours with Doctor Harb and the other staff working through her IMT issues.  They had also helped her in January 2009 when she developed gastric torsion and had to undergo emergency surgery to untwist her stomach.

Yesterday, Sunday, June 26, we visited her in the evening only to see her condition continuing to deteriorate.  She was in a lot of pain and discomfort.  There was no one cause for her discomfort, but Doctor Bowie of the PESC felt that some of her immune mediated related conditions had returned in addition to the possible stomach ulcer.  After much consultation and discussion we all came to agreement that the best thing we could do to help Roselle was to assist her in crossing the Rainbow Bridge and go to her friends Linnie and Panama.  At 8:52 last evening she crossed the bridge and, I am sure, is now more comfortable and has all the doorbells she wants to bark at.

Roselle Love

How can I possibly say goodbye to a dog who is done all Roselle has done and who lived life to the fullest?  How can I ever do justice to her life, work, and memory?  Roselle has been one of the greatest blessings and gifts I have ever had the joy to let into my life.  God surely broke the mold when she came into the world.  Including Africa I have had seven guide dogs and also I have had the opportunity to see thousands of them at work.  Roselle is unique without a doubt.  She worked through the most trying time in our nation’s history, and she was right there unflinching for all of it.  Her spirit never diminished and, in fact, grew stronger through the years after 9-11 which helps me be a better person today.

I thank God for the time Karen and I were allowed to have the wonderful creature which was Roselle with us.  She touched everyone whom she met and I’m sure everyone’s path she crossed is better for knowing her.  She kissed firefighters in the World Trade Center as we descended the stairs.  She gave unconditional love to so many people wherever she went.  She inspired us all and will continue to do so.

We are about to form the Roselle’s Dream Foundation.  This has been in the works for several months.  The purposes of the foundation include educating people about blindness, and as donations permit we shall assist blind children and later blind adults in obtaining some of the technologies which will assist them in learning and working in the world.  Shortly the website will be up and running.  I hope people will honor Roselle by making donations in her memory to the Roselle’s Dream Foundation to help us in our work.

Roselle, your memory will always be with us and I know your spirit will continue to touch us all.  I know you’re watching and you’re nearby us.  Help us all to be better people and dogs, but most of all be yourself wherever you are.  I hope you’re feeling better now.  You have set a high bar of love for all of us.  Be at peace and know that we shall try to love each other as much as you loved each of us on this earth.

God bless you all,

Mike Hingson

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Showing 76 comments
  • Heidi Heffelfinger

    Wow, Michael your words are a beautiful tribute to a beautiful dog. I am grateful for the opportunity to have gotten to know both you and Roselle. It was always such a pleasure to see you and Roselle on campus while both were working and while visiting. Roselle was amazing and will continue to always hold a spot in my heart.

    My deepest sympathies to you and Karen.

  • Tracey

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. The hardest part of loving our furry companions is having to say goodbye to them so soon after they steal our hearts.

    Guide Dog Austin sends licky kisses to you all from NZ

  • Barbara

    Picked up your story through the Royal Foundation for the Blind here in New Zealand. Such a wonderful story and an extraordinary lovely dog. May she rest in peace. I have to admit that I did shed a tear while reading this story.

  • tom o'neill

    Michael, so sorry to read of the death of such a special dog. It was our pleasure to meet her in your home in 2005 when we travelled with my guide dog Kola from Ireland to California. Sadly both gone to a better place
    Tom & Breege O’Neill dublin Ireland

  • Noreen Braman

    How well I remember you and Roselle from your many trips to RFB&D functions. She will always be remembered as the epitome of devotion and she sets a high standard for Guide Dogs everywhere. I imagine her photo will be hung in kennels to give puppies inspiration. You have my deepest sympathy on her loss, we know she is in a better place,

  • Keri


    So sorry to hear of your loss.

    I was so amazed by your story of 9/11 when you came to Wilmington, Ohio earlier this year. Thank you for sharing your story then, and your words above.

    As I have met Africa, I know you are in good hands (paws).

    Know you are in my thoughts and prayers.


  • Tracy

    My condolences to you on the lost of your beloved Roselle. I know you will never forget the love and bond you two have shared over the years. Losing an amazing dog is never easy, but what an opportunity you two have had to spread love wherever you have gone!

    RIP Roselle.

  • Chantal

    Dear Michael,

    Today, it’s the first time that I hear about Roselle. I saw videos and read your articles.

    I didn’t stop crying. I mean this is so touching and Roselle was much more than an hero.

    I’m so sad to hear that she passed away but I’m sure that she had a wonderful life with you, now I sure that she is running and having fun with all the other dogs in paradise.

    God bless Roselle.

    Chantal Stedman
    (Geneva, Switzerland)



  • Teresa Horner White

    Hi Michael… It’s me Teresa from Artecon, Linda’s daughter. I am so sorry for your loss!!! I hope you and Karen are well. Take care! Love & Friends!!!!!

  • LH

    So very sorry to hear this sad news. What an extraordinary soul Roselle. I feel privileged having only read of her. May she rest in great peace.
    My sympathy, LH

  • Moira

    Your loving tribute to Roselle brought tears to my eyes. I’m sorry that you have to feel the pain of her passing but that is tempered by the joy she brought into your life. There will be a bright star shining in the heavens tonight as Roselle, along with her best buds Linnie and Panama, wait patiently at the Rainbow bridge for you.

  • Ken Campbell

    I feel very fortunate to have met and been around this wonderful caring dog.
    She is at peace
    My thoughts are with you and Karen

    Ken Campbell

  • Willette Balsamo

    Dear Michael,

    I just finished your book Thunder Dog and found your website. I am saddened to hear of Roselle’s passing but what a joy it was for you to have her in your life! The pictures on your website draw me into those soulful, wise eyes of hers–how beautiful. Your book taught me so much about blindness which I truly appreciate because I am a nurse for Wounded Warriors returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. But, mostly, it gave me such a resolve that I hope I can pass on to my patients whether they are blind or not. Here at Walter Reed we have “Paws for Purple Hearts” and I can assure you that those dogs bring so much to our arsenal to take care of our Warriors! Even though I never physically touched Roselle, she has left her pawprint on my heart through your story. Thank you for sharing all you do. God puts you where he wants you, doesn’t he?
    CPT Willette Balsamo
    Walter Reed Army Medical Center

    • Mike Hingson

      Dear CPT. Balsamo,

      Thank you very much for your email. I do hope Thunder Dog inspires many people both to change their attitudes about blindness as well as how they deal with change.

      I am going to be in the DC area September 21 and 22. If I can help your work while there please let me know. I can be reached at or at (415) 827-4084.

      Have a blessed day.


      Michael Hingson

  • Angi

    I read your book last weekend and absolutely loved it. Thank you for writing it. You’ve made me much more aware of blindness and that anyone can do anything with shear will and determination. I of course fell in love with Roselle. I looked at the Roselle’s Dream Foundation site that is mentioned in the back of the book where I learned that you had lost her this past June. I wanted to extend my sympathies. Forever in our hearts our furry friends. Take care, Angi

  • Sherry Lujan

    Having had to make the decision to assist my almost 4 year old yellow Lab Dakota cross the Rainbow Bridge when she had a serious medical issue, my heart goes out to you at this time. I just downloaded your book onto my iPod and have listened to it several times and have heard something new each time I listen to it as my listening skills are not as keen as yours. You and Roselle are truly an inspiration to every one and with the 10th anniversary fast approaching I hope more people hear and read your story. I only wish that I could have gotten a “Pawgraphed” photo of Roselle before she passed onto her next life.
    Thank you for telling your story.
    Take care, Sherry

  • Peggy

    My husband and I are Baptist missionaries living and working in Chile for the past nearly 30 years. We, like so many other folks living and working abroad, were devastated at the horror of 9-11. We watched the TV and cried. There was so much to cry about. But the story of you and your dear Roselle was one of the few bright spots in the midst of tragedy.

    We had a yellow lab, too. Aspen was our first dog here in Chile, and he was wonderful. We still miss him.

    With the 10-year anniversary of 9-11 coming up this Sunday, i began to wonder if Roselle was still living, so i googled you and discovered that she recently passed on. Today, once again, your story blessed my heart, because I see how much good you and your wonder dog have done for the Guide Dogs for the Blind. God bless you!

  • Sheila

    Every dog story has the same sad ending.
    This story touched my heart.

  • Kay Hopper

    Right after 9/11, I saw the story about you and your wonderful dog who were able to escape the towers – I saw you on Larry King Live and ever since 9/11, when I think about it, I always remember the pictures of you and your dog. Today I just happened to see the opinion piece you had on Fox news. It was such a wonderful story and I was so happy to read it – I logged on tonight and saw that Roselle had passed away. I am so sorry for your loss – they are such wonderful dogs and I am sure you were especially close to her after 9/11. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. God bless you and I look forward to reading your book.

  • Theresa Dodge

    Hi Michael! Long time no see! You and I went to grade school and high school together…we had a mutual friend, Eddie Meeks, way back in the day! Your story of Roselle brought me to tears. What a wonderful companion she must have been! I am so thankful she guided you out of the Tower that fateful day. I am going to pick up your book next week. Just wanted to drop you a note and tell you hello! You take care!
    Theresa (Pridgeon) Dodge

    • Mike Hingson

      Hi Theresa,

      I remember you and Eddie. I hope all is well.

  • Vanessa Allen Schultz

    I was just rereading the account of the WTC that David Frank sent to all of us at Quantum ATL on Sept 13, 2001. I read the account every year to remind me of that day and remember the heroes-Roselle being one of them. I am so sorry to hear of her passing and wish you the best.

  • Catherine Barroll

    Just saw you speaking on the Joy Behar show on the eve (nearly) of the tenth anniversary of 9/11. I remember watching the terrible events of that morning from Vancouver B.C….I was very moved by your story about Roselle and your journey together that day, and Googled your name to find out more. How lucky you both were to have spent your lives together. My very best wishes to you and your family, and my prayers and good thoughts for your beautiful Roselle.

    • Mike Hingson

      Thanks very much. Roselle was just chosen as the Hero Dog of 2011 by the American Humane Association. Please watch the ceremony on November 11 on the Hallmark Channel.

  • Sheryl Gordon

    There can be no doubt that Roselle was one of Guide Dog’s BEST! Her devotion to you Michael, was in a sense her mission in life. How extraordinary she was.

    I was privileged to enjoy the companionship of career-changed Nueva, a black lab whose tail wagged wildly and a dog smile would appear on her face whenever she encountered any living being, whether animal or human. She was a pure joy in my life and when she left after our 7 years together, the loss I felt was extreme. I will never experience again what she and I shared.
    I have supported Guide Dogs for many years and I will always continue to do so. I honored Roselle with that support not long after 9/11 and I will do so again.
    I look forward to reading your book about what the two of you shared.
    Perhaps Roselle and Nueva are running through the limitless green grass on the other side of that Bridge.
    thanks, Michael and may you and Africa spend wonderful times together.

  • Dorene Miller

    I’ve been reading your book with my tenth grade English class, in memory of Sept. 11th, and have the CDs at home so I can share your story with my husband and Nugget, our Golden Retriever. When I went on-line today to pull up a photo of Roselle, I found your letter and read the news of her passing. Roselle is in the hearts of everyone who has heard your story. Even as I sit here in tears over the sadness of feeling your loss, I have comfort in knowing that dog is God spelling backward. I firmly believe that the unconditional love given by Roselle, is the reflection of God’s love for us….that’s why he gave us these beautiful creatures, to guide us and teach us, and to help us be better for knowing them. God bless you and Roselle. May she find socks and tuggies to her hearts content in her heavenly home. She loves you, and knows you love her.

    • Mike Hingson

      Thanks. We miss Roselle, but she is in a better place.

      A famous animal artist, Ron Burns, has painted her portrait. Please visit to order your own print of the picture. %40 of the net proceeds is being donated by Ron to our new foundation, The Roselle’s Dream Foundation,

  • Dana Norton

    I feel honored to have actually met Roselle on a few occasions when I worked at ATL back in 2000-2001. We (the admins in the Irvine office) always got so excited when Mike and Roselle had business there. I remember working at my desk and see a dog go past in my peripheral vision and had to do a double take. Yes, that was a dog in the office. Apparently Mike left her with one of the secretaries while in a meeting (I assume it was a meeting. I don’t really remember). I had to leave my desk and check this out. On her collar was her own ATL ID badge with her picture on it (just like all the other ATL employees). She was so sweet and friendly (a far cry from my dog at the time). The days she came in were the highlights to my day. I never actually met Mike but I made sure to visit Roselle every time she came in. Right after 9/11 some friends who still worked for the company told me what had happened. It warmed my heart and still does picturing this sweet creature doing her job looking out for her man on that day. She was always a hero even before she became famous.

    • Mike Hingson

      Thanks. I have fond memories of my days at ATL in Irvine. Roselle is missed, but she is in a better place now.

  • Ken Johnson

    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend and companion Roselle, I know how atttached you were to her when I met you in Ogden Utah during our Eagle functions. You might remember me sitting next to you at the Eagle State Convention which I attended as a Past President. I am glad you have another companion to be with you. I recently aquired a German Shepherd and its nice to have her around for my retirement years.

    Best Wishes, Ken

  • Diane Saks

    I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your dog Roselle. When I first heard about you and Roselle, it was all too funny. I have a brother Michael and his wife’s name is Roselle.

    • Mike Hingson

      All Roselles should be treated with great respect.

  • Fred Jaramillo

    Mike…you still look the same as you did in High School.over 40 years ago! And you have made the Falcons of Palmdale High School very proud.

    Thanks for being an inspiration and for being an overcomer!
    God Bless.
    Fred Jaramillo PHS Class of ’69
    Teacher, Palmdale School District

  • Tracy

    oh my goodness. i live in new york city. i am only now reading all the personal stories from that day. i dealt with the horror of that day by not dealing with it. my husband’s place of work was 2 blocks away and he was on the corner of Wall and Broadway when the 2nd plane hit. his boss had an emotional break down and the business never re-opened. he lost his job. we were already affected so much, i just couldn’t bring myself to read all the horrible details.
    this is the first time i’ve read about Michael and Roselle. and i believe there was another gentleman named Omar Rivera who was led down 70 flights by his companion, Dorado.
    Amazing. We are so blessed to share the earth with these beautiful animals.
    Thank you for sharing your story, Michael.
    May God bless your dear Roselle and all the animals in the world and in heaven.

  • Carla Stangel

    I am so sorry to hear of Roselle’s passing. I know a little of how you feel, but the bond between dog and his/her human is something beyond the puppy-raiser’s experience. We helped our 12-year-old “career change” golden retriever pass over the Rainbow Bridge July 6, 2011. Still, two months later, I see him out of the corner of my eye. Bangor was our first of three Guide Dog For The Blind puppies that we’ve raised. He had a medical condition where he could not eat dry kibble. After a month in San Rafael, we got the phone call from GDB asking us if we wanted to keep him. YES! We had a WONDERFUL 12 years with him. We travel quite a bit these days, and we are 12 years older, so we are considering puppy-sitting rather than puppy-raising.

    We were traveling most of September, and I checked every airport bookstore for Thunder Dog. I look forward to reading the book.

  • Anett Groch

    Dear Michael, better late than never… After my Labrador Paula died on March 10th (she was also born in March 1998) a friend of mine gave me your book. I wasn´t´able to read it for quite some time. Now I read it, and I am very thankful and touched, that you let us be part of your life, of your story from 9/11 and thanks for all of your explainations about being blind. I feel much more “save” now I know how to react, when I meet somebody who is blind. Just right now I read on your homepage, that Roselle is gone. It makes me cry. I know, that your relationship with her is not to compare, with what realtionship I´ve had with my Paula. But you know what, Paula saved my life too. Every single day she was there for me, she gave my life a stucture, at least one laugh every day.. I could go on like this for hours 🙂 I miss my dog to death, but I am greatfull, for what I had. I think of you and Roselle, and I wish you all the very best for what ever will happen in your future. You are a very encouraging man !
    best wishes from Germany (sorry, for loads of mistakes)

  • Berdine Solomon

    Am still reading the wonderful book THUNDER DOG. and have to write something right away and didn’t want to wait until I finished the book.
    What an amazing person! and amazing dog! Inspiring and I am only on the 77th page.
    I am an animal lover and have had the honor of sharing my life and family with a beautiful soul of a dog who passed away a few years ago –

    would love to write directly to Mr. Hingson !
    Is that possible ?
    I want my 14 yr old son to read this as well. It has OPENED my eyes as a sighted person in a sighted family! God Bless Michael and may god rest Roselle’s soul – sending love and warmth
    Mrs. Berdine Solomon

  • Betty Lessard

    My husband and I had the privilege to hear you speak in Rancho Cucamonga, CA just a day or two before Roselle crossed the Rainbow Bridge. We were thrilled with hearing you speak and immediately bought your book and read it right away. There was laughter and tears throughout the book.

    Last night I watched as Roselle was awarded the Hero Dog award. She so much deserved that award and I cried as you received it for her. She will always be remembered by everyone who heard her story.

    I also personally will always think of her when it thunders. I just got a new puppy, a Mudi, this year and he HATES thunder. It always reminds me of Roselle so she will always be remembered whenever it thunders. When I was trying to calm him during the thunderstorm, I told him about Roselle and he snuggled close to me with a slight whimper and then calmed down. I am sure that some day when he crosses the Rainbow Bridge, he will go looking for Roselle.

    I am going to Roselle’s Foundation to make a donation in her memory.

    Thank you Michael for sharing Roselle’s story with us and for the wonderful work you are doing through your speaking engagements, in educating us “sighted” people in what we need to know. Thank you so much! God Bless you richly!

    Betty Lessard

  • Dianne Willis

    Hi Michael,
    I used to drive you to work when you lived in Vista. You rode with “Life Line” remember?
    I saw you on the float in the Rose Parade, and then the other night on the Hallmark Channel. What an amazing life you had with Roselle! I’m proud to know you and the wonderful work your doing today. I will certainly get the book, Thunder Dog!
    Bless you,
    from a your retired Life Line Driver,

    Dianne Willis

  • Marianne

    I’m so sorry to hear that Roselle passed. I stumbled upon the story of your 9/11 experience around the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and found it to be so touching and amazing. Roselle was such a beautiful, kind and smart dog. I’m sure she had a great life filled with love with you, Karen and the family.

  • Christine Brothers

    Hello Michael.
    I’ve just finished your book “Thunder Dog”. I was enthralled and fascinated by you, your life, and your wonderful friend – Roselle. I decided to look you up and here I find the sad news – she has passed away. My heart is broken for you. It doesn’t seem fair that such intelligent wonderful creatures like dogs live such a short life. (We lost our last lab mix at age 11 to hemangiosarcoma). I can truly appreciate the depth of your sadness after reading your book. I feel as if I know you and Roselle.
    I had a yellow lab that absolutely hated the thunder and always hid in the bathroom behind the toilet! Later on in life she developed diabetes and I administered insulin to her everyday for the 5 more years that she lived, she passed away at age 13. I did notice something interesting about Linda (our yellow lab); after a couple of years of suffering from the diabetes, she went blind and ultimately deaf as well. The terrible, awful thing was I did not realize she was deaf. I knew she could not see, but I did not have a clue that she could not hear either. I would scold her for not coming when called. Then one day the thunder came so loud I expected her to jump out of her skin! But she just lay there on the floor in the kitchen completely oblivious to it. That’s when I realized I had been scolding a deaf animal! How sad and guilty I felt! To this day, I feel just terrible. Anyway – it was a blessing that she did not have to frightened anymore. The next dog I had was a wonderfully intelligent black lab mix. She was just the best friend our family ever had! She would have made a great service dog. Anyway – don’t want to keep you from your other comments and emails – so I’ll leave off telling you about our Lucy till another time.
    Hope you are well and are enjoying the companionship of a new four legged friend.
    A pleasure to meet you via your book. You and Roselle were so brave! God bless you.
    Christine Brothers

  • Sarah Ashe

    Hi Michael,

    I just finished reading Thunder Dog and wanted to thank you, it really opened my eyes to how it must be to be blind. I am currently writing a novel about a thirty year old woman who has been blind from work. If there is any chance you would be willing to speak to me, I would really appreciate your help and your personal experiences to help make my book and my character as special as they can be. If this is too forward I apologise, and thank you for writing your book – it really helped me learn in so many ways


  • Jackie K.

    I just turned to page 79 of the book. Sometimes a story just has to be read…this is one of them.

  • Larry J. Burris

    Karen and I were saddened to hear of Roselle’s passing. I will always remember her exuberance and love the first time we met you at your home in New Jersey, insisting to sit on my lap! She was such a wonderful partner. Much has happened in your life since we last saw one another but we have followed your tremendous accomplishments through your newsletters and emails, thankful that we have had the great pleasure of knowing you and Karen and all of your four-legged partners.

  • Gracie

    I was born on 9/11/01 and I loved reading your article and your book. The story is so sweet.


  • Zed Power


    Sorry about the loss of a beautiful friend.

  • patrick leong

    Hi Mr Michael Hingson, words cant express your loss although it has been a few years on. Still I am sure the memories are as fresh as they are. I write to you this day as a singer/songwriter from Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia who anchored a concert in total darkness for 2 consecutive nights, being just day before and last night (5 & 6 September) in our aim to raise funds to bring in guide dogs to our country. (The process has already been approved as we will be potentially getting 1 guide-dog from China)
    Your story and in fact your picture with Roselle served as an inspiration to the organization SIGHT (Save One Sight Mission headed by brother Steven who is blind and his lovely wife Kaye ) here in Kuala Lumpur for our event. When I was told only last night that Roselle had passed, I grieved. Having read your testimony of her before and now above, I cried with much gratitude that GOD had truly created this magnificent creature, a friend, a helper and a comforter to cross your path.
    Looking at the black & white postcard of both you and Roselle, such pride in her poise, her stance and stature. Truly truly truly remarkable she was.

    Thank you so very much for sharing your story & testimony. It has truly made a difference by serving as a source of inspiration to as far side of the globe where we are.
    If you would like to see the preview promo clip of what we did for our event, do log in to FACEBOOK, and search for Patrick Leong (A blue background and myself smiling wearing a beige coat and white shirt) or simply search on for LIGHT IN THE DARK CONCERT.

    God Bless you and lovely to hear about Africa.

  • Judith Brooke

    Dear Mike,
    I just finished reading your book “Thunder Dog” and just read your obituary for Roselle. She was an incredible dog. I can’t imagine what it was like for her on that tragic 9/11 day. She is a hero. Her memory will stay with me forever. Thank you for introducing her to us.

  • Peyton Nunally

    Hi Michael! I was inspired by your book! It came at a perfect time, since I was supposed to write a three page report on an important time in history, so I picked to do one on service dogs, and your story helped me understand so much more about what they can really aschieve when some people cant do it on their own. I wrote mainly about Roselle and your story, and the amazing things she had done for you, and it really opened my eyes to more than just cute puppy faces and wagging tails and fetching Frisbees and balls in the park. I wrote about your story, and made a video of different stories about guide dogs and service dogs in the public areas. It really inspired me to help with training service dogs, and I did help my friend train hers, and it was an amazing experience for me, as I am only fifteen years old right now, and have so much more amazing things to be able to do and see in the world. “A dog is the only thing in the world that loves you more than you love yourself.” -Josh Billings. This is true for Roselle and yourself Mr.Hingsen.


    Peyton Nunally

  • Michael LaRocca

    I finished reading Thunder Dog yesterday.

  • Susan Leonard

    Mr. Hingson:

    My Daughter’s Best Friend’s Dad is blind. Knowing My LOVE for all animals and involved in Dog Rescue, Laura suggested your book “Thunder Dog” and I bought it a few years ago. I can assure you that You are More Intelligent and Roselle was also than most anyone I know! I am So Thankful that your teamwork saved you both from such a horrible day and beyond. I’ve alway had at least ONE dog fearful of thunder. Have had dogs for 38 years and can’t imagine life without them though it sure is hard when they take a piece of my heart. I wish you and your family the Best and now that my Vet of 17 years is also training Seeing Eye Dogs, I lent her your Book and Extrendinory Story! I am in Dallas, Tx and can’t imagine the honor I would feel hearing you tell your story! Congrats Roselle on your Hero Honor! You and Mike will be together again someday. Love, Susan Leonard. ❤️

  • Jeanne

    What a beautiful tribute to Roselle. I am currently reading Thunder Dog with my book club. I have learned a lot about blindness through your book. Thank you for being so candid. I pray your wife Karen is fully recovered.

  • Riona Workman

    this really speaks to me because I’m almost blind.

  • chanay fayese

    hugs and love sent from me to you- I found your story after a photo and short summary of Michael and Roselle popped up in my social media feed on September 11th 2018. It was the first time I had ever heard of this beautiful story. God bless you this made me tear up- how wonderful – beautiful story may Roselle’s story live on

  • Mike Hingson


  • Susan Leonard

    Dear Mr. Hingson:

    It appears most of your admirers wrote back in 2011. I read your book a year ago in 2015 and was so inspired to lend it to my Veterinarian of 17 years who Also has taken on the Duty of raising a Seeing Eye Dog from puppyhood to 18 months! More than One Now!!! Your reply marked the date of 2011 so I know I am Way Behind in writing you and Expressing the Journey of You and Roselle during such a horrible experience. Please know that writing you comes from my heart and Faith in God! We need more True Heros during our time here on earth and when there are No Explanations to explain God’s work for Man and his Creatures, there is no other word than Miracles! I am honored to have read your book and to know of your daily life with Roselle and her Determination and Love for You on that day and all her days with you and your wife Karen. May God continue to Bless You until you and Roselle meet again !!!! I pray if you ever come to Dallas to speak, that I will hear the announcement and be So Honored to be in Your Presence!!!

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