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Cecil Williams

UPDATE: An Indiegogo crowdfunding project has been launched to help raise money so Williams can keep Orlando. Find out more and donate.

Cecil Williams (pictured), who is blind, and his guide dog, Orlando (pictured), both survived being run over by a New York City subway train when they fell on to the tracks on Tuesday. Now Williams is facing having to give up the beloved pet who saved his life because the dog is nearing retirement and his insurance company will no longer cover him, according to Fox News.

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Orlando turns age 11 on January 5, 2014, so retirement is just around the corner for him. Williams states that his insurance company will provide him with a new guide dog but won’t pay for a non-working one, so he will be looking to place his buddy in another home.

The Harlem resident was on a Manhattan subway platform on Tuesday morning just past rush hour when he felt dizzy. In spite of his black Labrador’s assistance, Williams wound up tumbling on to the subway tracks. According to witnesses, when Williams fell, Orlando jumped down on to the tracks as well and tried desperately to lick all around his owner’s face as if to revive him.

A few subway riders reportedly went to alert MTA workers, but when Williams did awaken, it was too late; a subway train was quickly approaching. A construction flagger working at the station told Williams to stay in a trough in the middle of the tracks. Sixty seconds after the worker had given the 60-year-old the command, a subway train pulled in to the station.

Witnesses say that the motorman tried slamming on the brakes but a subway car had already run over Williams and Orlando.

Miraculously, neither the dog nor his owner sustained any serious injury. “The dog saved my life,” Williams told the Associated Press from his N.Y.C. hospital bed, where he was taken for treatment. “I’m feeling amazed. I feel that God, the powers that be, having something in store from me. They didn’t take me away this time. I’m here for a reason.”

Transit police were summoned to the chaotic scene and pulled Orlando out first. Williams was then carefully extracted from the train incorporating a backboard and placing a neck brace on him as a precaution.

Williams, who lost his sight back in 1995 after a bout with meningitis,  just received a cut to the head but is otherwise in good condition.  As to why he fainted is still a mystery. Williams did say that he takes insulin and other medications, though.

As far as his beloved companion Orlando, unfortunately Williams cannot afford to keep the dog without the insurance benefits.  Williams told Fox News, “If I had the money, I would definitely keep him.”

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