Nightly News   |  December 18, 2013

Outpouring of support helps blind man keep his dog

After spending eight years with his guide dog, Orlando, a scary fall into the New York subway tracks almost cost the both of them their lives. Fortunately, Cecil Williams and his dog both survived – and now, thanks to some generous donations, they will continue to live together. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally tonight a story about two companions and the generosity of good people. we told you about cecil williams , a blind man who fainted on a new york city platform and his companion dog nailed orlando who he credits with saving his life. hundreds of you responded after we went off the air to let cecil keep his kol pan i don't know. he talked about what happens for them next. our story tonight from nbc's stephanie gosk.

>> reporter: in a single jump onto the tracks orlando the black lab proved what some may not yet realize -- a dog can be much more than just a best friend .

>> he's always watching out for me. he's always looking for me. that's his job.

>> reporter: to his blind owner cecil williams , this dog is a lifesaver.

>> when i fell over, i think i was out. i was out on the tracks and the train came.

>> reporter: when williams stumbled off a new york city subway platform, orlando , his seeing eye dog , jumped in after him, rousing the 61-year-old just in time.

>> he was licking my face. he was there for me.

>> reporter: the two managed to wedge into a safe gap in the tracks. as subway cars barrelled down on top of them.

>> i ran up to the first and second car. i looked down and saw mr. williams . i couldn't believe what i saw.

>> reporter: williams was slightly banged up but he still needed help. orlando has worked as his seeing kw eye dog for eight years.

>> it's time for him to retire. he's 77 years old. he's got gray hair.

>> reporter: unable to pay for a pet williams thought he would have the to say good-bye. but donations poured into guiding eyes for the blind which offered to pay for orlando 's expenses.

>> we should take our hat off to them. there are good people in this world.

>> reporter: good people who understand good dogs. orlando may be one of the best. stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york.