NEW YORK (AP) — Enough donations have been raised to allow a blind man to keep the aging guide dog that went onto the subway tracks with him when the man lost consciousness and fell from a station platform, officials say.
"The spirit of giving, Christmas ... exists in New York," a tearful Cecil Williams said Wednesday, calling the outpouring of money and good will a "miracle."
"It's a time to rejoice," Williams said.
Michelle Brier, a spokeswoman for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, which provides working dogs for free but cannot cover retired dogs' expenses, said Thursday that "as of right now," Williams plans to keep Orlando as a pet after Orlando retires and Williams gets a new working dog early next year.
Brier added that "it's an emotional time" and the organization will support whatever path he ultimately takes. The family that raised Orlando has said it would be thrilled to take in Orlando if Williams is unable to care for two dogs.
"I'm not a crybaby or nothing. But my eyes are misty and I'm tearing right now because things like this here don't happen for everybody," Williams said at the hospital. "They should happen. We should care about one another. We should do for one another. But it's not always that way."
Williams expressed gratitude to all of the people involved in his rescue and those who donated money to help him keep his "best buddy."