Put the kettle on for some Celestial Seasonings tea and cozy up with this heartwarming bit of news: Cecil Williams, the blind man who survived being run over by a subway train in Harlem yesterday, will be able to keep his heroic dog Orlando. From his hospital bed last night Williams had told the AP that he'd have to put Orlando up for adoption next month because the guide dog was retiring due to old age. Williams said he wished he could keep Orlando as a pet, but he couldn't afford it. Enter the Magical Feel-Good Internet.
As of 5:15 p.m., two different fundraisers have racked up over $75,000 to keep Orlando in Kibbles 'n Edible Gold Leaf Bits. And Indiegogo fundraiser has racked up over $50,000; the fundraiser was started by a law school student who has promised to give all the money to Williams. Meanwhile, DC resident Mark Jacobson, who says he's a Senior Fellow at The German Marshall Fund of the United States, raised $27,919.00. But he's put a hold on the fundraiser, with this explanation:
Supporters: I am going to close the site to new donations for a bit. I am working with others helping Cecil to determine the best way to get the funds you have all raised to him. We want to do it in a way that does not impact his Social Security Disability and that directly contributes to care for Orlando. As you may have heard on the news an anonymous donor offered some direct support so I want to synchronize that effort as well. I l not will not [sic] move any monies to Guiding Eyes for the Blind (the wonderful folks who trained Orlando, are training his successor, and may end up taking care of Orlando in the end) w/o first posting information about that.
At a press conference at the hospital today, Williams teared up as he told reporters, "In the spirit of giving, Christmas and all that, it exists here. It's in New York... Orlando, he’s my best buddy. He’s my pal. He takes me on the train. He takes me on the buses. He takes me everywhere I need to go. He’s a very gentle, gentleman... For me, I know that angels, miracles, that’s what saved me down on the track."
— New York Post (@nypost) December 18, 2013
The Guiding Eyes for the Blind dog school, which connected Williams with Orlando, has been in touch with Williams about the matter. In a statement on their website, Director of Training Kathy Zubrycki has reached out to Cecil, saying, “Our immediate concern is for the safety and well-being of the team - Cecil and Guiding Eyes Orlando. We have offered our continued support and look forward to working with him as he retires Orlando and begins to work with his new Guiding Eyes dog.”