Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Book Review: Thunder Dog by Michael Hingson with Susy Flory/4 Stars
A blind man and his guide dog show the power of trust and courage in the midst of devastating terror.
It was 12:30 a.m. on 9/11 and Roselle whimpered at Michael's bedside. A thunderstorm was headed east, and she could sense the distant rumbles while her owners slept. As a trained guide dog, when she was "on the clock" nothing could faze her. But that morning, without her harness, she was free to be scared, and she nudged Michael's hand with her wet nose as it draped over the bedside toward the floor. She needed him to wake up.
With a busy day of meetings and an important presentation ahead, Michael slumped out of bed, headed to his home office, and started chipping away at his daunting workload. Roselle, shivering, took her normal spot at his feet and rode out the storm while he typed. By all indications it was going to be a normal day. A busy day, but normal nonetheless. Until they went into the office.
In Thunder Dog, follow Michael and his guide dog, Roselle, as their lives are changed forever by two explosions and 1,463 stairs. When the first plane struck Tower One, an enormous boom, frightening sounds, and muffled voices swept through Michael's office while shards of glass and burning scraps of paper fell outside the windows.
But in this harrowing story of trust and courage, discover how blindness and a bond between dog and man saved lives and brought hope during one of America's darkest days.
Thunder Dog has to be one of the most inspiring books I have read in a very long time. Stories of hope, triumph, and perseverance are ones I'm easily drawn to, and to have one that ties in a lovable canine makes those stories that much more special.
Honestly, I didn't know what to expect before starting this book. My initial thought was, "How can this whole book be about that one day? Won't that be totally depressing?" Well, it wasn't. I learned so much from Mike in regards to blindness, how blind people are perceived in society, and how most of them really can get along just fine, thank you very much. :o) I also learned a great deal about guide dogs, including their early training and daily routines. It was surprising to read that only 50% of dogs chosen to become guide dogs don't even make it through the training. That alone makes dogs like Roselle all the more special.
I fell in love with Roselle and her fearless devotion to Mike. Their loyalty to one another during one of the most horrific days in our nation's history was simply amazing to read. Just when I thought she might buckle under the pressures of that day, she proved me wrong every single time. She led Mike down some 1,400 steps to safety before their tower fell.
Yes, this story had a tragic backdrop, but was also a great story of hope. Now that I've read it, I feel motivated and inspired. The simple message from this book was that our limitations do not have to define us. If it had not been for Mike's parents pushing him to explore from an early age, there's no telling how his life may have turned out. Instead, he persevered through the hard times, and has gone to lead a very successful life.
I hope you'll take the time to read this encouraging story. You will be so glad that you did.
**Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.