Thunder Dog by Michael Hingson with Susy Flory (Thomas Nelson, 2011) is the true story of a blind man, his guide dog and their victory at Ground Zero on 9/11. It is also the heartwarming story of a special relationship between Michael and his dog, Roselle. This a great read for teens as well as adults. It is not recommended for children as there are some realistic descriptions of the events of 9/11 that a child might find frightening.

The story is a fascinating page-turner that you will not be able to put down. Michael Hingson and his wife Karen are inspiring. Michael was never taught that he had a handicap, therefore he accomplished many things others would find out of the question. He learned to ride a bike when he was young. He once flew an airplane and drove a car.

Michael developed a special relationship with his guide dog, Roselle. In the early morning hours of 9/11 Michael rose  to comfort Roselle, who had awakened fearfully with the sound of a thunder storm. He spent several hours with her before returning to bed. Roselle, for her part, always took her job with Michael very seriously and when she was escorting him somewhere, she was all business, no matter what. She proved that on 9/11

At that time Michael was working on the 78th floor of the North Tower, also known as Tower 1. He arrived that morning looking forward to his sales presentation with his business partner David. Roselle was with him as usual. After Michael spent some time preparing for the day’s presentation, he heard a boom equal to a small earthquake. A plane had crashed through the building. The impact unleashed a cloud of jet fuel, creating a fireball of close to 2,000 degrees.

After the initial shock, Michael, David and Roselle headed for the stairs. Roselle went into her work mode, confidently leading Michael, David and dozens of others down the 78 flights of stairs. Michael kept concentrating on the word, “Forward,” his order to Roselle to lead him. As anyone can imagine, it was overwhelming and frightening to think of what might happen, yet he tried to stay focused for the sake of everyone. They took one floor at a time.

An hour after the initial hit, the survivors made it safely out of the building and then, they continued to be led safely out of the area. The phones would not work, so Michael was not able to call his wife right away. Later he found out that she and many prayer warriors had been praying.

Thunder Dog is guaranteed to motivate and inspire you. What was going through my mind much of the time is this thought, “If Michael can accomplish this and show this kind of bravery in his time of need, then so can I.” I want to continue going forward in my life each and every day.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many job titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for 32 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.” 

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