Roselle the guide dog helped a blind man and 30 people down 78 flights of stairs through smoke and debris on 9/11

She snored loudly, was very good at stealing socks, and almost never stopped wagging her tail. But the most special thing about Roselle, a yellow labrador retriever, is how she made sure that her blind owner made it out safe and sound from one of the deadliest terrorist attacks the world has ever seen.

Roselle was the trusted guide dog of Michael Hingson, a sales manager who used to work on the 78th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. On September 11, 2001, shortly after 8:30 am, Michael was in the conference room with Roselle asleep under the desk, right at her feet.

Suddenly, the hijacked plane crashed into the building, causing the multi-story structure to sway under the impact, according to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

“I heard a tremendous bang and the building began to shake violently, before slowly tilting, tilting over 20 feet,” Michael told Express. “Those inside were convinced that they were on the verge of death. With tears in their eyes, the colleagues said goodbye. I was sure that I was going to die.”

The 110-story building was somehow pushed back into place, but everything else was chaos. Michael, blind and dependent on his guide dog, could hear the screams of people around him as others saw the debris and flames around him.

“While it was all going on, the explosion, the burning debris, the people in the conference room screaming, Roselle sat next to me as calm as ever,” Michael recalled. “She didn’t feel any danger in the smoke and flames, everything going on around us. If she felt danger, she would have acted differently, but she didn’t. Roselle and I were a team and I trusted her.”

Michael remembered everything he remembered from the fire drills and knew that he had to stay away from the elevators. He gave Roselle the order to move forward and they reached the stairs. However, it was a long way from the 78th floor to the ground and time was not on her side as the building was slowly crumbling.

The guide dog was not hindered by the smoke and led Michael, along with the people who began to follow them, up the 1,463 steps. “Roselle kept her cool, even when she was dropping things on top of her, and she guided me through the debris,” Michael said.

Along the way, they saw a couple of wounded and burned victims being lowered. Despite all the reasons to panic, Michael kept his cool so Roselle would stay calm. “By the sixth floor, I needed to get out. My legs were about to give out and I wanted to call my wife, Karen. The descent had taken almost exactly an hour,” he said.

They arrived at the lobby to find firefighters, FBI agents, and survivors everywhere. It was only when they hit the ground that they discovered that Tower 2 was also on fire. Although Roselle was able to get Michael and 30 others out, the danger was not over.

Moments after Michael and Roselle left, she heard a police officer yell at them to move because “she’s coming down.”

“I heard the sound of glass breaking, metal twisting and terrified screams,” Michael recalled. “I will never forget the sound as long as I live. The street felt like a trampoline.”

One of the towers was collapsing in a matter of seconds. “I picked Roselle up, turned 180 degrees and we started running,” Michael said. “No one was helping anyone anymore. We were all running for our lives. Then a monster cloud of sand and gravel engulfed us. It filled my throat and lungs and I was choking, trying to breathe. But we kept running, and Roselle kept leading me perfectly. She didn’t stop once. Roselle and I are a team, and I wasn’t about to let her go.”

As Tower Two collapsed, Roselle once again pulled Michael out of harm’s way. “If I hadn’t had Roselle and had to rely on a cane, I would have been much more vulnerable in the chaos and panic,” Michael said, according to People. “But she was leading me and I was pushing her. It was a real team effort.”

Michael admitted, “I wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for Roselle.”

Seeing how the two worked together showed Michael how “powerful” working together can be. And she also learned “patience and unconditional love” from the Labrador, who passed away in 2011, nearly a decade after she rescued Michael.

After her death, Michael wrote a post on, remembering Roselle as the amazing dog she was. “Roselle has been one of the greatest blessings and gifts that I have had the joy of letting into my life. Surely God broke the mold when she came into the world… Roselle is without a doubt one of a kind. She overcame the most difficult times. history of our nation, and she was there undeterred by all of it. Her spirit never wavered and in fact grew stronger during the years after 9/11, which helps make me a better person today.”