A guide dog saved the lives of his two trainers when he alerted them to a car speeding backwards down a public sidewalk. The freak accident was caught on video surveillance cameras in San Rafael, California in 2013. Video shows O’Neil, an 18-month-old guide dog in training, with his trainers Todd Jurek and Danielle Alvarado narrowly avoiding being hit by the out-of-control car.
A 93-year-old woman was attempting to parallel park when she lost control of her car and began driving the car in reverse down the sidewalk, smashing a store window and nearly hitting the dog and Todd and Danielle.
“It was just an unbelievable sight to see something going backwards, barreling down the sidewalk,” said Todd, an employee of Guide Dogs for the Blind.
He and Danielle were participating in a training exercise with O’Neil. As part of their training exercise, Danielle was blindfolded and Todd was spotting her and O’Neil. Todd said that O’Neil must have sensed something was wrong because he jerked his head to look behind them. O’Neil’s action caught Todd’s attention and he too looked backward to see the careening car. He was able to push them all to safety just in time.
Thankfully no one was hurt. Todd said he thinks O’Neil heard the car before the store window broke. “You can’t train a dog for such a dramatic incident,” Todd said, but he added both O’Neil and Danielle responded correctly.
San Rafael Police have requested that the driver receive a re-examination to determine if she is qualified to operate a vehicle.
O’Neil underwent an evaluation to ensure he was not traumatized by the accident and he was still able to be placed with someone. Whoever gets O’Neil as a guide dog is getting a true life-saver!