My little red tether is my anchor in running with my friends. A beautiful guide dog has been my tether/anchor in mobility and independence for 17 years: 1. Pantera 2. Cricket, and now my beautiful 3. Georgina (Georgie). A life of family and friends is my joy and anchor in life.

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. CC Scott

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Guide Dog Trio escape car on sidewalk

Following is what I received in an email. Take a moment to read and watch this clip . WOW!

Dear GDB Graduate,

Greetings! I am writing to let you know of a situation that occurred yesterday in downtown San Rafael, that gratefully has a very happy ending. Training Supervisor Todd Jurek, Apprentices Danielle Alvarado and Hanna Belyea, and summer intern/puppy raiser Emily Crisp, narrowly escaped harm when the driver of a car attempting to parallel park jumped the curb and continued to drive along the sidewalk where all four of them, plus O'Neil, a guide dog in training, were at work. Thanks to very quick reaction times and smart thinking, Todd was able to steer O'Neil and Danielle (who was under blindfold) down a side street; Hanna did the same with Emily (pulling them to the safety of an alcove - Hanna and Emily were observing Todd, Danielle and O'Neil at work further down the block near the point of the car's entry). Video was captured of the entire incident from the security cameras from one of the buildings on the block; you can view the footage at this link:; it is also posted to GDB’s Facebook page here:

Video description: There is no sound in the video. It is comprised of three clips: the first showing an overhead view of the sidewalk, with Todd, Danielle and O'Neil entering from the bottom of the frame and walking toward an intersection at the top of the frame. O'Neil glances over his shoulder; Todd quickly does the same. You then see Todd grabbing Danielle and pushing her and O'Neil around the corner, all three of them are running. A split second later, you see a car careening in reverse down the sidewalk, knocking a garbage can along the way and entering the intersection. The second view is taken from around the corner where Todd rushes Danielle and O'Neil to safety. It shows a car parked at a red light, and a perpendicular car moving through the intersection through the green light. Suddenly Todd, Danielle and O'Neil enter the scene on the right hand side of the frame as they round the corner, running, from the sidewalk parallel to the traffic flow. Once again, in a split second after they round the corner to safety, you see the car speed along the sidewalk in reverse behind them, then burst into the intersection narrowly missing the car parked at the red light. The moving car eventually comes to a stop after traversing the entire intersection and slamming into the side of a building on the other side. The third clip is another overhead shot taken from the direction of the intersection. It shows Todd, Danielle and O'Neil walking toward the intersection; they eventually move out of the frame, but you see the car entering the sidewalk at the top of the frame and then careening down toward the intersection, hitting a storefront window along the way. If you look closely, you can see Hanna and Emily rush out of the way at the top of the frame, right at the point where the car enters the sidewalk.

First and foremost, I am so very thankful that this incident has a happy ending. No one was hurt - Todd, Danielle, Hanna, Emily and O'Neil are all safe; the driver and passenger of the car were not injured; no other pedestrians were affected. Certainly those involved were understandably shaken, but calm heads prevailed in this situation. I would like to commend and thank both Todd and Hanna for their heroic actions. It speaks to the professionalism of our instructors that they are always on the lookout and aware of the need for safety at all times when working with our dogs, students and each other. Certainly no amount of training could ever prepare them for what happened yesterday, but their reactions and swift decision-making led to the most positive outcome possible. Also, please know that O'Neil will be thoroughly evaluated to ensure that this incident hasn't negatively affected his ability to continue with guidework; his puppy raisers have been apprised of the situation.

Finally, GDB will be honoring both Todd and Hanna for their actions; we are very proud of their life-saving efforts and hope you are too!


Paul Lopez. President and CEO

Then, there is this story:

These guides, the trainers and all involved are my heroes!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Becky,

Glad that everyone is ok... I heard this story on the news a couple of weeks ago. I found it disheartening that the news reporter would suggest that the guide dog saved this group from getting hit by the car because even though the dog knew something was up, it waws up to the people to work out the situation! Glad nobody got hurt though.