Michael Hingson, author, inspirational speaker, 9/11 survivor

by | Nov 25, 2020

Michael Hingson—a former high-tech executive, now an author and international public speaker—recounts some of the experiences around the time of his last “Talking Animals” appearance, when he had published the book, “Thunder Dog: The True Story Of A Blind Man, His Guide Dog and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero,” which immediately landed on The New York Best Seller List, later rising to No. 1 on that list. Hingson clarifies an aspect of the central story in that book—a story about working for a company housed in the World Trade Center, and how on 9/11, he and his guide dog Roselle made it safely from the 78th floor: He corrects the error that I and others have made, suggesting it was Roselle who guided Hingson down, when it was actually Hingson who guided them both to safety. This reflects a fundamental, common misunderstanding of the roles guide dogs and their handlers can and should play. Hingson introduces a new coaching program he created, “Blinded by Fear,” noting many people are “blinded by fear because they have experienced a major life change and are so blinded that they can’t see how to decide to move forward. The pandemic is a good example. However, today there are still people who are so fearful from September 11, 2001 that won’t fly. The Blinded by Fear website is here. http://blindedbyfear.net In response to an observation of mine, wondering how he, as a blind man, “saw” things as he was studying physics and becoming skillful enough to earn a Master’s Degree in that discipline, he explains there are numerous ways to approach solving a problem, adding that “eyesight is not the only game in town.” He describes a bit of the process of forging a relationship with his newest guide dog, a black Lab named Alamo—his eighth guide dog—and some of the pluses, minuses, and challenges in working with the previous dogs. He repeats a detail about blind people that had haunted me since our last interview—that they tend to be seriously underemployed, mainly because people don’t hire them for jobs they absolutely are qualified; Hingson placed the employment rate at 65%.  (https://michaelhingson.com, https://www.facebook.com/michael.hingson.author.speaker/)

ALSO: I spoke briefly with Claudia Baeza, a former adjunct college professor and attorney who moved to Florida, opening the Pineapple Yoga + Cycle Studio in Sarasota. Baeza discusses launching Yappy Yoga Sundays With Dharma,” a yoga class you can take accompanied by your dog—it’s offered the last Sunday of every month, and the class takes place outdoors.  The titular Dharma is Baeza’s English bulldog (pictured), who, she says, often plays host at these classes. Baeza outlines some of the post-Yappy Yoga activities that typically happen for the dogs and their humans.(https://pineappleyogastudio.net, https://www.facebook.com/pineappleyogastudio/, https://www.instagram.com/pineappleyogastudio/)


COMEDY CORNER:  Mike Feeney’s “Service Dogs Are A Miracle” (portion) (https://www.mikefeeneycomedy.com)


MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  The Beatles’ “Dig A Pony”


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Otis McGarr
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John Taylor
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