“We are very happy that a near tragedy was averted when both Cecil and Orlando survived the fall onto the tracks of the oncoming A train,” Livermore said in the email.
In a follow-up phone interview on Thursday, Livermore said that he learned about Orlando’s heroics from relatives. “Some family members called and said ‘wasn’t your dog named Orlando?’ So we went to the NBC news site and that was him.
“We’re very proud of both of them, Cecil and Orlando,” he continued. “Cecil lives way out in Brooklyn and he manages to get around the city and do his work with the help of Orlando. They have built a wonderful life together. Orlando, he was just born for this job.”
Livermore said his family got Orlando from Guiding Eyes when the dog was two months old, and had him nearly two years. While multiple news organizations have said the dog is 11 years old, Livermore said that figure is wrong; Orlando is nine.
While in Cooperstown, Orlando often went out to local events, including Harvest Festival, Candlelight Evening at the Farmers’ Museum, Main Street parades and the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction.
“It was sometimes a bit of a challenge training him in Cooperstown,” Livermore said. “We tried to take him out wherever we could to get him used to people. We would take him to The Farmers’ Museum. I used to work there, although I don’t anymore. We would take him to parades and the induction. Sometimes we would take him on buses, just to get him used to it.”
“Basically, you are just training him to get used to people and to be in an urban environment,” he said.
The Livermores trained another puppy after Orlando, a lab named Nevis. Nevis also left to be a guide dog, but didn’t do as well as Orlando. He retired from service early and was offered to the Livermores, who were happy to have him back.