An alert guide dog saved a California man and woman on Monday from an out-of-control vehicle swerving backward down a public sidewalk at high speed.
Todd Jurek and Danielle Alvarado are both employees of Guide Dogs for the Blind, a company that trains service dogs to assist visually impaired individuals. They were taking a O’Neil, an 18-month-old Labrador retriever, out for a training walk in San Rafael, Calif., on Monday morning when the near-death experience occurred.
The San Jose Mercury News reports that a 93-year-old woman was reportedly trying to parallel park her vehicle when she lost control and began driving the car in reverse, smashing a store window.
"It was just an unbelievable sight to see something going backwards, barreling down the sidewalk," Jurek told the paper.
Jurek and Alvarado, who was blindfolded as part of the exercise, did not see the car barreling down the sidewalk behind them. But O’Neil sensed something was going on and jerked his head backward. The motion caught Jurek’s attention who then also looked backward just in time to see the car.
The entire incident was captured on a security camera from a local business.
"He probably heard the commotion before the window popped," Jurek said of O’Neil’s timely response.
Amazingly, no one was hurt in the incident, including the driver, who reportedly hit a street bench and stop light before coming to a stop.
Despite everyone walking away unharmed, San Rafael Police Sgt. Raul Aguilar said his department is requesting that the Department of Motor Vehicles conduct a re-examination of the driver to make sure she is qualified to operate a vehicle.
Jurek said O’Neil underwent a series of tests on Tuesday to ensure he was not traumatized by the incident. Guide Dogs for the Blind says it hopes to have the courageous pup placed with an individual sometime in the coming weeks.