Forty-two-year-old firefighter Dan Estrada, his buddy Vincent Lopez, and the former’s two dogs were exploring a redwood forest in California’s San Lorenzo Valley when they made an unexpected discovery.
While on the path to a stream, the group saw Sage, a blind 12-year-old Labrador, who had gone missing eight days earlier. Estrada knew Sage quite well.
Sage was a neighbor’s dog and a playmate of Estrada’s pets.
Upon seeing Sage, Estrada ran to her and kissed her. He then carried her on her shoulders up the hill. According to Estrada, Sage looked tired and weak from being alone in the woods for eight days.
Estrada said Sage’s survival was a “miracle” since the area is home to mountain lions.
Sage’s family had put up signs, searched the neighborhood, and hired a professional dog tracker but had no luck finding her.
In an interview with The Mercury News, Beth Cole, Sage’s owner, said:
“Our neighbors and other members of the community helped us search day and night for a week. We looked everywhere.”
Estrada’s wife contacted Sage’s family, and they quickly took the rescued dog to the vet. In yet another miraculous moment, Sage turned out to be in good shape even after her ordeal.
The miracle dog was given a warm welcome by the community. A neighbor cooked her a steak, and a welcome home party and fundraiser for the Santa Cruz County animal shelter has been scheduled.
Estrada, a father, firefighter, paramedic, and local hero, is no stranger to good deeds.
In his line of work, he has rescued a number of people and animals. Six years ago, he bravely saved a dog, who was trapped in a closet in a burning house.
So it’s no surprise that saving Sage and turning down her family’s $1,000 reward offer came naturally to him. Estrada even suggested that the reward money be donated to an animal charity instead.
He told TODAY:
“It’s too easy to be caught up in daily life. Too easy to miss the opportunity to be a blessing in your community.”
Just last weekend, Estrada and Lopez were again hanging out when they encountered two men stranded because of a flat tire. Of course, Estrada and Lopez stopped to help.
Indeed, there is still hope for humanity.
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