Sage, a 12-year-old blind Labrador, disappeared from her home last week, causing her family much distress. They believed they’d brought her into the house with them after spending some time in the yard, but they learned an hour later that they’d left her outdoors by accident.
The family began exploring the region surrounding their property in Boulder Creek, California, in the hopes that she was simply sniffing about. However, they were unable to locate her.
Sage’s mother, Beth Cole, told The Dodo that ten of her neighbors joined her family in the hunt, which lasted until late that night. “After that, they came back to help for a few days.”
The family began to lose hope after five days. The five-day period turned into a six-day period. Then there’s number seven. Then there’s number eight.
Cole explained, “We have predators in the neighborhood, so we felt there was a potential she’d died.”
Despite this, Cole and her family persisted on their quest, distributing fliers across the area, posting on social media, and speaking with all of their neighbors.
Dan Estrada, the Coles’ next-door neighbor, was the one who ultimately tracked down Sage, albeit it was entirely by chance.
Estrada and his buddy Vincent had gone for a leisurely stroll in the woodland around Estrada’s house with Estrada’s two dogs, Barnabas and Köelsch.
Estrada noticed something at a creek at the bottom of a steep slope fifteen minutes into the trek.
“I was genuinely irritated at first because I assumed it was a garbage bag,” Estrada told The Dodo. “Nobody wants rubbish to be dumped in the woods. When I got a closer look, I realized it was Sage.”
These three words altered Estrada’s life, as well as Sage’s.
“I climbed a lot faster, jumped in the stream, and ran over to her,” Estrada explained. “I wrapped my arms around her, kissed her, and began petting her. She could also raise her head and wag her tail.”
Sage then saw Barnabas and Köelsch, both of whom the dog is familiar with.
Estrada remarked, “She walks with those men.” “She raised her head, searching about for them, and she’s pleased.”
“I believe she was happier to see Barnabas and Köelsch than she was to see me,” Estrada said.
Estrada assisted Sage in standing up and attempting to walk. Sage, on the other hand, was weak and weary since she hadn’t eaten in eight days.
“She took maybe 10 steps,” Estrada recalled, “but she was moving a little bit slowly.” “She then collided with a log. There was no way she was going to be able to walk on her own, I realized. So I carried the dog on my shoulders and we climbed back up.”
Estrada’s buddy called Sage’s family to let them know they were coming as they drove back home. Cole and her family were overcome with emotion as they were reunited with Sage.
“They were sobbing and delighted,” Estrada explained. “I could tell they were all teary-eyed by the time we got halfway up the mountain.”
The Cole family had offered a $1,000 prize to anyone who could locate Sage, but Estrada declined. Instead, he requested that the funds be donated to an animal rescue group.
“We are ecstatic to have Sage back in our lives!” Cole remarked. “Our little community has rallied around this joyful conclusion, which our neighbor Dan made possible.”