In Boulder Creek, California, a blind Labrador who went missing for 8 days has finally been found alive and has since been reunited with her family.
Sage, a 12-year-old Labrador, went missing from her family’s home in late February. The blind senior Labrador was spending her afternoon in her home’s back garden. Later in the day, Sage’s family thought one of them had already brought her inside. But after one hour, they realized that she was not with them inside. They then went out to the back garden to bring her in, but she was nowhere in sight.
Sage’s heartbroken family searched high and low but there was no sign of her.
“Ten of our neighbours joined our family in the search that lasted until late that night. Then they came back to help for several days after that,” Beth Cole told The Dodo.
Cole added that her family feared that the Lab could have crossed paths with wild animals.
“We have predators in the area, so we thought there was a chance she’d died,” Cole said.
But that fear didn’t stop the family from hoping for the best. They carried on the search and put flyers up in the neighborhood in hopes of finding Sage. They also utilized social media to spread awareness about their missing pooch.
Dan Estrada, the family’s next-door neighbor, was the one who eventually found the missing Lab by accident. Dan was hiking with his two dogs, Barnabas and Köelsch, and his friend Vincent in the forest around his home. Fifteen minutes into the hike, Dan saw something next to a stream at the base of a steep slope. It was not moving. Dan even thought it was a trash bag.
“I was actually frustrated. Nobody wants people dumping trash in the forest. Then I looked closer, and I saw that it was Sage,” Dan told The Dodo.
When he first realized that it was indeed his neighbor’s missing dog, he thought she was dead.
“I just said to myself, ‘Oh no,’ because now we’d have to do body recovery. On top of that, I’d have to tell her family, and be the bearer of bad news,” Dan added.
Dan was climbing down to where Sage is when Vincent called out to him.
“Vincent noticed that Sage picked up her head. He yelled, ‘Dude, she’s alive,’” Dan recalled. “I climbed a lot quicker, jumped into the stream and hustled over to her. I put my arms around her and kissed her and started to pet her. And she was able to hold her head up and wag her tail.”
The Labrador Retriever got even more excited when her doggie friends, Barnabas and Köelsch, came up to meet her. Sage was weak but is fortunately still alive! She could not walk since she was too exhausted so Dan decided to carry her.
“She walked maybe ten steps, but she was moving a little bit slow,” Dan said. “Then she ran into a log. I realised that there was no way she was going to be to walk on her own. So I put the dog on my shoulders, and we made our way back up.”
As soon as they arrived home, Vincent contacted the Labrador’s family to deliver the good news.
“They were crying, they were happy. We were about halfway up the mountain, and I could see that they were all teary-eyed,” Dan said.
During their search, the Cole family had been offering a $1000-reward for anyone who found their beloved family member, but Dan refused to take it. Instead, he asked them to donate the reward instead to an animal rescue organization.
“Our family is so grateful to have Sage home! Our small town has really pulled together around this happy ending made possible by our neighbor Dan,” Beth said.