A story that everyone thought would end in heartbreak took a very joyous twist on Tuesday.
A blind Labrador retriever named Sage wandered away from her home in Boulder Creek on Friday, February 24th and walked into the dense wilderness that surrounds her home.
For 8 days after her disappearance, the owners worried endlessly and even hired a rescue dog team to help search for the dog. The family tried everything in their power to locate the lost pup.
Eight days after Sage's disappearance, their neighbor, Daniel Estrada and his friend Vincent Lopez were out on a hike when they found the dog. Admittedly they weren't looking for the dog but within a few minutes of trekking through the forest they spotted a white object in a nearby stream.
At first Estrada thought it was a trash bag floating in the water and as they approached, Estrada said "It's Sage!"
Immediately filled with sadness Estrada assumed she would have drowned. As Estrada's friend approached the stream he spotted sage lift her head.
"Dude, she's alive" Lopez yelled.
"At that moment, sadness was gone," Estrada said. "I ran over to her. I was hugging her and giving her kisses."
Too exhausted to walk, Estrada immediately jumped in firefighter mode and hoisted the pup onto his shoulders where he lugged her roughly 100 yards through the stream and another 100 yards up a heavily wooded hill.
Estrada returned the pup back to her overjoyed owners.
"It was so much joy," Estrada said. "There was no words to explain it. Everyone in the community was overwhelmed with joy."
The family offered Estrada a $1,000 reward, but declined the offer and insisted that the money be donated to an animal welfare group instead.
"I thought the money would be better for a charitable cause," Estrada said.
Sage's determination to survive also inspired the Boulder Creek and surrounding neighborhoods to live by three important lessons, according to Estrada.
"Don't give up," he said. "Help is on the way. Love never fails."