Off-duty firefighter, Dan Estrada was hiking in the woods with a friend near Boulder Creek, California when he spotted something laying in the stream.
His vision wasn't very sharp, so at first he thought it was a pile of trash. But, when he stepped closer, he realized that it was actually a white lab laying lifeless in the stream.
"When we saw she was alive, I jumped in the stream and hugged her," he tells the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
Sage had disappeared from her family home on February 24 and was missing for over a week before fate brought the firefighter to her side.
Her family, the Coles had searched for days. They enlisted the help of their community and neighbors, but as days turned into nights, they began to fear the worst.
Beth Cole told the Santa Cruz Sentinal that the 12-year-old pup had lost her eyesight to glaucoma. In addition to dropping temperatures at night and her blindness, Beth had heard that there were reports of mountain lions in the area.
After days of not finding Sage, she feared the worst.
Since Sage didn't have the strength to lift herself up, Estrada, hoisted the exhausted dog over his shoulders and carried her out of the steep, densely forested canyon.
“My wife and kids were waiting for us at the top,” said Estrada. “Everyone was crying.”
The entire community was touched by Sage's happy return. Cole says they've received an "amazing" amount of support - people have been bringing snacks and a neighbor even cooked her a steak!
If you'd like to contribute to more happy endings for dogs like Sage, visit the Santa Cruz Humane Society.