In the Santa Cruz Mountains, a blind, 12-year-old Labrador retriever missing for more than a week was found thanks to a lot of luck and a lot of help from friends and social media. What a story Sage, the dog who lost her vision to glaucoma and had been mistakenly left outside alone, would live to tell her “grand dogs.”
When Sage, a 12-year-old blind Labrador, went missing from her home last week, her family was distraught. They thought they’d brought her into the house with them after they’d spent some time out in the yard but realized about an hour later that they’d accidentally left her outside. The family immediately started searching around their home in Boulder Creek, California – they hoped that she was just sniffing around the area. But they couldn’t find her.
It wasn’t long before her story appeared on social media, and the thought of any dog being missing in the dangerous terrain and thick woods of Santa Cruz was frightening enough, but Sage was blind too!
” It was terrible. We were so sad and also simply feeling so bad that she was around,” Berth stated.” We had numerous people assisting with the search. We had joined, we had it posted almost everywhere. Ten of our neighbors joined our family in the search that lasted until late that night,” Beth Cole, Sage’s mother, told. “Then they came back to help for several days after that.”
After five days, the family started to lose hope. Five days turned into six. Then seven. Then eight.
“We have predators in the area, so we thought there was a chance she’d d.i.e.d,” Cole said.
Luckily, a neighbor, Dan Estrada hiking in the woods eight days later, spotted Sage in a shallow stream. At first, he thought he had seen a trash bag in the water, but when he looked closer, he gasped for breath realizing it was the dog and hoping she was still alive.
“At first I thought it was a trash bag, so I was actually frustrated,” Estrada told. “Nobody wants people dumping trash in the forest. Then I looked closer, and I saw that it was Sage.”
Estrada’s heart sank – Sage was tucked inside a small cove right next to the stream, and she wasn’t moving. “I just said to myself, ‘Oh no,’ because now we’d have to do body recovery,” Estrada said. “On top of that, I’d have to tell her family, and be the bearer of bad news.”
Estrada ran to her, and as soon as she heard him, the dog lifted up her head as her rescuer wrapped his arms around her. Most likely the cool water from the creek had saved her life.
As Estrada carefully descended the slope, his friend called out to him. “Vincent noticed that Sage picked up her head,” Estrada said. “He yelled, ‘Dude, she’s alive.’ He picked her up and carried her 100 yards up a canyon to safety.
“They were crying, they were happy,” Estrada said. “We were about halfway up the mountain, and I could see that they were all teary-eyed.” That awesome!