Dan Estrada’s work as a firefighter can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Hence, when his friend Vincent Lopez came to visit him, the two decided to relax by taking a hike through a tranquil forest near Dan’s home in California.

As Vincent, Dan, and his two dogs Barnabas and Köelsch neared a stream, the firefighter spotted something that looked like a garbage bag. But upon closer inspection, he saw that it was actually his neighbors’ blind Labrador, Sage.

Sage, who was 12 years old at the time, went missing eight days before Dan’s hike after being accidentally left outside. The canine’s family looked around the area for her with the help of friends, and they even hired a professional dog tracker.

The family also distributed flyers and posted about the Labrador on social media. However, nobody could find any trace of her.

As the days turned into a week, the family started to lose hope. After all, mountain lions and other predators roamed the area, so it wasn’t unlikely that a few of them had gotten to Sage.

At first, Dan assumed the worst, too. He’d found the Labrador, but her body was utterly still. The firefighter was afraid of having to break such terrible news to Sage’s family.

But as he descended the slope to reach the pooch, Vincent called out to say that Sage was alive. He’d seen her lift her head after hearing or smelling them.

As soon as Dan got close enough, he hugged, kissed, and petted the canine. She was weak and dehydrated, but she managed to wag her tail.

And when Sage sniffed out Barnabas and Köelsch, she seemed even happier. The Lab knew Dan’s dogs well; the three of them often played together.

Dan and Vincent immediately contacted Sage’s fur mom Beth Cole and the rest of her family to tell them that their dog was safe. The good news spread like wildfire; Dan was only halfway out of the forest when people rushed to meet him.

The entire neighborhood celebrated Sage’s return. One family gave her a big, juicy steak, while the local bar hosted a party for the pooch that doubled as a fundraiser for an animal shelter.

The Coles offered Dan a thousand dollars for finding the Lab, but he graciously declined. Instead, he asked them to donate the money to a rescue that could put the money to better use. Watch Sage’s story in the video below:

Source: TODAY on YouTube

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