California firefighter Dan Estrada wasn’t on a rescue mission when he saved the life of a lost and blind dog.
He was just taking a walk through the redwood forest with his old friend, Vincent Lopez. The walk was conveniently located behind his residence in the San Lorenzo Valley.
Estrada has two dogs. Together, he and Lopez walked them through the woods.
Eventually, they made their way to a stream – and that’s where things took a dramatic twist.
Estrada saw something that he at first mistook for a bag of garbage. When he got closer, he saw that it was a dog. The dog wasn’t moving.
The dog was 12-year old Sage, a blind Labrador who had gone missing more than a week earlier. That day in late February, she’d wandered away from her house and had never returned.
Sage’s family searched desperately for her, put up signs, and even called a professional dog tracker. The whole neighborhood was on high alert for the missing pup, but nobody could find her.
Sage’s family feared the worst – this area of California is well-known for its mountain lion population.
On this fated afternoon, Estrada immediately recognized Sage when he saw her; he lived near her owners, and his dogs played with Sage often. She lifted her head, and Estrada ran up to her and kissed her.
Sage was noticeably exhausted and weakened from what she had endured in the woods all alone that week. Estrada lifted her up on his shoulders and carried her through the forest.
Upon arriving at home, Estrada’s wife promptly called Sage’s owners, and they rushed him to the vet. By some miracle, Sage was in good health.
The neighborhood rejoiced upon Sage’s safe return. One local resident even cooked a steak for the pup! Neighbors held a welcome home party, and even planned a fundraiser for the Santa Cruz County animal shelter to celebrate and pay the rescue forward.
Sage’s family offered Estrada a $1,000 reward for his heroic deed, but he actually refused it, and suggested that they give the money to an animal rescue organization instead. What an incredible guy!
But, incredible just seems to be in Estrada’s nature. He has been inundated with phone calls and messages from people praising his life-saving deed, but his kids are a little confused. Why? Because they have seen him rescuing people (and other animals) in his firefighter role their whole lives.
Estrada has been a firefighter for almost 20 years. About 6 years ago, he rescued another dog, who was trapped in a closet in a house filled with smoke.
Estrada encourages people to perform good acts wherever they can. He says it’s all too easy to get caught up in life, and to miss the chance to be a blessing in your community.
In fact, Estrada practices what he preaches. He and Lopez recently went out for their friend’s bachelor party. While out and about, they came across two men with a flat tire and no way to fix it. They of course stopped and helped.
As for Sage, she is back to her happy normal life, thanks to Estrada. She can actually be found hanging out with her two best friends quite often– Estrada’s two rescue pups, Koelsch (a pit bull) and Barnabus (a dachshund).