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Man And 14-Year-Old Dog Survive 6 Days Lost In The Desert

Written by: Molly Weinfurter
Molly Weinfurter is a writer for iHeartDogs, and she’s passionate about helping animals in need. She volunteers for Bailing Out Benji and a local dog rescue.Read more
| Published on July 12, 2022

Mario Castro from Arizona planned to travel to El Paso, Texas, to be with his mom for his birthday. When he entered Las Cruces, New Mexico, he called his mom to let her know he was about an hour and a half away. But sadly, Castro and his 14-year-old dog named Zoe never made it to Texas.

Castro missed his exit, so he took the next road to try to turn around. He ended up on a dirt path, and his car hit a rock and got stuck. Castro and Zoe had no choice but to get out of the vehicle and search for help, but they didn’t have much luck.

Man and dog in bed of truck

Stranded for 6 Days

The human and senior dog were in the middle of nowhere, so they walked for a while, hoping to find someone to help them. They walked through rocky terrain in temperatures reaching over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. They struggled for six days in the extreme heat.

“It was very difficult, and I was almost at the verge of death,” Castro said. “I would get so thirsty, I would become dehydrated, but then I would find a watering hole, and get some water and rehydrate again and then head out again.”

Castro was certain he didn’t have much time left. When he looked at Zoe, her eyes were sunken in, so he knew she couldn’t survive much longer either. The two of them found a spot in the shade of a tree to rest.

Man and dog by white truck

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As a final attempt, Castro began making an SOS sign with fire, but he only got through half the S when a miracle happened. A white truck drove by, so Castro desperately tried to get the driver’s attention.

Stranger Saves Their Lives

A mechanic named Frank Martinez was driving the white truck when he spotted Castro and Zoe. At first, he was hesitant to stop because sometimes, illegal activity happens in the area. But when he saw how much Castro was struggling to follow the truck, he had a feeling he should stop.

“I saw in the mirror he was eating and drinking like if he hadn’t ate or drank in days. So that’s when I knew it was serious, what I’d seen,” Martinez said.

Man and dog walking to hotel

Martinez drove Castro and Zoe to a nearby hotel. Then, Martinez and his wife went back to pick up Castro’s car and help fix it up. Castro is extremely grateful because he and his elderly dog likely would’ve died that day if Martinez hadn’t stopped.

“I think about what if I didn’t get there yesterday,” Martinez said. “I don’t think he would be here today, as bad as he was.”

Castro never made it to his mom’s house for his birthday, but he’s grateful that both he and his dog survived the frightening situation.

Featured Image: screenshot,