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54-Year-Old Mario Castro and His Dog Survived Six Days in the Desert Before Being Rescued

An Arizona resident named Mario Castro was just trying to visit his mother in El Paso, Texas. Accompanied by his 14-year-old dog Zoe, Castro was 90 minutes from his mother’s house in New Mexico, when he missed an exit and accidentally crashed his truck attempting to reroute, leaving him and Zoe stranded for six days.

According to Today, Castro and Zoe made their way through the desert in the sweltering heat, where temperatures were close to 100 degrees. For days, neither of them saw another person in sight and were getting desperate. But every time they thought their journey had come to an end, Castro lucked out and was able to continue moving.

“It was very difficult, and I was almost at the verge of death,” Castro said, adding, “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,” reports KPNX 12.

54-Year-Old Mario Castro and His Dog Survived Six Days in the Desert
Screenshot / TODAY Show

By that Thursday, their sixth day on foot, Castro and Zoe were ready to give up. According to WTHR 13, Castro said, “I felt like it was my last day. My dog’s eyes had sunk in. I felt like it was her last day too. We just hunker down underneath a tree and I was making an SOS sign with fire, I only completed half the S when I saw a white truck.”

The driver of the truck was a man named Frank Martinez, who was exploring roads in New Mexico that were off the beaten path. Martinez immediately knew something was wrong when he saw Castro “dragging his feet. Carrying some old boots, maybe clothing and struggling to follow me so I stopped.” Although he was initially skeptical of Castro’s intentions, he gave him and Zoe a ride anyway.

54-Year-Old Mario Castro and His Dog Survived Six Days in the Desert
Screenshot / TODAY Show

Martinez knew he made the right decision when he saw Castro and Zoe gulping down food and water like he “hadn’t drank in days. So that’s when I knew it was serious what I’d seen.” After getting Castro and Zoe to a hotel, they returned on Friday to retrieve Castro’s truck. Thankfully, Martinez was also a mechanic and was able to get Castro’s truck fixed so the duo could be on their way.

54-Year-Old Mario Castro and His Dog Survived Six Days in the Desert
Screenshot / TODAY Show

Martinez was happy to have helped Castro and Zoe in their time of need, saying, “I think about what if I didn’t get there yesterday.” He continued, “I don’t think he would be here today, as bad as he was.”

Castro was eternally grateful for Martinez’s unexpected intervention. “We both almost died if it hadn’t been for him,” he said.

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