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MANCHESTER, N.J. – A missing 78-year-old man was found safe after his dog wandered off in the woods and into an off-duty police officer.

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Manchester Police Sgt. Charles Brooks was hunting in area of 251-acre Crosley Preserve when a dog named Petie appeared on a nearby trail.

Brooks figured the dog had wandered from its owner, so he set off trying to reunite them. Brooks followed Petie’s paw prints, and later foot-wear prints, for several hundred feet before he found Fred Rapp, who had been reported missing nine hours earlier.

Rapp had crashed his vehicle in a wooded area and became disoriented. Police, who had been calling Rapp’s phone unsuccessfully, were able to get through around 5:45 a.m. They were surprised to hear Brooks on the other end. He gave them their location, which was inaccessible by car. They were able to get to an open area, where police took Rapp to be treated by medics before he was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

“This situation highlights the fact that a police officer is a police officer 24/7,” Manchester Police Chief Lisa Parker said on social media. “We are truly fortunate that Sgt. Brooks was in the right place at the right time because without his help there is no telling how this story would have ended.”