After a deaf puppy, only 7-weeks-old, fell into a well in Huntsville, Alabama, several members of the community came together to save it.
But it wasn’t going to be easy.
Toffee, an Australian shepherd and Catahoula leopard dog born without the ability to hear, was playing in Karen Smith’s back yard when it fell into the 50-foot deep hole, Newsweek reports.
Smith knew she had to act fast, and called the local fire department and emergency responders. Along with them came animal advocates and volunteer rescuers, all hoping for Toffee’s safe return.
They toiled for the next 30 hours, attempting to extract Toffee from the narrow hole. At some points it was only about 5 inches wide. It was tough going, but Smith wasn’t willing to give up on her dog, and neither was the rest of Huntsville.
Rescue workers relied on ropes, nets, tarps, even food to try to coax Toffee up to a more manageable position, but nothing was working.
They stayed with Smith overnight, and by the next morning there was a sign of hope. One of the firefighters was able to snare toffee with a long pole and bring him to the surface.
Those gathered around the site erupted in applause when the dog was brought up to the surface. The sun had not yet come up, but there was no doubt a light at the end of this tunnel for a very special dog.
Smith, who is fostering Toffee and two other similar dogs, Snickerdoodle and Cotton Candy, offered her thanks to everyone who came in support of the rescue.
“To everyone that came, every person that brought water, that brought food, that brought generators, and lights,” she told WHNT News It’s been an amazing outpouring of kindness and sweetness.”
“People that I’ve never seen before in my life,” she continued, gesturing to nearby Paint Rock Fire Department Chief Dennis Johnson. “I don’t know him but he’s my new best friend.”
Toffee was born with a Merle gene, which is often associated with blindness or deafness in dogs. Smith understands the care he will need until he is adopted out, and in the meantime, the importance of preventing a tragedy like this from ever happening again.
Some of those who helped rescue Toffee returned the following day to cover the hole with large rocks.
Watch more on this thrilling rescue in the video below!
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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