A deaf puppy named Toffee embodied a true underdog story on Friday night when she was rescued from a hole after two days trapped inside.
Toffee, just seven months old, fell into a hole that rescue workers estimated was 50 feet deep on Thursday evening, in Huntsville, Alabama. Her foster owner, Karen Smith, posted about the emergency on a Lost Pets page on Facebook, and the local community sprang into action. WHNT covered every harrowing moment of the rescue as the situation became more and more desperate.
Just as Friday turned to Saturday, crews were finally able to extricate Toffee from the frightening trap. The hole was reportedly in a nearby yard on Lenlock Drive. It was not only deep but narrow, and surrounded by unyielding stone. Still, after just over 31 hours, the puppy was reunited with her owner.
"I still can't believe she's really out and she's right here and I'm holding her," Smith told WHNT, clutching the puppy to herself. "This is a miracle. There were so many people sending me texts... I'm just so thankful to every person that came, that brought food, that brought generators and lights and, I mean, it's been an amazing outpouring of kindness and sweetness."
As many pointed out, Toffee's terror must have been amplified by her hearing impairment. Unlike many dogs, she couldn't follow the familiar sound of Smith's voice, which means she had no way to know whether the nets and tools rescuers sent down after her were friendly or not.
Check out this video of #Toffee the deaf puppy. This is from about an hour ago as crews tried to lure her into a net with food. She ate the food, but didn't get in the net. Rescuers think she is now asleep. pic.twitter.com/bXwoUDqmYX— Kody Fisher (@KodyFisherTV) June 30, 2018
One rescue attempt even included a camera attached to a net, which rescuers lowered into the hole. They put food into the net, hoping Toffee would climb in so that they could pull her out, but she simply ate the snacks and backed away. After that, she went to sleep, making rescue impossible for a while.
And the moment we were all waiting for! Toffee, a 7mo old deaf puppy, was successfully rescued after falling down a hole in S. #Huntsville.#SaveToffeehttps://t.co/1n0vuqTRTg pic.twitter.com/d1pbgq7WTr— Shevaun Bryan (@finessebryan) June 30, 2018
"There's no feeling like it. I still can't believe it," Smith went on.
Chief Finis Johnson of the Paint Rock Fire Department reached out to local reporters after seeing early reports of Toffee's predicament on TV. He and his volunteers ultimately used a snare to save the puppy.
"I'm an animal lover. It's good to know we can come out to help folks," he said.
The story touched the hearts of many on social media, where Toffee became a trending topic. Photos from the rescue site show dozens of people milling around, trying to do what they could for the animal.
America needs this #Toffee rescue to happen. This is our World Cup.— Chris Cato FOX 13 (@chriscato) June 30, 2018
"America needs this Toffee rescue to happen," wrote one local reporter. "This is our World Cup."