“Y’all, this is a miracle,” Karen Smith told reporters last night. She was referring to the 31-hour effort it took to save Toffee, the ridiculously cute, deaf puppy she’s fostering, from a 50-foot-deep hole.
Toffee had been playing in Smith’s yard in Huntsville, Ala., around 5 p.m. Thursday when the 7-week-old Australian Shepherd suddenly disappeared into the rocky crevice, which was only a few inches wide.
Smith contacted A New Leash on Life, from which she was fostering Toffee and her littermates. The rescue organization immediately coordinated the efforts to save the puppy’s life.
It took a village to raise this puppy — namely, firefighters, cave rescue crews, plumbers and other volunteers. The team made several attempts to rescue Toffee. At one point Friday afternoon, the puppy put her front two paws into a net, but not her entire body, so she couldn’t be lifted out.
The rescue crew provided Toffee with food and water as they tried to free her. They kept a constant eye on her with a camera that had been lowered into the hole.
Their efforts were live-streamed by local TV stations. People watching from across the country volunteered to come to Huntsville and try to help.
Help this precious pup!! @anewleash is looking for solutions on how to get this adorable 7-Week-old puppy out of a hole. His name is Toffee and he fell in a hole at his foster families home. Fire crews and cave rescue crews have tried but can’t get him out! Help!! @waff48 pic.twitter.com/XOohhM1j9r
— Shelia O’Connor WAFF (@SheliaOConnor) June 29, 2018
Finally, just after midnight last night, the rescuers successfully saved Toffee. What did the trick? Luring her into a net with sardines, and then raising the net.
Despite that long fall, Toffee suffered no serious injuries.
“Our volunteers and friends are sleeping well tonight knowing she is safe and experiencing what an amazing community we have!” A New Leash on Life wrote on Instagram.
Click here to make a donation to A New Leash on Life.
Toffee is safe and sound tonight after 2 days of rescue efforts. Thanks to thousands who sent ideas, constructed prototypes, tried squeezing through the tight spaces to get her, and brought food and water to the volunteers who never gave up hope. She fell 40 to 50 feet down a narrow hole with rock ledges and underground streams and it took putting quite a few heads together to figure out a solution. Our volunteers and friends are sleeping well tonight knowing she is safe and experiencing what an amazing community we have! #anewleash #rescuetoffee