Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

After 30 hours, rescuers safely retrieve deaf puppy that got stuck in a hole

Just moments after being rescued from a 50-foot-hole, Toffee, a 7-week-old Australian Shepherd mix puppy, was back to her old self, running alongside her siblings and giving them licks.

Toffee's 30-hour rescue was the talk of Huntsville, Alabama, and beyond last week. Toffee is deaf and visually impaired, and along with her three siblings, is being fostered by Karen and Bud Smith. The puppies were outside with Karen on Thursday, the ground wet from heavy rains. Toffee stood on a spot above a crack in the ground, and because of the rain, it was weak; she went tumbling down, landing at the bottom of a 50-foot hole.

Immediately, the Smiths called 911 and the dog rescue, and "it took on a life of its own," Karen Smith said. "People were calling different people to try and help." As they tried to figure out how to rescue Toffee, food was dropped down to her, and she drank from puddles. After the local news reported on Toffee, people started bringing equipment to the Smiths' backyard and offering tips on how to get her out. After 30 hours, volunteer firefighters and a wildlife services employee were able to snake a snare through a PVC pipe and feed it down the hole, using sardines as bait.

Shortly after midnight Saturday, Toffee approached the bait, and was slowly lifted to safety. "I cried so much in the last two days that I think all the tears are gone," Smith told AL.com shortly after the rescue. "I think the biggest thing with this is finding out about the power of a community. I couldn't have dreamt that the number of people willing to help someone they never met." Catherine Garcia