With animal control officers by her side, Coffman entered the property, seized the puppies and rushed them to the vet.
Coffman was shocked when she realized what was being used to silence the young dogs.
“We originally thought that it was wire wrapped around their noses because it was so tight,” Coffman explained. “When we finally got them in the vet’s office and were able to hold them still and take a look, we realized that it was little tiny rubber bands that you’d use in your hair, no bigger around than my thumb.”
Both dogs had two rubber bands wrapped around their noses, which the veterinarian believed had been left on for between 12 and 24 hours. The vet grasped the bands with forceps and clipped them, while Coffman and the two animal control officers present fought back tears.
“Hearing the sounds they made — we were helping them and doing the right thing — but the way that they screamed when those bands finally came off and the blood came rushing back to their nose was really quite heartbreaking,” Coffman said.
Had the bands been left on even a few hours longer, the puppies might have suffered major tissue damage, loss of smell or something far worse. “We really did catch them just in the nick of time,” Coffman added.
After a long bath, the pit bull mix siblings, now named Westley and Debbie, look and smell much better. Though their noses are still a bit tender, both are expected to make a full recovery — and are healing happily in a foster home.
“They’re such a great testament to how resilient dogs are because I certainly wouldn’t be as happy if that happened to me,” Coffman said. “But they’re playing and cuddling with their foster and having a great time.”
While Westley has proven to be the more adventurous of the two, his laid-back sister is by no means a pushover. “She will tell him exactly what she thinks and put him in his place if she thinks he needs it,” Coffman explained. “So it’s really funny to see the little one beat up on the bigger one when he’s being naughty.”
Soon the puppies will be ready for their forever home, and applications have already started flooding in. But though Westley and Debbie seem happy to forget their past — their rescuers have not been able to move on quite so easily.
“Last night I just kept thinking, ‘What if that pipe hadn’t burst? Would they have been found in time? Would they have lived?’” Coffman said. “You would never think that you would be thankful for a pipe bursting and flooding an apartment, but it literally saved two lives.”
“It makes you go home and hug your dogs a little tighter,” Coffman added.