3 Heroic Fishermen Saved 38 Dogs From Drowning in a Mississippi Lake · The Wildest

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3 Heroic Fishermen Saved 38 Dogs From Drowning in a Mississippi Lake

An everyday fishing trip turned into a massive rescue mission.

by Sio Hornbuckle
June 24, 2024
a dog on a boat looking at the water
Boris Jovanovic / Stocksy

When Bob Gist, Brad Carlisle, and Jordan Chrestman set out on Grenada Lake in Mississippi they were hoping to have a relaxed day of crappie fishing. But they didn’t end up taking home any fish — instead, they brought back to shore 38 dogs who otherwise likely would have drowned.

Gist and Carlisle, two insurance agents, decided to travel to Grenada for a fishing trip; they brought along Chrestman, a guide who works for a local fishing service, reported the radio station KEGI. Once on the water, Gist noticed something bobbing near the surface in front of them. When the boat moved closer, he realized it was a dog — and the pup wasn’t alone.

There were dozens of hound dogs in the water wearing radio collars used for hunting expeditions. “They were lost. The dogs were at least a mile offshore,” Gist told KEGI. “The way their heads were in the water, there’s no way they could see the shore. They were dog paddling and completely lost.”

The dogs were on a fox hunt, and they had leapt into the water to chase a deer, reported WBAL. Chris Gurner, a natural resource specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, told WBAL that it’s common for dogs on a hunt to chase an animal that startles them. 

38 dogs rescued from Grenada Lake on a boat
Photo: Bob Gist via AP

The three men leaped into action. Chrestman navigated the boat, and Gist and Carlisle pulled the dogs aboard. They took 27 dogs to shore, and then returned for 11 more. 

By the time the rescue was over, the dogs were completely exhausted. “When we first started there was this white one that Brad tried to reach for and the dog bit at him. He moved closer to me, so I tried to reach for him, and he tried to bite me, so we left him.” Gist KEGI. “When we came back for the second load it was probably 30-45 minutes later. By that time, he was ready to get in the boat. He wasn’t biting anybody.”

The people on the hunt didn’t have a boat, so if the three men hadn’t stumbled upon the pups, they likely would have drowned. Though the men had never rescued animals before, the decision to act came naturally to them — and they refused to accept the money the dogs’ handlers offered them, they told KEGI. Instead, they said, “When you see us in trouble, y’all come help us.”

Sio Hornbuckle

Sio Hornbuckle is a writer living in New York City with their cat, Toni Collette.

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