Heroic fishermen in Mississippi save 38 dogs from drowning tragedy

Fisherman and dog
(Image credit: Getty Images)

People love dogs. While not everyone is a dedicated dog person, many of us are – and dogs are the most popular pet in lots of countries across the world.

Dog safety is at the forefront of our minds, whether it’s puppy-proofing our homes or using the best dog leashes to keep our pups safe when out and about.

However, some people truly do go the extra mile when it comes to looking after dogs and keeping them safe – among them are a group of fishermen in Mississippi.

Thirty eight dogs were on the verge of drowning in a lake in the state, but the fishermen have been described as heroes for coming to their rescue in their hour of need.

Bob Gist, a 61-year-old from Arkansas, planned a fishing trip to Lake Grenada with his friend, Brad Carlisle, from Tennessee. They met up with Jordan Chrestman, a local fishing guide, and headed out to the water.

After not having much luck, they moved to another location. “We go about a half mile or so from where we were to another place and we start fishing, and pretty soon we can hear some dogs barking," Gist tells Fox News. "Pretty soon we saw some dogs on the horizon in the water."

Chrestman noticed a deer in the water, and saw that the dogs were trying to chase them. As Gist explains, “We went on fishing for about 10 or 15 more minutes, and Jordan said, 'Hey guys, if you don't mind, we really need to go check on those dogs because they're way out there in that water.’”

Understandably, they weren’t expecting to see quite so many dogs, with Gist describing them all as “flabbergasted”. The men took the dogs onto the boat to keep them safe from drowning, being able to fit in almost 30 before running out of space and taking them back to safety on the bank.

They found out later that the dogs were part of an annual fox run, and they were wearing GPS radio collars. And, when the men took the dogs back to land, they found their parents panicking and calling for help.

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They went back to rescue a second group of dogs, before one of the men on the land asked if he could join the fishermen – he had the GPS tracker for the dogs, and helped them find another few dogs who were thought to be over a mile from the bank.

As Gist says, “They were on the verge of drowning, because now they have been treading water for an hour.

“We got back over to the ramp with that last bunch of dogs … we were having to drag them out of the boat because they didn't want to get out of our boat. They were scared they were going back to the water. It was terrible."

The dog parents tried to pay Chrestman, but he refused. And Gist hails him as the true hero of the rescue effort, explaining that he was the one who knew something was wrong.

Of course, these dogs were in serious danger. However, when supervised in safer environments, time in the water can be great for dogs – here are 32 ways your dog benefits from swimming.

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering pets, lifestyle, health and culture, and he has six years' experience in journalism. He was senior editor at DogTime.com, and has written for The Independent, GoodToKnow and Healthline

He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' golden retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.