Daring Rescue of 38 Hound Dogs Trapped in Mississippi Lake

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In the wide expanse of a Mississippi lake, a group of fishermen stumbled upon an unusual and heartrending sight. A pack of 38 hound dogs found themselves in perilous straits, exhausted and on the verge of drowning, after plunging into the lake in pursuit of a deer — an unintended diversion during a fox hunt.

The drama unfolded before the discerning eyes of Bob Gist, an insurance agent from Jonesboro, Arkansas. As someone familiar with the raw power of nature, Gist wasted no time assessing the situation.

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“A deer can out-swim any dog across the Mississippi River,” he pointed out. The deer’s aquatic prowess substantially trumped that of the dogs. Gist and his companions knew the dogs faced a watery grave unless immediate action was taken.

Promptly, Gist, along with his friend Brad Carlisle and guide Jordan Chrestman, commandeered a small boat nearby. What they saw left a profound impression.

“Dogs were in disarray everywhere,” described Gist. “Swimming aimlessly in circles, disoriented and without a compass.”

Under the anxious gaze of the dogs’ frantic owners from the shore, the trio launched a daring rescue operation. Grabbing as many dogs as they possibly could, they realized the bass boat could only hold so many. Multiple trips – three, to be exact – were needed to ferry the dogs to safety.

Gist captured this harrowing scene with a photographic memento — Carlisle standing against the surreal reflection of mirrored sunglasses, as a cluster of hound dogs adorned the bow. The numbers painted on the dogs’ sides testified to their fox hunt origins. Other dogs, already safe, sat calmly awaiting rescue behind Chrestman, the unsung hero of this endeavor, whose attention was firmly focused on steering.

“The true hero here is Jordan,” heralded Gist. “Without his quick and decisive action, we would have lost 38 innocent lives today.”

By the time the last dog was aboard, they had been struggling in the water for as long as an hour. Some were so tired that the men had to plunge their arms into the water and buoy their heads to prevent them from drowning.

Chris Gurner, a natural resource specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, stated that dogs, particularly on a hunt, can be relentless in their pursuit of game. However, it was exceptionally rare for them to venture so far from the shore. Gurner’s assessment underscored the exceptional nature of the situation that led the dogs into the water, their natural hunting instincts betraying them into a potentially fatal predicament.

In reflection of the daring rescue, Gist offered a sage piece of advice: “Opportunities to help somebody are constantly presenting themselves in our lives. So, when you see something, do something.”