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Two anglers and their fishing guide rescued 38 hounds that the men found desperately treading water in the middle of a 90,000-acre Mississippi lake earlier this month.

Bob Gist and Brad Carlisle set out for a day of crappie fishing on Grenada Lake on June 8 with Jordan Chrestman, who runs Tri-Lake Guide Service in Calhoun City, Mississippi. They’d been on the water only a short time when Gist spotted something odd in the distance. He asked Chrestman what he was seeing, according to Jonesboro Right Now, and Chrestman yelled, “I think those are dogs!” 

Chrestman motored closer to investigate, and the men were astounded to find dozens of hounds wearing electronic collars and struggling to stay afloat as they paddled randomly in different directions. And they were a long way from dry ground.

“The dogs were at least a mile offshore,” Gist told the news organization. “The way their heads were in the water, there’s no way they could see the shore. They were dog paddling and completely lost.”

Gist estimated that the dogs had been in the water 15 or 20 minutes, and they weren’t going to survive without help. The men began hauling them into the small bass boat; when they got 27 of the hounds aboard, there was no room for more. So they made a run to shore and returned for the remaining 11. By then, some of the hounds had been in the water for 45 minutes to an hour.

Gist, of Jonesboro, Arkansas, and Carlisle, of Covington, Tennessee, are both State Farm Insurance agents. That led to a lot of jokes online quoting the company’s ad slogan about good neighbors being there when needed. But the real hero is Chrestman, Gist told the Associated Press. “If it wasn’t for Jordan, there would have been 38 dead dogs,” he said.

The hounds were reunited with their owners, who explained that they were in the middle of a fox hunt when a deer jumped up, plunged into the lake, and swam away with the dogs in hot pursuit. Gist said the grateful hunters offered reward money, but Chrestman declined, suggesting the men pay it forward by helping someone else in need.

Gist and Carlisle went back to crappie fishing, and even boated a few—though that must have seemed like small fry compared to a limit of hounds. “We didn’t reel in a lot of fish,” Gist told Rick Karle Good News, “but we reeled in a lot of dogs.”