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Where nice comes with the territory: Reuniting Charles with his best friend

A large dog floats on a stand-up paddle board in the northwest territories.  SUP

Where nice comes with the territory: Reuniting Charles with his best friend

Bluefish Services specializes in custom fishing trips on, or near, Great Slave, from Yellowknife. In winters, owner Greg Robertson, or one of his expert guides, will fire up the Snobear—almost like a fishing shack on snow-tracks—to comfortably bring you wherever the fish are biting. 

They go the extra mile, which is a characteristic shared by most operators and outfitters in the Northwest Territories. They see it as a point of pride to ensure each guest’s experiences are not only memorable, but that the trip is uniquely tailored to suit their interests and wishes. It’s just what they do.

Here’s a touching story from longtime guests of Bluefish Services, Glenn and Sandi Edgemon of West Richland, Washington, which details just how far their staff will go for the people around them. In this case, Bluefish Services reunited a Yellowknifer with his best friend:

A Man and his dog paddle on a stand-up Paddle board in the Northwest Territories

It’s July 2018 and my wife Sandi and I are out on our annual fishing trip with Greg Robertson of Yellowknife’s Bluefish Services. We’re camping near the Beaulieu River, which is so remote that we are always surprised to find anyone else around. 

Imagine our astonishment when we see several young men standing on paddleboards heading toward us while we’re out fishing from our boats. We greet the group, which includes Yellowknifer Tyler Fissel, his giant dog Charles, and several of Tyler’s friends. The group had just completed an 80-kilometre paddleboard trip down the Beaulieu, the trip a first of its kind. They stop and pull to shore in Pauline Bay, near the mouth of the river, where a float plane will soon come to retrieve them. They had survived all the flies and a week of terrible weather. Trust me, they looked the part!  Sandi and I were fascinated by Tyler’s dog, Charles—a huge German Shepherd-Malamute mix. We marvel at how Tyler had shared a paddleboard with him all this way!  

a large dog stands at the waters edge in the Northwest Territories

Everyone in their party looks relieved as the plane flies in, but Charles suddenly starts to panic due to the noise. He runs up the rocks, vanishing into the bush. For more than an hour, the group searches desperately for Charles, but the plane is only chartered for a set amount of time. Eventually, Tyler makes the painful decision to board the plane and depart without Charles. They simply couldn't hold the plane any longer. 

At the time, we don’t know what the delay is all about, as we are fishing far out in the bay. But before the group leaves, they flag down Trevor Murdoch, who is operating a boat for our party. They let him know that Charles is missing. Trevor radioes over to the rest of us, asking us to keep our eyes out. 

It just breaks our hearts, imagining what Tyler is going through—and knowing in the back of our minds that Charles has little to no chance of surviving in the wild on his own. So we stay in the vicinity of Pauline Bay for the next several hours. We fish but, if I’m being honest, we’re mostly watching the shoreline for any sign of Charles. 

Suddenly, Sandi starts yelling, "There's the dog! There's Charles!" Sure enough, it’s Charles, looking confused as to where his people had gone! We radio back to Trevor, who is closer to Charles than we are. His group is able to retrieve the dog safely and get him into the boat.

We take Charles back to the camp, where we feed him and check him over. He seems fine and happy to be with people. Boy, do we give him a huge amount of attention that evening too! 

Bluefish Services loads a rescued dog onto a float plane. Northwest Territories

We are able to reach Tyler via satellite phone. He is simply amazed that we found him and that he will soon be on his way home. Greg Robertson arranges a flight with Ahmic Air to take Charles out with some other members of our party the next day, reuniting Charles and Tyler. Sandi and I are able to catch up with them both several days later after we return to Yellowknife. Tyler lets us know he simply can’t express enough thanks to Greg and the rest of us for getting Charles home. 

Sandi and I have been fishing and camping around Yellowknife for more than 20 years now. We have made a great group of friends and memories, but this one is still the best. We love it there, and have really missed everyone this year. It's been a long time since we missed a summer!

 

Glenn Edgemon,

West Richland, Washington

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