Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip … that led to seven castaway puppies getting rescued from their own Gilligan’s Island.
One night late July, a man named JR Cook and his friend Leon were fishing near Cross Lake in Manitoba, Canada, heard a strange crying noise in the darkness, coming from a small remote island.
“They took their binoculars and they couldn’t see anything but some dark shadows, and they heard a bunch of crying,” Deb Vandekerkhove, director of the Norway House Animal Rescue, told CBC News. “They thought originally it was wolves.”
But returning to investigate the next day, they realized it was something much cuter: they found a litter of seven stranded puppies in the brush.
The dogs were about four months old. It’s not clear how they ended up on the island or who their mother is, but the boaters knew they had to rescue the castaways.
Cook headed to the mainland to get the dogs some food, and reached out to the Norway House Animal Rescue. Together, they arranged for the dogs to be transported from the island.
“They randomly found them there,” Jessica Boeckler, the adoption coordinator for the shelter, told CBS News. “They went back three times a day to take care of them.”
While they usually don’t do desert island rescues, Norway House is no stranger to dealing with the area’s stray dogs.
“There is in Manitoba an abundance of stray dogs in the communities,” Boeckler explained. “We bring them in, get them properly vetted, sometimes other rescues take them in if we’re full.”
The Gilligan connection
With the dogs safely rescued, the volunteers decided to give them names—and there was an almost too perfect inspiration.
“They will be the Gilligan’s Island crew,” Vandekerkhove told the CBC. The classic sitcom was about a group of passengers stranded on an island, and the pups perfectly aligned with the characters: “Four boys, three girls.”
So who would be clumsy Gilligan, the movie star Ginger, the rich Howells? They decided to base it on the pups’ personalities: “As we meet them, we will attach their names based on their personality — you know, who’s the goof, who’s the boss,” Vandekerkhove said.
Soon, they each got their character:
“The Skipper and Gilligan love each other and hang out,” Norway House wrote in a Facebook post. “Mary Ann is tiny and quiet … The Professor is quiet, and can play along with toys just as easily as with the siblings.”
“The movie star is very pretty and prefers to hang out with Mary Ann. Mr. And Mrs. Howell are very social and cannot resist chasing down anything that you throw.”
But unlike their sitcom namesakes, these pups got off their island and are looking forward to a happy ending. They’ve been brought to Winnipeg and will be put up for adoption by the Winnipeg Pet Rescue.
“They’re getting better with people now, which is a good thing because they were terrified of them when they first came,” Vandekerkhove told the CBC.
As their story spread around the world, thanks to the funny, Gilligan’s Island connection, these seven stranded castaways should have no problem finding their forever homes.
“They’ll be adopted right quick in no time, I’m sure,” Boeckler told CBS.