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Community readers help dogs get home

With a few simple words — just ink on paper — at least three local residents and two pooches became ardent believers in the power of print.

Wednesday was the day for doggie amber alerts in the community.

Two came to me directly. One was the now-famous stray Quinny who was picked up by filmmaker Tate Taylor from the side of an area road.

Quinny, freshly rescued by Taylor just a few days before, managed to escape last week. Her owners were desperately seeking help so some smart local told them to call the newspaper.

The next day Quinny was recovered. In the process, the film folks, accustomed to big cities with gargantuan newspapers and residents who really don’t care much for helping others, had a newfound appreciation for small-town America.

The lesson was simple: Small town people care are connected by their community newspaper.

One of my favorite, most community-minded women, Janis Holder, called next. In her day job, she attempts to manage all of the unruly accountants at Silas Simmons accounting firm in Natchez.

But she may be most known for her work outside the office. We’ve known one another for years through her work with the Miss-Lou Relay for Life event.

Janis had found Buddy, a golden retriever, and had been trying to find his owner.

In the process, Janis sort of fell in love with Buddy. Dogs have a way of stealing your heart when you least expect it.

Janis is a long-time resident. She knows the community well and knows that the majority of residents read The Democrat.

And that was the problem, at least at first.

She didn’t call us first because, well, she kind of liked Buddy, and a part of her didn’t want to see him leave.

Fortunately for Buddy’s family, Janis’ conscience got the best of her, and she reached out to the newspaper.

“We have tried Facebook, word of mouth and radio announcements, but so far, no one has claimed him,” she wrote in an e-mail to me Wednesday.

“I know his owners are missing him terribly,” she wrote.

She asked if we could publish a simple ad in the lost and found section of the classifieds in an effort to find Buddy’s home.

“Sure thing,” I told her.

By 10:30 a.m. the next morning, she told me that the dog’s owners had contacted her and claimed Buddy, who she’s learned is really named Oliver.

“I just knew, however, that when I put it in the paper someone would claim him,” she wrote. “And while I was hoping that wouldn’t happen, someone did call this morning.

“Your paper just works too good! Dang it!” she wrote. “At least he’s back with his owners, and their 3-year-old grandson will be happy to see him again!”

Just a dozen or so lines of text and two dogs, who had to have been worried sick about what their owners must have been going through, found their way home all because of readers like each of you.

A newspaper is more than just a building or a printing press or even the team of people who put words and pictures onto the paper.

A newspaper’s real power comes not from within, but from the outside — from each of you.

Readers choose to use the newspaper to stay connected to their community — and God love them for it.

So pat yourself on the back for helping rescue two dogs this week. What can we all do next for the community by working together?

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.