Natchez native takes friends on ride home

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 17, 1999

After a weekend of fun at the balloon race, Stephanie Atkins and Wade Givens headed back to Starkville Sunday. But not without a couple of friends. Atkins and Givens, childhood friends who graduated from Adams County Christian School, also took two of Atkins’ dogs with them back to Starkville.

Cheyenne – actually a wolf hybrid – and Chance, a chocolate Lab, ride in the back of Atkins’ truck when she travels to and from Natchez, where her mother lives on John Glenn Avenue, and Starkville, where she works at AmSouth Bank. The rest of her menagerie – a cat and a litter of kittens, another dog and two horses – stays at home in Starkville.

Atkins has been an animal lover all her life, said her mother, Brenda Hopkins. &uot;She was always bringing home animals,&uot; Hopkins said.

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When Atkins was in high school she worked for veterinarian Dr. Robert Savant. One day a Yorkshire terrier who had been having seizures was brought in.

&uot;He needed 24-hour-a-day care, so she brought him home,&uot; Hopkins said. &uot;Since he survived, we got to keep him, and now he’s our baby.&uot;

&uot;I take in a lot of strays and try to find homes for them,&uot; Atkins said. &uot;They mostly end up at my house though.&uot;

Givens said he puts up with the animals on the road to and from Starkville. &uot;There’s not a whole lot you can say but sit there and take a lick on your face,&uot; he said. &uot;There’s not much you can say when she’s your ride.&uot;

Atkins said the animals pretty much stay in the bed of the truck during the drive.

&uot;Occasionally they’ll climb through the glass and sit up front,&uot; she said. &uot;They’re my masters.&uot;