By Cheri Dodd
It was a beautiful, crisp November evening. As a matter of fact, it was Saturday, November 21 – the night Natchitoches LIGHTS up the night for the first time in the Christmas season. We have visitors from near and far who are delighted to be a part of this tradition. Gumbo, a handsome 4 year old Boxer, and his family from Southeast Louisiana, were a part of those excited visitors.
The fireworks began, the town was thrilled…but not long after you could hear the chants throughout the riverfront and its side streets, “Gumbo!!! Anyone seen Gumbo????”
You know us Natchitoches residents are throwing our doors open, “Did someone say they wanted some Gumbo??”
No Sir/Madams, the Marlbrough family was in search of their cherished pup – Gumbo. The fireworks began, and he (uncharacteristically) escaped from his leash and collar and ran as FAR away as possible from that dreadful noise. The family was so beside themselves, he’d been to Mardi Gras parades, fireworks displays and mass gatherings hundreds of times – but tonight, he had other plans. They’d already been searching for an hour when they came upon residents, Diane Dodd and Pia Wyatt, in the area of Pavie & 2nd st.
Being the citizen/animal lover/PI that she is, Diane Dodd was ON THE DOUBLE (any of you that have a 4 year old know what that is from! ‘Paw Patrol, Paw Patrol’ ). She obtained a picture from Gumbo’s family, immediately posted it to Social Media and within hours had over 692 shares. Natchitoches residents came out in droves both on social media and physically driving through the neighborhoods in search of Gumbo. No one gave up! They continued to check in on the social media post to see if Gumbo had been found and then…
The sun rose and Monday morning became the best day for both Gumbo and his family. Nearly two days after Gumbo went missing, resident Ryan Steadman found him hiding under the Natchitoches Historic Foundations’ building on Second Street. Mr. Steadman notified Gumbo’s parent, Kerry Martin Marlbrough that Gumbo had been located and had left him with Silton Metoyer III at the Downtown Fire Station for safe keeping. Ms Marlbrough notified Diane Dodd who in turn immediately picked up Gumbo until his hoomans could make the trek back up to Natchitoches to get him.
We are happy to report tonight that Gumbo and his hoomans have been REUNITED! Their hearts are profoundly full of the love that Natchitoches showed to them through this very traumatic ordeal. They only left Natchitoches Saturday night without Gumbo because their grand baby had just been born prematurely, and they needed to be by their daughter’s side. What a wonderful ending to an amazing journey of Gumbo and his family. Thank you to all who participated in assisting in finding him – that’s what small town community is ALL ABOUT!