Recently Betsy Fairfield, a bus driver at the St. George School, got a new Great Pyrenees puppy. Betsy is my grandmother, and I asked her a few questions. The first question was why she wanted Stella to be a therapy dog. She told me that at first she didn’t know she wanted her to be one; then she saw how she behaved and how much she liked people (and vice versa), and she realized she would be just right for one. Then I asked her what she wanted to come from Stella being a therapy dog. She replied, “I want her to make people feel happy and safe. I want people to feel like they are protected around her.”
Betsy had a previous dog named Jebbie who recently died, so I asked her when and how did she decide she wanted a new puppy? “Well,” Betsy sighed, “It was over a year since he died and in my eyes, he was the best. In my mind I was fine without a dog until my partner Preston sent me a picture of these Great Pyrenees puppies. My other dog had Great Pyrenees in him, and I figured it would be perfect. I went to see them.” And the rest is history. Stella can be seen on the bus each day with her mom, the bus driver, and she makes the rounds at school in the morning before classes start to say hi to all the kids.
The first graders have all written and illustrated fictional stories about Stella and plan to have Betsy come in to their classroom to hear the kids read their stories. They have started a fund-raiser called The Stella Drive. Here is some information about that:
Stella is a 4-month-old Great Pyrenees who is training to become a therapy dog. She currently rides a St. George MSU bus and loves getting to spend time with our students. Stella is “sponsoring” a supply drive to benefit the Pope Memorial Humane Society, in Thomaston. Please consider donating canned dog/cat food, hard rubber dog toys or kongs, cat toys, peanut butter, large trash bags and paper towels. A collection box is in the hallway near the main school entrance. Thank you for your support!
We all love Stella already and wish Betsy the best of luck and success in the training.
(Long is a 7th grade student at the St. George School.)
PHOTO: Betsy Fairfield