Dog boards bus, goes to Shahala Middle School

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian Breaking News Reporter



Some Shahala Middle School students had an eventful morning when a dog boarded their bus and rode to school with them Wednesday.

It all started when AnnDee Vorrayo let out her nearly 1-year-old white bull terrier, Amaya, into their fenced yard along Northeast 172nd Avenue at about 7:30 a.m.

About 45 minutes later, she and her husband called for the dog but got no response.

“My husband started walking around and couldn’t find her at all,” Vorrayo said. “Then we noticed the gate was completely down.”

Vorrayo said the recent storms had damaged the fence. Too late, she saw the spot where Amaya likely got out. The family drove around the neighborhood to look for her, but didn’t have any luck.

Meanwhile, Amaya was having an adventure.

The hyper pup ran into the street near Northeast 172nd Avenue and Northeast Sixth Street, where she encountered an Evergreen Public Schools bus.

Bus driver Susanne Heyman had been on her normal route when she noticed the dog run into the street and under the bus. When Heyman opened the door, Amaya darted on board.

“The next thing I know, she was at the back of the bus,” Heyman said. “We tried to get her off the bus, but she wasn’t having it.”

So Heyman made a decision — rather than leave the dog running in the street, she continued on to the school. She used her radio to let school officials know there was a dog on board and to be prepared when they arrived.

It was only a four-minute ride, but Amaya enjoyed every minute, Heyman said.

“She sat on a seat, facing forward, and put her paws on the seat in front of her and was riding like, ‘This is where I belong,’” Heyman said. “She was barking and making a lot of noise. She was so happy.”

When they got to school, Heyman was able to pick up the dog up and deliver her into the hands of a school security officer.

“She wiggled out of his arms, and ran all over the sidewalks, went in the building, came out of the building,” Heyman said.

Finally, she said, the custodian caught Amaya and was able to shut her in a restroom.

Heyman said the highlight of the ordeal was when she was approached by a notoriously quiet bus-rider.

“She looked at me and said, ‘This is the best day ever.’ It made my day,” she said.

Clark County Animal Control Officer Trish Kraff responded to the school and took the dog, which didn’t have a collar or microchip, to the Humane Society for Southwest Washington.

“She had quite the day,” she said. “It’s like a ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ episode.”

Eventually Vorrayo called animal control and learned that not only had Amaya had been found safe, but that she’d hopped on a bus and made it all the way to school.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Vorrayo said. Then, she added, “She loves kids, so it does not surprise me that she would do it.”

Vorrayo went with her husband, Julio, and 2-year-old son, Julian, to pick up Amaya at the humane society when the shelter opened at noon.

Happy to have their dog back, the Vorrayo’s got Amaya microchipped on the spot and said they were headed home to fix their fence.