Tiffin’s Top Dog: Betty, a lab mix, has become a fixture at the motor home plant

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Betty, a lab mix, has taken up with the crew at Tiffin Mobile Homes and become the de facto mascot of employees at the Red Bay plant. News photo/Jason Collum

She’s gone from a pauper pooch to Motor Coach Queen, and has gained a few friends along the way.

Meet Betty Tiffin, mascot of Tiffin Motor Homes, as her official name badge identifies her. Betty’s made friends all across the company campus – she even has her own Facebook page with almost 170 followers as of this week.

Betty, who hangs out at the plant by day, lives with David Grimes, about a 10-minute walk away from her workplace.

Grimes said he doesn’t know much about Betty’s beginnings, but he knows she was in rough shape when she showed up at his house.

“She came up behind my house about two years ago starved and mistreated,” Grimes said. “I started feeding her and now she thinks I’m her dad. When (she) first came up behind my house she looked like the south end of destruction.”

Since then Betty’s gotten much healthier. At some point along the way she decided to take a job at Tiffin Motor Homes, dutifully reporting in bright and early each morning.

“She sleeps in a house at my house, gets up early after her breakfast and she trots off to Tiffin Motor Homes where they tell me she follows Gary Williams around on a forklift all day,” Grimes said. “Then she comes back home ready for supper and to bed early except on Saturday; she doesn’t work on Saturday.”

Home away from home

Indeed, she has taken up with Williams, although he’s not really sure why.

“When she first came up (close to two years ago) she was really poor,” said Williams, a 34-year veteran of the company where he runs a forklift delivering front-end caps. “Me and Stevie Sims saw she got to hanging around us. She would come up in the morning, but she wouldn’t let us pet her; she wouldn’t let us get close to her.”

In time that changed. She eventually let Williams feed her. From that point on they were inseparable.

“She follows me everywhere I go,” Williams said. “I told them I can’t hide for her. If they see her they know I’m pretty close around. If I go through the plant, she goes straight through the plant. She doesn’t bother anybody and people will pet her.”

Betty’s adopted supervisor, Gary Williams, takes a moment to give her a rub behind the ears one morning at Tiffin Motor Homes in Red Bay. News photos/Jason Collum

Though she might not punch a clock, she does have her own name badge.

“Jimmy Patterson was responsible for asking to get her a badge,” Williams said. “It lists her job title as ‘Tiffin Mascot.’”

And her fellow employees have noticed her punctuality.

“Like this morning, she was here by 5:30,” Williams said. “She’ll hang around until Stevie comes in and she’ll stay around until he leaves.”

Betty proudly wears her name badge employees requested be made for her.

Other employees notice when she’s not at work – that’s how reliable she’s been.

“Everybody wants to know if she’s not around where she’s at,” Williams said. “They miss her because she’s gotten to where she comes so much. She’s just part of us. We wonder if something’s wrong if she’s not here.”