What We've Learned Taking A Dog On Public Transport

Harry Rosehill
By Harry Rosehill Last edited 18 months ago
What We've Learned Taking A Dog On Public Transport

If you're an avid follower of our Instagram, you might notice that Londonist Towers is sometimes blessed with the presence of an office dog. He doesn't live in the office, so he has to deal with an annoying commute like the rest of us. Here's everything we've learned when he takes us on public transport:

Meet Bobby. He says hi.

You get more smiles

It's almost like there's a routine when someone who even slightly likes a dog sees your canine companion. Our dog's name is Bobby and we've seen the same thing happen time and time again when a dog-loving member of the public spots him. Joy washes over their face as they smile at him. Then they look up to see us looking at them, and awkwardly extend that smile to us momentarily, before getting back to the important stuff. Beaming at the dog.

A free seat next to you

They might smile at you, but they've got no interest in sitting next to you. This rule is infallible when it comes to buses, although it often applies to the tube as well. Bobby's just a terrier, and definitely doesn't need the space the general public afford him. Still we reap the rewards of all that space, and dump our bag on the seat next to us.

Not Bobby. Photo: Tom Coates

There's some heavy lifting to do

Unless you're with a guide dog, you have to carry your pooch on the tube escalator. It's not because dogs block up the escalator as you might think, but because they can injure themselves when getting off.

This means some lifting; easy enough if you have a chihuahua, less so with anything bigger. Bobby looks small but is carrying a few extra pounds, so it's always a relief to set him down at the end. He also has an adorable habit of reaching for the moving handrail with his paws as he's lifted.

Don't wear white

Between the carrying on escalators and sitting on laps, you and your canine get extremely close and personal on public transport. If there's even the slightest bit of rain about, be sure not to wear white. Getting dirty paw stains on your top isn't fun.

Photo: Jane Hoskyn

People can speak

There are rules, on public transport in London. No speaking to strangers. It's practically one of London's ten commandments. This all changes when you're travelling dog in tow.

Ok the level of conversation is rather basic. "What's his name?" "Isn't he cute?" "Ooooh, who's a good boy?" But it's still something.

Photo: Magic Pea

Prepare to be papped

You might feel famous when you notice smartphone cameras pointing in your direction, but we're going to have to let the narcissistic side of you down. It's not you they're snapping — it's your dog. Probably to post in Facebook groups like this one.

How fluffy. Photo: Andrea Vail

Paddington confuses dogs in the worst possible way

So Bobby isn't a particularly well trained dog in most regards. He won't respond to "roll over" and stares blankly if you say "paw". Heck, he'll only obey "sit" about 80% of the time. But in one regard he's up there with the best of them. Toilet training. Until Paddington.

Hopping off a train at Paddington station we were heading out onto the main road from the concourse. That's when we saw Bobby start crouching, in a terrifyingly familiar fashion. Bobby had decided to lay some new tracks in the station.

We tried to work out how Bobby had foregone the habit of a lifetime. Then it struck us. We were right next to a huge open exit with fresh air flying in our face. Paddington station has huge glass ceilings with natural light streaming down onto us. Bobby hadn't forgotten his training. He simply presumed we were outside.

We stood around Bobby until he finished, before speedily whipping out a disposable doggy bag to clean up the mess. Then we made a dash for it. Other owners: be warned of the trickery of Paddington station.

Have you learned anything else travelling with your dog? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Last Updated 26 July 2017