SEATTLE - Every dog has its day - at least on one Seattle bus route.
A black Labrador named Eclipse has been riding city buses without her owner to a local dog park, local transportation officials said on Tuesday.
Seattle is a pet-friendly city, and dogs are allowed on public transportation, with few restrictions, though normally they are accompanied by a human, a spokesman with King County Metro Transit said.
The transit agency confirmed the unusual tale, saying Eclipse's journeys have been documented by both customers and drivers. "There's no reason to doubt the veracity of it,"spokesman Jeff Switzer said.
Over the past few weeks, Eclipse has boarded a bus alone near her home in the Seattle neighborhood of Belltown, riding about four stops to a nearby dog park, both commuters and transit employees said.
Miles Montgomery, a radio show host on Seattle station KISW, was riding the bus last week when he noticed a black Lab in the aisle, eyeing the empty seat next to him. "She jumps up and sits down, and I start petting her and the guy beside me says 'oh yeah, that's that dog that rides the bus to the dog park every day, by herself,'" Montgomery said.
As the bus rolled on, Montgomery realised Eclipse was indeed alone and staring intently out the window. "She started to wag her tail when she saw her stop. Then she jumped down from the seat and she just ran off the bus, and she ran to the dog park," he said.
Montgomery was the first to report seeing the solo-riding pup on his radio show, and the story garnered a lot of attention - and disbelief, he said. "It was really difficult to convince people that I actually just saw this happen," he said.
Eclipse's owner told local broadcaster KOMO he is OK with her independent activities. "We get separated. She gets on the bus without me, and I catch up with her at the dog park," owner Jeff Young told KOMO."Probably once a week I get a phone call. 'Hi, I have your dog Eclipse here ...' I have to tell them, 'No, she's fine.'" Transportation officials said the story was odd but not a huge cause for concern. "She'd be safer if she could keep her owner on a leash,"Switzer said.