What makes a country pet friendly?
I got myself wondering this a while ago, trying to understand what we need to make Ireland a country that welcomes our lovely dogs, cats and other domestic animals. And although we usually focus on hving places to go with our furry companions, it's crucial to think about how we are commuting to these places.
That's how you realise that ordinary daily activities can be much more challenging when you have a dog. The scenario for those who rely on public transport with their dogs in Dublin has much to be improved. See below the pet policy for the most common public transports:
Their website is not exactly clear about this (it explains more about guide dogs and assistance dogs that are permitted), but it seems to be up to the driver's discretion to decide whether any other dog can board the bus. We have spoken with a few dog owners to know their experiences taking dogs on the bus; some of them said it was super easy and there's nothing to worry about. On the other hand, we also heard stories of people that give up after waiting 2 hours to go on the bus with their small dog as the drivers wouldn't allow them in.
It's a matter of luck, and it can depend on many things. For example, a dog that doesn't bark for strangers, carried in a backpack trying to get on a bus in a not busy hour, is more likely to be allowed. But it can be not very easy if you have medium or large size dogs.
Personal opinion: I have two 10kg dogs; they are not exactly big, they might be allowed on the bus, but I would avoid having the bus as an only option.
DART is our good news on public transport in Dublin!
"Pets are allowed to travel on DART or commuter trains provided they are properly restrained. Dogs can only travel on intercity (Dublin-Cork and Dublin-Belfast) trains in the guard's van (non-passenger compartment)."
There is more info about this on the Irish rail website: small dogs can be carried on the owner's lap and cats on their carrier free of charge. Keep dogs on the lead all the time. If any customer objects to the dog, the dog owner will be requested to move to another part of the train. Restricted breeds must be muzzled. And for more info, have a look here .
It seems many rules, but I never heard of anyone having a problem with dogs on DART. It doesn't say much about medium and large breeds on the website, but I think if you have a well-behaved dog, you won't have any issue. Especially when the train is not busy. ;)
On their website, they mention: "Dogs and animals are allowed on the tram provided they are in an appropriate enclosed pet carrier case/box. Their travel is at the discretion of Luas Staff."
I don't have any testimonials of people taking the LUAS with a dog, but once again, it seems that it's up to Luas staff and if you have your dog in a bag or box is much more likely you'll be able to travel. Again, very unlikely for medium/large size dogs.
-> It's crucial to mention that all Guide Dogs and Assistance dogs accompanying passengers are permitted to travel, with no charge on all these.
If you compare Ireland to other European countries (or maybe the US), you can feel very frustrated and realise that you have to be prepared to get many "NO"s. However, even though public transport in Ireland is not a dream for dog owners, it is still good to remember that about five years our page wouldn't even exist! Pets weren't even allowed in cafes and restaurants, and now it's up to the owner. It's a small change that has made so much difference, as we have more than 200 pet friendly businesses listed on our website, and every day we are discovering new ones.
Becoming a pet friendly country is a long journey, but we are getting there with puppy steps.
Big thanks to Oskar, Jake, Robin, Pasoka, Koda, Lola and their humans for sending the pics that made this post possible. You're all amazing!