Monday, January 31, 2011

Dog in the City: How to Catch a Cab in the City with a Pit Bull

When I first looked into adopting a dog,  everyone was telling me it would be really hard to have a big dog in the city without a car. I never owned a car, but I was always able to catch a bus or train to take me where I needed to go. Unfortunately, dogs aren't allowed on the city buses and trains. The only exception is if you carry them in a dog carrier. And while I envisioned finding  a huge duffel bag, in which I could mush Miss M's huge body and let her head hang out, I had to realize how completely unrealistic this was:
In the beginning, I was successful at finding nearby places where Miss M could easily walk. I found a vet within a mile, a pet boutique within a 1/2 mile, and a training class 2 miles away--which was actually a good distance because Miss M needed that entire walk to calm down. And this worked for awhile. But then I found more places I wanted to go that were way out of our walkable zone. I was tempted by  dog fundraisers, parades, walks along the lake, and CGC training classes. Then I realized we could probably make like all other Chicagoans and take a cab.
The first time I tried, I wasn't sure if anyone would actually pick us up. I know a lot of cab drivers are not dog-friendly, let alone pitbull friendly. I had Miss M sit/lay nicely behind me while I hailed the cab so they wouldn't think she was huge. I also knew I had more of a chance of a cab pulling over if they didn't notice I had a dog with me. Plus, dogs in coats and sweaters are less intimidating.
When the cabs pull over I ask if I can bring my dog, who they can see is sitting and waiting very nicely. I also bring a blanket with me which I explain to the driver I will put over the seat. At the end, we tip extra so the cab drivers can see how nice dog-owners are. We've probably taken cabs about a dozen times, and in all the times,  we've never been denied a ride. Miss M and Mr B have their own pitbull-mobile now, but it's always nice to know we have other options.

28 comments:

Erika and Blair,xoxo said...

Good thinking, when I lived at school I had transportation problems too. Lucky for me we had a complete pet taxi company in the town and I had some very nice friends.

RED said...

We do the same thing to get a cab with Zeus! Although we typically have Gabe stand at the curb with Zeus sitting perfectly - while I stand in the street to get the cab. Zeus is great in the car and luckily we've never had any problems - plus we tip much better with the dog to show our thanks! Although to be completely honest we drive more now that we have the dog. Love the pictures, as usual!!

jen said...

See this is something I never would of thought about. It is great to see that you put the thought into this to make it less intimidating for everyone. I wonder if a cab driver would pick up Sherman and I?

loveandaleash said...

I had always wondered what would happen if I suddenly needed a cab and had Chick or Lollie with me. It's good to know that others have done this, even if you are many, many miles away!

Aleksandra
follow our foster: loveandaleash.wordpress.com

Jessica M said...

We have the same problem here in NYC- we have things within walking distance but thats not always good enough. One night, Bruno got into some perscription medication and a whole bunch of other junk- we had to take him straight to the emergency vet which was an hours' walk away. We got a cab to take us but the cabby said he had just replaced his mats because of a dog and was hesitant. We know Bruno would probably throw up (again) but we were terrified he was going to die if we didn't take the cab, so when he finally did throw up a block away from the 24-hr vet, we just bribed the cabby with $40 - Sadly I don't think he will ever pick up a dog again :(

Wyatt said...

You are the best kind of dog owner. Paving the way with your good dog skills and etiquette! Thanks!

Wyatt and Stanzie

Corbin said...

You guys rock! Your blog is one of my favorites to read because you're always doing positive things and giving positive ideas out. I love all your adventures!
-Corbin's momma, Jenn

rescuedinsanity.com said...

I've never tried to take Shiva in a cab but I wonder if there will come a time when I need to. We only have the one car and my husband uses it for work. So if I am home alone, I am stuck. While our vet clinic is within walking distance, if my dog has an emergency, I can't picture carrying her all the way there. It's nice to know some cab drivers understand. Thanks for doing your part to keep up the dog-owning reputation!

Kitty+Coco said...

Great tips for cabs! How could anyone say no to Ms. M's adorable face anyway?

brooke said...

We've only once taken Dar on public transportation and it was completely unplanned. We walked to a beer festival down by our house and it was a HOT HOT HOT day and the line was ridiculously long to get in so we changed our mind. Darwin was exhausted from the heat and we didn't know if she'd make it home so we hailed a cab and they were nice enough to let her in! It was a short ride and she was a lot smaller at the time, but I was surprised at how willing the driver was to let us in!

Kari in WeHo said...

I would so love to see Miss M in a giant bag!

Kari
http://dogisgodinreverse.com/

Winnie said...

You are doing a great PR job for dogs with cab drivers and I'm glad it's all working out well.

Love and licks Winnie

Zona said...

What a great post! How could anyone turn down giving sweet Miss M a ride! She's so well behaved!!

Wags,
Zona

houndstooth said...

I'd wondered about that up in Chicago. We follow a blog from New York, and they're always taking a cab or boat or train to get around with her in tow. It's one aspect of city living that fascinates me!

road-dog-tales said...

That's so cool! Some of us have ridden in taxis before but this reminds us of the time our car broke down and the tow-truck driver wouldn't let us ride in the truck and he wouldn't let Mom & Dad ride in our own truck being towed. They were pretty stressed having to watch us from the tow truck while were being towed behind in our truck. It was weird!

The Road Dogs

Benny and Lily said...

Yourmom and and Paw could totally write an awesome doggy column
Benny & Lily

Tucker said...

As always great post. I've never lived in a large city or been dependent upon public transportation. Wouldn't be a big deal with Tucker or Phoebe but 70+ pound Dakotah would have been a different story.

Bobby said...

ITS GREAT THAT YOU CAN GET A TAXI, WE COULD NOT GO IN A TAXI UNLESS IT WAS A PET TAXI.
WE CAN GO ON BUSES AND TRAINS THOUGH. THAT IS GREAT MISS M SITTING THERE, HER BUT JUST OUT OF THE SNOW.

Roo said...

Oh that's funny! I've never even thought of needing to take a cab with Mom :O Well thanks to you and Miss M I now know all the tricks to catchin one (without grippin the back tires with my teeth so they couldn't leave me behind ;)

Never leave home without a blankie and a disguise ;)

Waggin at ya,
Roo

Kate@TwentySixToLife said...

Huh, I had never even though that a cab would take a passenger with a dog. That's pretty cool!

Brenda said...

Miss M is so polite and well mannered, I would take her anywhere she wanted to go. Unfortunately, by the time I got there, it would be the next day, so it's a good thing you've got some dog friendly cabs there! :)

In Black and White said...

Wow, I had no idea that cabs would pick up a dog! That said, I think we've got a bit of training to go before my ABD behaves well enough not to scare away all sane cabbies. If you ever get stuck, www.pawsaroundchicago.com are awesome!

Pet Sitting and Dog Walking said...

Cool there is actually some good points on this post some of my friends might find this relevant, will send them a link, many thanks...

Pet Taxi

Molly said...

I haven't tried to take my Pit in a cab but now I am going to try! I always talk to cabbies about doing it but haven't done it yet.

thegirlandherdog.com said...

This is amazing!! I'm so going to do this. My pup is teeny so I"m sure it will be fine. Yay for Chicago cabs and pups!

PHL Taxi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Govardhan Avvaru said...

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Rachel Benson said...

I hadn't ever considered that it would be hard to find a taxi with a dog in tow. I am thinking of getting a dog and that is something I will have to consider. I would assume that some taxi drivers would be really hesitant to allow dogs in their cabs. http://www.farwesttaxi.net

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