Monday, April 2, 2012

"How-To" Week: How to Catch a Cab with Your Dog

It seems like a lot of people have been asking us a lot of great questions, so we thought we'd spend this week while we're on break following up on some of our favorite 'how-to' posts. One of the biggest questions we're asked is whether you can have a large dog in the city without a car. Our pooches are true city dogs and since I didn't have a car when I first adopted Miss M she became accustomed to riding in a cab. Here is what we learned about How to Successfully Catch a Cab with a Pitbull:
(And if you still want to see what's going on with Miss M and Mr B this week, we will be updating our Facebook page with new photos.)

 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.
Update--Pretty Little Pittie also had the great suggestion of having your dog lay on the floor by your feet.
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.


goosie mama said...

Since G and I have moved, to get to daycare 3 days a week we end up taking a cab in the morning. There's no questions it's easier to get a cab when you're looking for one during "off" hours (like early morning) or when it's sunny out, but I think it would be the same whether or not I had a dog.

The footwell is key for G and I. Cabbies seem more comfortable in the sense that the dog can't affect the seat when they're down there and should anything happen, the footwell is protected by tough rubber.

I agree, too, that the tipping is key. The more you can "pay it forward," the better for the next dog owner who tries to get a cab.

Thanks for the shout out!

Anonymous said...

We have had problems getting cabs to pick up me & Lucy as well. The sit/lay down trick sometimes helps, if they look calmer, it's not as annoying to the driver.

When I ask if she can come in, I always start by explaining that she'll stay on the floor of the cab, and not on the seat. But bringing a blanket is a brilliant tip!

And always leave a larger than normal tip. That driver didn't have to stop, nor will he have to stop in the future. If we can impress upon them that it's financially sensible for them to pick up dog owners, it can become easier to get a cab in the future.

Lastly, talk to the desk staff at your vet's office. I had trouble getting Lucy to our vet one day (it's walkable, but she had sprained her leg, so I didn't want to make her walk), and it had made us late for our appointment. I was explaining this to the receptionist, and she gave me the phone number of a man who drives a yellow cab here in the city. Get this: he ONLY PICKS UP PEOPLE WITH DOGS. You call him, he comes to get you, delivers you where you're going, and only charges you the regular fare for while you're in his cab. On top of that, they had many recommendations for pet transport companies, which can also be helpful in emergent situations.

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

We can usually walk anywhere in NYC without needing a cab for Havi. However, since we started these Pack Walks early weekend mornings, its become a necessity. We find that if we tell the owner she is great in cars, and well clean up - they let us hop in!

Kate said...

I've never had to try to get a cab with a dog, but your posts make me feel better about it if I ever need to try. I think it's great that you have a lot of success with finding a ride with the pups!

Anonymous said...

I've never had to take a cab with my pups, but if we ever move to a bigger city, we'll definitely keep these tips in mind!

Rebelwerewolf said...

We will have to try asking our vet for transport recommendations. Llamaentity does not drive, so if anything should happen while I'm out of town, they would have to catch a cab to the vet.

Boston's public transportation allows dogs, but unfortunately pitbulls are breed-restricted within city limits and required to be muzzled, so we've never (and are not considering) taking our dogs there.

Two French Bulldogs said...

never thought about taking a cab, cute
Benny & Lily

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