Seattle dog rides bus to park, weekly, and other smart dog tales

Some dogs are gaining national attention for their exceptional skills. Is the town going to the dogs?

Eclipse, a Black Labrador from Seattle, has learned to ride the city bus on her own. If her owner takes too long finishing his cigarette and their bus arrives, she climbs aboard solo and rides to the dog park, to the delight of fellow Seattle bus passengers.

If you’re having a ruff day, paws and appreciate that the town hasn’t gone to the dogs. Or has it?

Recently gracing headlines, one Seattle pup has taken her daily routine to a new level. With or without her owner, Eclipse, a two-year-old Black Labrador and Bull Mastiff mix, rides the city bus from her home to a nearby dog park. Local radio host Miles Montgomery noticed this canine commuter, and was amazed at what he saw.

"It doesn't really appear to have an owner. The dog gets off at the dog park. I just look out the window and I'm like, 'did that just happen?'" Montgomery said. "She was most concerned about seeing out the window, and I couldn't figure out what that was. It was really just about seeing where her stop was."

Eclipse doesn’t always ride alone. Usually she waits at the stop with her owner, Jeff Young. He explained that sometimes when the bus arrives, he has not finished smoking. In those instances, Eclipse happily boards the bus and rides to the dog park solo, to the joy of other commuters.

"She's been here the last two years, so she's been urbanized, totally. She's a bus-riding, sidewalk-walking dog," Mr. Young said. "Probably once a week I get a phone call. 'Hi. I have your dog Eclipse here on 3rd and Bell,'" he recounted. "I have to tell them, 'No. She's fine.' She knows what she's doing."

And Eclipse isn’t the only dog taking matters into her own paws. Allie, 12-year-old Yellow Labrador from San Luis Obispo, Calif., had her owners stumped on how she was able to raid the fridge and freezer on a nightly basis. After rigging up a go-pro camera, owner Adam Montiel discovered his beloved pet had learned how to open the drawers and doors herself. The video evidence has gained nearly 2.5 million views on YouTube.

“My girlfriend taught Allie to open a drawer where Allie’s  toys were, we didn’t even think that the freezer itself is a big giant drawer . . . with food! But how she opened the doors with her mouth, and at the hinges was incredible to us,” Mr. Montiel said. She is a very smart and loving soul, and we love her more than anything.”

While some dogs are getting a bark-out for their smarts, others have made it into the fashion industry. Last year, four-year-old Bodhi, better known as MenswearDog, went viral on the internet for his hard-hitting fashion sense and lovable model poses. Owners David Fung and Yena Kim, are the publicists and stylists for their pet, and had to quit their day jobs to make way for their Shiba Inu’s budding fame.

"A lot of work and preparation goes into planning an image - we have to set up the studio, plan the outfit, play with lighting etc, but when it comes to the photoshoot, we shoot very quickly and it typically only lasts five to 10 minutes because we don't want Bodhi to get tired or bored," Fung said. And the work paid off; Bodhi’s Menswear Dog Fashion Blog, taglined a “dog’s guide to being a man,” went viral and the couple now earns about $15,000 a month from endorsements, sponsored posts, and collaborations with brands such as Ted Baker, and South Korean department store Comodo Square.

Sneaky dog tactics are gaining publicity more and more. The Tumblr account “dogshaming” has hundreds of thousands of followers, and invites users to document their canine companion’s latest shenanigans. Dog captions range anywhere from heartfelt apologies to mischievous pride in their accomplishments. One dog boasts, "My mommy left her heel on the floor. That'll teach her to never leave me."

It’s no wonder that dogs are getting more attention in the news, also evidenced by the Sarah Palin fiasco with her son Trig and the family dog.  A recent, slightly tongue-in-cheek study shows that the presence of a dog in a story can propel it from the back page of The New York Times’ National Section to the front. It’s a dog eat dog world out there, so don’t be surprised if you see more pups in the paper.

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