Dog On a Mission

Golden retriever Cali holds a tennis ball
Cali’s ready; where’s the bus stop?

A special, brilliant dog passed away recently: Eclipse, the most famous passenger to regularly ride Seattle buses.

Eclipse, a fun-loving black Lab mix, took herself to the dog park on the bus a couple times a week. She’d board the bus near her home … and somehow always knew where to get off.

Like most Labs, she loved her playtime. Unlike most, she was determined to get out to see her friends, no matter what! Truly a dog on a mission.

It’s cute and funny, but also revealing. Was she recognizing the stop by scent (likely); by watching for specific landmarks; by amount of time on the bus? We’ll never know for sure. The story points to yet another of the many areas of hidden talent and intelligence in dogs that we humans so often fail to notice, understand, or appreciate.

More mysteries to ponder: How did she know when the bus would come? And when the bus home was due? How did she pay her fare (or are buses free in Seattle, as they are in Missoula)? Should I teach Orly to take herself to the park by bus?

Sadly, aged only 10, Eclipse was diagnosed recently with cancer and passed away soon after.

I’m sure she’ll be missed by her human family and her co-riders.