COMMENT:

I'll admit straight up that I'm a dog person.

If I could take my dog absolutely everywhere with me I would.

I mean she already comes on the school run, and to as many places as I can take her, but we are still limited in this country in terms of where our furry friends are welcome.

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So this news that Auckland Transport is starting a trial to allow pets on trains fills me with joy.

I hope it lasts longer than three months, I hope it gets adopted permanently.

Wellington already does it of course – it has been for about a year now.
You can carry your domestic pet on buses and trains and ferries there, no problems.

When their council first proposed it there was of course a small minority of those howling their disapproval - those who feared buses and trains would end up a messy stinky barky ride, but that hasn't eventuated.
Pets on public transport in the capital has in the main, been plain sailing.

I'm not sure why it's taken Auckland Council almost a year to catch up, but thankfully, here it is, joining the modern world.

In Britain and Europe, and in parts of America, you'll see dogs everywhere - inside shops, cafes and restaurants, on all forms of public transport. And it's awesome.

Animals onboard and around the place brings a different vibe: animals unite people and create an atmosphere of camaraderie. It's just what they do.

Patting pooches brings people together, seems to make people less stressed, less hostile, more kind. It focuses people outside of themselves, and creates a better sense of community somehow.
It's the magical powers of pets.

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It also makes sense for a council that wants more people to use public transport to open it up to animals. For all the people who may need to get to a vet, without a car, or to the park, it makes life so much easier.

I'd like to see the rules around pets go further of course, I'd love them to be welcome inside shops and cafes. I'm always drawn to places with signs outside saying "dogs welcome".

Pets are after all, part of the family, and most domestic pets are socialised enough with smart enough owners to know you're not going to take an anxious or biting pet into a cafe full of little kids.

Making public transport more accessible makes sense, being inclusive to people with pets make sense, it's just the sort of positive change that council's should be awash with.

I only hope the three-month trial is a huge success - and that our precious pooches will be welcome on public transport permanently.