A True ‘Tail’ of Dogs on Trains by Neil Ewart, Trustee, Seeing Dog Alliance
If you travel with your Seeing Dog, or indeed any dog, on the train, how is your journey? I hope do hope it runs smoothly so everyone has a stress free and enjoyable experience.
However, travelling with any animal always requires due care and attention and I thought you would be interested to read about a true story about dog travel on trains from 1857.
The Earl of Bridgwater was a true eccentric and was quite bizarre in his habits. His love for dogs was beyond doubt, and at any one time, he owned around fifteen! Unmarried, he treated them like children. Some were strays, others pure-bred hounds and gundogs. He also had a collection of various lapdogs. All were allowed to sleep and eat with him. Every day the Earl would have his dining room laid with the finest linen, and each dog would have an allotted place to dine.
Quite often the Earl would travel by train from London to his country home. On most occasions, one or two dogs would accompany him, but once he decided to take them all! Fifteen dogs set out and the Earl bought first class tickets for each, and also asked to take over two compartments. In those days, compartments could not be reserved, so the Earl sent his servants ahead to bar entrances to the carriages, in advance of our hero and his dogs arriving to board.
During the journey, each dog took a seat, while any other passengers looking for a vacant seat found the blinds down and reserved signs on the windows.
During the journey, the train must have stopped at various stations, as, when the Earl went to check the dogs, he found six dogs, presumably strays, had joined the party. The result was near-mayhem, and it took both the Earl and his servants some time to restore order and evict the interlopers. The Earl was outraged that this could have occurred and made a formal complaint to the railway company. They recognised him as being a thorough nuisance, but money talks, and he had powerful friends. It was only after he threatened legal action that officials paid him a visit, and they smoothed troubled waters.
It is recorded that their doggy train journey continued, apparently without mishap. That IS good to hear!
See you again soon,