This is Hannah (as previously made famous in the local blog Toronto is Awesome). In August she will be five years old, which, in human years, makes her older than me. She was brought to me from Eldorado, Ontario when she was just eight weeks old (and about the size of my chest; I could hold her in one hand). Since that time
As Woofstock comes to Toronto’s Woodbine Park this Saturday and Sunday, it’s a good time to reflect on just how significant our furry pets are to our lives, our families, and our well-being. Many a dog owner can attest to the fact that their dogs do indeed come to be their most faithful companions through thick and thin. Surely Hannah has been nothing shy of that for me!
Toronto is quite possibly Canada’s most dog-friendly major city; neighbours, strangers, and businesses are always welcoming of Hannah (and I hope it’s not just because her dad is cute!). During Hannah’s formative years I was able to take her to work with me at Music Canada, though I was limited in the hours in which she was allowed on TTC (pets, excluding service animals, are not permitted on TTC from 6:30-10:00am and 3:30-7:00pm Monday to Friday. More details HERE). Many dog owners have found the current bylaws to be restrictive, particularly in cases of needing to take their dogs for medical appointments and emergencies, or, as was the case with me, taking my young dog to work with me for consistency in training and not being able to afford pet-sitting or dog-walking on a daily basis. I have been fortunate often to have TTC employees use their best discretion in allowing me to take Hannah on subways, streetcars, and buses at all hours of the day. While I’m grateful for that, I would be interested in exploring removing the time limitations entirely so as not to place the onus on the discretion of individual drivers.
A well-trained and adjusted dog can ride transit without any issues and will sit quietly and patiently, often in their owner’s lap, often falling asleep immediately, without making noise or disrupting other passengers or TTC employees.
There are currently 33 off-leash dog parks in Toronto (MAP), both fenced and open. Off-leash areas are important for a dog’s health, socialization, and training. Responsible owners and their pets certainly use these facilities respectfully, and I would be interested in exploring as many possible options in expanding or designating new off-leash areas.