Erik Petersen is used to helping GO customers with directions but a lost dog is definitely a first. Marley is a six-year-old border collie-shepherd mix who hopped on a GO train all by himself when it pulled into Rouge Hill Station on Saturday afternoon.
“The dog was just there with no leash or owner in front of the service elevator,” recalled Petersen, a Customer Service Ambassador for GO Transit.
“It was hot out and I wasn’t sure what he was going to do. I was about to approach him but before I could even move, he walked down the service ramp and let himself in.”
Petersen, who was concerned for the dog’s safety, checked to see if anyone on the train was looking for their dog. He then made an announcement asking if the owner was on board. Nobody came forward to claim the dog but passengers did rally together to take care of him.
“I got him some water; a couple with their toddler gave him some snacks and a gentleman offered his belt as a leash so that Marley wouldn’t run off,” said Petersen, who didn’t think twice about taking care of the dog while still doing his job.
“I’m a dog owner myself and if it were my dog, I would want someone to do the same.”
Petersen managed got a hold of the owner, who was in shock and didn’t even realize her dog was gone at the time. Marley was in the backyard of his home and the gate was shut. He somehow managed to escape and ran off to Rouge Hill Station, a place he frequents with his owner.
“He was getting belly rubs, making friends, I don’t think he wanted to go home after that, he was having such a good time” said Petersen.
The owner was eventually reunited with Marley and on Monday, hopped on the same train heading to Union Station.
“She gave me a hug and thanked me,” said Petersen. “I didn’t think I was doing anything special. I was just trying to be a good person.”
It seems Marley was apparently testing a new GO Transit policy allowing leashed dogs on trains outside rush hour.
He just forgot that he needs a human with him before boarding.
Written by Nitish Bissonauth, a bilingual media relations and issues specialist with Metrolinx and a former broadcast journalist.