Ruff Days Made Better with Dogs on the GO

Lakeshore Line regulars enjoy puppy cuddles en route.

Penny the black lab brings a whole new meaning to the dog days of summer.

Four days a week, Penny gets on the Lakeshore GO Line in Oshawa and travels to Clarkson GO station (in Mississauga) to work alongside her owner, Sara Bodnar. Bodnar works for a chiropractor in Mississauga and Penny is at her side the whole time.

Penny the black lab greets a customer on the GO Train
Penny the black lab makes friends wherever she goes.

“Penny is seven years old and for more than 4 years she’s been riding with me on the train to work,” explains Bodnar. “She has her own spot on the train and her own spot in the office.”

It’s clear that Penny is a huge hit on the train. During our time with her, tons of people took the time to get up from their seats and come say hello.

“Everyone loves her! There are always people who want to pet her,” says Bodnar. “Kids will come up and give her hugs and I’ve even seen people who were unsure or afraid get over their fear throughout the trip with Penny on board.”

A GO Customer Service Ambassador pets Penny the dog.
GO Customer Service Ambassadors find time to say hello to Penny the dog.

Penny, who as a puppy trained with Lions Club of Canada Dog Guides before being chosen to be a breeding dog, knows how to differentiate between work and play. She’s built a solid relationship with GO CSAs and fare inspectors based on mutual understanding and treats, of course.

“The CSAs and fare inspectors who know her carry cookies for her,” says Bodnar.

“We all think it’s funny that she knows when the accessibility ramp is taken off the coach wall and laid out that it’s time to stop playing and she’ll come back to me. But, as soon as the ramp is back on the wall, she goes back to playing with her CSA friend.”

Penny the dog sits calmly on the train starring up at her owner.
Penny the dog has her own designated spot on the GO Train.

In December of 2018, Metrolinx changed their pet policy. Previously, all animals travelling on GO Transit had to be in enclosed carriers, including dogs. But now – during off-peak travel times – Penny lies comfortably in the accessibility coach with her owner, her blanket and her favourite toy.

When it comes to her commute, Bodnar says things couldn’t be better for the inseparable pair – we like to think she’s barking up the right tree.

Penny the dog lays down in the GO train.
All in a days work for Penny the dog.

 Story by: Sara Wilbur, Metrolinx Communications Coordinator.