Our pooch Gigi usually travels with us. In fact our canine has visited more countries than most of our human friends, something she tries not to gloat about publicly. International air travel is easier the smaller the dog. But we didn’t choose Gigi for ease of travel. Indeed, we didn’t choose her at all. Like all good dogs, Gigi adopted her humans. And thus we find ourselves traveling with a full-grown Border Chinhuahua Terrier who weighs in around 25 kg. Gigi’s size creates certain limitations that we’ve learned to live with.
Depending on the country we are visiting, the pet rules vary. For example, the French love dogs and thus France’s animal access rules are permissive. In France, Gigi can go with us to most restaurants; it easy to find a hotel room that will accept a dog. But there are limitations. Dogs cannot go into grocery stores. That’s pretty much a universal rule no matter what country we are in. Also, access to some forms of public transportation is limited. As it turns out Gigi is by rule too large to go on the Paris Metro. Not that you won’t see larger dogs on the Paris Metro. The French are permissive after all and a well-behaved large canine will most likely be overlooked.
In Britain, though there are some pubs that will accept dogs, Gigi is generally not allowed inside restaurants. That means that Gigi, more often than not, will stay in the room when we go out for dinner, as Britain is not the ideal climate for dinning al fresco. Curiously, unlike Paris, Gigi is allowed to ride the London Underground. For practical reasons and to be polite, we avoid taking Gigi on the Tube during the rush hour. Nonetheless, even with our self-imposed commute hours’ blackout, being able to take Gigi on the Underground is a great convenience. London is far too large to get around by walking only.
Though dogs can ride the Tube, is doesn’t mean that they will like it. Fortunately, Gigi adapted to riding the Underground. She found her first ride on the Tube, more correctly on the Docklands Light Railway, scary. But soon enough, aided by unending stream of treats issued forth by a human version of a Pez dispenser, she got over her transit fears. Before long she was pulling us into any transit station she’d see along the street. Riding the Tube had become the high point for our dog’s day. For Gigi, a day in London without riding the Tube was just not complete.