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In Alaska, Dogs Ride the Bus Like Everybody Else

Corey Buhay

For dogs in Skagway, Alaska, every day is a field trip — including the group nature walks, the class pictures, and even the bus. Thanks to a recent video, the bus part of the equation has gone viral.

The bus in question belongs to Mo Mountain Mutts, a Skagway dog walking and training service run by husband-and-wife team Mo and Lee Thompson. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Thompsons saw a huge boost in business. Alaskans were adopting pets in record numbers. Before long, Mo Mountain Mutts was managing about 40 pups as part of their regular play group. To get all those dogs to the trailhead, the Thompsons decided to purchase a 14-passenger bus — and then trained all their canine clients to ride it. 

Every morning, the bus rolls around Skagway, stopping in front of each dog’s house. Tails wagging and tongues lolling, the dogs trot over to the bus, hop up the steps, and climb into their assigned seats. The seats, Mo explained in a recent interview, are hand-selected by the Thompsons to ensure that each passenger is adjacent only to compatible neighbors. So, quieter, older dogs tend to be seated together, while younger pups occupy their own corner. Once everyone’s safely aboard, the bus ferries the crew to various hikes around Alaska, then drops the dogs off one by one at the end of the day. 

The unique system has taken the internet by storm. A TikTok video of the daily carpool rounds has garnered more than 9 million views, and Mo Mountain Mutts currently has 345,000 followers on Instagram

Aside from sharing videos, Mo Mountain Mutts also takes regular “class photos” of the dogs posed together on walks, and produces doggy calendars for clients and fans. So, while the dog-walking service is only available to residents of Alaska, the rest of the world can still join in on the fun from afar.

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