In order to ride the New York City subway, you must abide by certain rules (as you do anywhere in life, really). Many of the rules are common sense and most rational people don’t need these listed out in order to abide by them — things like don’t use the subway as a bathroom, or no drinking on the train. One of these rules is a lesser known rule: dogs are not allowed on the subway unless they’re contained in something that the owner can carry. The specific regulation states that “no person may bring any animal on or into any conveyance or facility unless enclosed in a container and carried in a manner which would not annoy other passengers.” The only exceptions include service animals or those affiliated with law enforcement.
It also goes on to say that if you don’t follow this, the “court may impose a fine not to exceed twenty-five dollars or a term of imprisonment for not longer than ten days, or both.”
Despite this rule, subway passengers have repeatedly found clever ways to bring their dogs on the subway. And because law enforcement in New York are fairly preoccupied with legitimate criminals, it’s safe to say that most get away with it. Luckily for us, they do, or else we would have a very limited selection of adorable photos of these clever pet owners and their precious dogs.
Below are 15 pictures of cute and clever ways dog owners have brought their pets on the subway, in ingenious ways of circumventing the “container” regulation.
15. Beach Tote Doggy
The biggest issue with this regulation is that it is not clear. It simply says “no person may bring any animal on or into any conveyance or facility unless enclosed in a container.” What kind of container? What size of container are we talking about? Can it be made of plastic? Will one get in trouble if there are no visible air holes, but it’s still made of fabric? The rule is not as specific as that of airlines, for which there are carry-on regulations for pets and their carriers, including how many are allowed per flight, and even stricter rules for how to put a dog on a plane in the cargo hold. So “container” can be interpreted to mean anything you want at this point. Above, we have a happy looking dog in a beach tote bag. He fits and can be carried, so he can ride on the subway. Problem solved!
14. Dog in a Big Green Bag
This guy looks all cozy and warm in his green bag on the subway! The dog looks pretty big (looks about the height of the seats on the subway) but the owner found a bag in which he was able to carry him. There are options to taking the subway in New York City, but some might be out of the question if you have a dog. Walking is always an option if you have to get somewhere, but East Coast weather can be wet and/or freezing at times and that might not be a choice if the destination is far. There is also Uber or Lyft, but both companies leave it up to the discretion of the driver whether or not to pick up someone who has a dog. If you get a string of drivers who don’t want to take a dog, you could be waiting a while for a car to get you! And of course, there are taxis, but apparently, they can refuse a passenger if they are “accompanied by an animal that is not properly or adequately secured in a kennel case or other suitable container.” It seems the best bet is the subway, and finding a bag that fits the dog, no matter how big, is important!
13. Big Dog Waiting for the Train
This is one patient dog! Not only is he waiting for the train like a good boy with his master, but he is being really calm about hanging out in the backpack. The subway seems like it’s going to be the fastest bet for these two, wherever they are going. The above ground options, meaning cars and buses, can sometimes be a lot slower than taking the subway. According to U.S. News and World Report, New York City has the 5th worst traffic in the nation. However, both the Fiscal Times and USA Today claim that the traffic there is the 3rd worst in the nation. So even though taking a cab or driving yourself may be an option, it could take forever. The dog in the backpack seems to be willing to be carried in any kind of bag on the subway since it’s going to be the fastest way to getting him to where he’s going!
12. Husky Who Loves Whole Foods
Don’t forget your reusable bags when heading to the market. Oh, or when bringing your dog on the subway too. Although it is unclear how much weight the reusable bags can hold, it seems that “one husky” could be new standard unit of measure for these bags. This adorable guy in the green cloth Whole Foods bag is staying warm and cozy while being carried by his owner. Also, the owner is not only recycling, but helping the environment by taking mass transit. However, not everyone would agree with this choice for carrying dogs on subways. David Thomas, a former New York City bus driver, said this while commenting on the “container” regulation for dogs on a web article: “Actually, the rule means an actual animal carrier, NOT a tote bag. When I drove a bus in NYC, I would not allow this.” Although many may not see this bag as an acceptable “container” for a dog, we can agree that it definitely is cute and creative.
11. Little Dog Traveling in Style
This sweet little dog is definitely living the high life. He’s moving through New York City in his rolling pet carrier, which looks like a little suitcase. Usually, one would think of roller bags as something you would bring on the plane as carry-on luggage. Well, they make them to carry your animals too, and the dog looks pretty excited about it! He’s got his towel and he looks totally comfortable, like he’s in first class. And not only does this thing turn into a dog car seat and a pet bed if you need it to, but you can pull out the straps and carry it as a backpack for the dog on the subway. This suitcase lookalike is basically the Optimus Prime of dog carriers. This could be the smartest carrier on this list, conforming most closely to what they probably meant when they stated the general term “container.”
10. Pit Bull in a Puppy Bag
This is bound to make you laugh or awe. This dog is so cute in there! He looks like he is good to go, all content knowing that he is going anywhere with his owner and best friend. This dog may be a Pitbull but as you can see, he definitely thinks he’s a poodle. Also, the bag has to be really strong to be able to carry this pup. Once again, it is hard not to get emotional about this image, this dog owner is willing to do all this just to make sure he travels with his four legged friend. But if babies can go on the subway like this and the dog is in an enclosed container, which meets the extremely vague regulation guidelines, then why not? This is definitely a creative way to smuggle your pet on-board the subway.
9. My Dog is My Baby
The little terrier pictured here is being carried like a baby. He’s in a little doggie-björn! I didn’t know what a baby björn was and I had to look it up. Basically, it’s a carrier that you fasten onto yourself to carry the baby so that it is either facing you or facing outwards. It apparently strengthens the close bond between the baby and parent. So I guess this guy is totally having a bonding day with his dog! There are dog versions of this that you can purchase, but there are lots of pictures online of people putting their puppies in regular baby björns and carrying them around. It definitely would be a container as you have to put the dog in it, and it would make carrying him super easy as your hands are then left free (hopefully to take multiple pics of yourself with the dog having a nice ride on the subway)!
8. Dog in a Sling
Here we have the beautiful Lisa with her little pup Gizzy waiting for the train in New York. These two are able to ride the subway together due to the cute little printed dog sling she has on. These clearly aren’t going to work out for something like a big husky dog, but for little dogs, they are perfect. An enclosed container you say? Well yes, this may work. It even has a pocket on it for the phone, keys, or whatever else you will need to remain in easy reach. It’s funny how a lot of these types of carriers (i.e. slings, baby björns, strollers, etc.) that are used for babies are now becoming way more of a normal carrier for pets. And it seems that there are reasons for these to exist because of regulations like the one for the subway. The good news is that we get to see cute photos like this one as a result.
7. Husky in a Tote Bag
This isn’t something you see every day — a big Husky dog in a white and blue tote bag! Clearly, you are going to need a big bag to fit a big dog if you are going to carry it on the subway with you. I’m just impressed that the dog is being cool about the whole situation. He’s sitting in his big tote looking out the window like he’s done this a hundred times. And if his owner is a frequent NYC subway rider and has gotten wind of the dog “container” rule, then he probably has ridden the subway this way numerous times. As mentioned earlier, lots of helpful sites have popped up to help subway riders with tips on how to carry their big dogs on the subway. This site explains where to find a tote bag like this one, or even how to modify an existing tote bag to make it work. When bringing your big dog on the train, it may be a little bit of a workout to carry him, but getting him to your destination with you at the end (and all of the pictures in the process!) is definitely worth it.
6. Little Dog Checking Things Out
Besides the fact that a dog accompanying passengers on the subway must be in a “container,” the regulation states that it has to be “carried in a manner which would not annoy other passengers.” This is sort of funny because how can they even measure that? What annoys one person may be something that goes totally unnoticed by another passenger. And when it comes to dogs, maybe all dogs annoy some people. Maybe only small dogs annoy some people, and big dogs annoy others; they can’t ask every single passenger these questions. But I don’t know how anyone can be annoyed by the picture of the little dog above! He’s super cute. He’s in his container and seems not to be bothering anyone as he sticks his head out to look around. Apparently he’s even so cute that people took pictures of his little face to post on their Instagram accounts.
5. Dog in a Travel Pet Carrier
A lot of helpful articles and blogs have been popping up to aid subway riders with the regulation and how to carry their pets. The cute dog in the picture above is named Henry, and he loves his carrier. His owner has a site called “thebrokedog.com” and she posted an article in August 2016 to help New York city subway passengers learn about the carrier she was using and the experiences she had. She has to bring Henry on the trains with her, so she posted some pictures and tips for travel that she’s picked up along the way, like bringing treats and toys for the dog so he doesn’t get scared of the noises from the city and the trains while he’s being carried. It’s pretty easy to find travel carriers like the soft-sided one she used, as well as dog treats. Check out your local pet store such as Petco, Petsmart your favorite mom and pop pet shop, or even try Amazon — they have everything for pets too!
4. Chihuahua in a Backpack
Check out this adorable little guy! His owners took him to Manhattan and his excited face and paw peeking out said it all! This is definitely a face that would not annoy me as a passenger on that train. It seemed that it would be easy enough to take this little one on the subway. He easily fit in a backpack and was clearly able to keep his head out to look around and take in the sights. Chihuahuas are one of the smaller breeds of dogs. They are generally between six and nine inches tall, although some of the biggest ones can get up to about fifteen inches tall. The usual weight of the breed is between two and six pounds. This makes them easy enough to take on the subway in any kind of container from a purse to a backpack or even a tote bag. He’s adorable.
3. Dog in a Coat
This guy loves his little dog so much he’s carrying it in his coat with him! It’s super sweet and he’s keeping him warm in the cold weather. A coat is probably not a designated carrier but in this case, it does work as he not only is carrying him in an enclosed “container,” but it’s cute for us to look at! It’s possible the owner couldn’t afford a carrier. Or maybe just didn’t care about the rule. He probably will get away without ever getting fined or kicked off the train for it too — apparently only 219 riders were issued summonses in 2015 for having unauthorized animals on subways and buses. I’m guessing that the police enforcing the container rules are too busy to enforce many of these and let a lot of them slide. Most New Yorkers can agree that police officers have more pressing matters on their plate.
This picture wins as the most adorable of the list. What is this little guy doing? Is he launching into space later? He’s all set in his little spaceship shaped backpack. He looks like a little astronaut! The first living creature to orbit the Earth was a dog found wandering the streets of Moscow named Laika. She took off in November of 1957 in the Sputnik 2 spacecraft. This little guy may not love his spaceship carrier too much, but the photo ops with him are undeniably adorable. The hole on the hard case backpack has a clear plastic globe that fits over it, completing the spaceship feel to it (and completely covering your puppy if it rains. There is also a “breathable cover” option which is just a screen, but definitely not as fun as the astronaut helmet-esque globe). Funnily enough, these carriers are labeled online to be for “pets” in general, but are mostly pictured with cats inside.
1. The Dog that Shops at Ikea
Who is the big winner tonight? The dog that shops at Ikea wins! As far as the “container” regulation goes, this one prevails across the board in all categories. Everyone knows that Ikea bags are like the Wolverine’s skeleton and are built with Adamantium and will never ever break, burn, or disintegrate. This carrier is built to last and won’t let the owner down and rip or break if she has to move quickly to catch another train. The dog is able to stand, sit, and lie down while in it. The dog is even somewhat insulated from the elements in it. And, God forbid it has an accident, there (hopefully!) won’t be any messes in the subway stations due to the non-permeability of the substance from which the Ikea bag is made. The owner and the dog have thought about form, function, and also humor when picking a container. The picture itself speaks a thousand words, and deserves all the possible likes and shares it can muster.