Canine companions were the customers of choice yesterday on one Calgary Transit bus.

Calgary transit provided one of its buses to help train future guide dogs, in co-operation with the Alberta Guide Dog Services.

“This experience is very valuable for us,” said Gill Briscoe a volunteer guide dog trainer with her black, lab Indy.

“When we get to do this it really helps us because when I’m getting on the bus normally it is more of a rushed procedure, this way we get to slowly do it and then the dogs understand a little more.”

Twelve dogs ranging from three to 18 months old got the chance to learn daily movements and sounds of Calgary transit.

“Some of (the dogs) have never been on a bus; the sounds, the smells and the ramp going up and down can be a little stressful. So we’re getting this opportunity to let them learn how to get on, get off, how to slide under the seat and just be comfortable with the whole process,” said Susan Deike, the communications manager for Alberta Guide Dog Services.

According to Calgary Transit it’s very important to allow these dogs to become familiar with transit vehicles for customers who are visually impaired.

Service dogs ride Calgary transit free of charge, while owners of other dogs will pay the regular fare of $2.50

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