This clever and highly independent black Labrador rides city buses to a local dog park – without her owner.

Seattle, in the US state of Washington, is a pet-friendly city, and dogs are allowed on public transportation, with few restrictions, though normally they are accompanied by a human, says a spokesman with King County Metro Transit.

But Eclipse is not just any dog. Over the past few weeks, Eclipse has boarded a bus alone near her home in the Seattle neighborhood of Belltown, riding about four stops to a nearby dog park, says both commuters and transit employees.

The transit agency confirms the unusual tale, saying Eclipse’s journeys have been documented by both customers and drivers. “There’s no reason to doubt the veracity of it,” says spokesman Jeff Switzer.

Eclipse, the black labrador that's learned how to take the bus to the dog park all by herself.

Miles Montgomery, a radio show host on Seattle station KISW, was riding the bus when he noticed a black Lab in the aisle, eyeing the empty seat next to him. “She jumps up and sits down, and I start petting her and the guy beside me says ‘oh yeah, that’s that dog that rides the bus to the dog park every day, by herself,’” says Montgomery.

As the bus rolled on, Montgomery realised Eclipse was indeed alone and staring intently out the window. “She started to wag her tail when she saw her stop. Then she jumped down from the seat and she just ran off the bus, and she ran to the dog park.”

Montgomery was the first to report seeing the solo-riding pup on his radio show, and the story garnered a lot of attention – and disbelief. “It was really difficult to convince people that I actually just saw this happen,” he says.

Though she's by herself, Eclipse is never really alone as she loves interacting with fellow passengers.

Eclipse’s owner told local broadcaster KOMO he is OK with her independent activities. “We get separated. She gets on the bus without me, and I catch up with her at the dog park,” owner Jeff Young tells KOMO. “Probably once a week I get a phone call. ‘Hi, I have your dog Eclipse here…’ I have to tell them, ‘No, she’s fine.’”

Transportation officials say the story is odd but not a huge cause for concern. “She’d be safer if she could keep her owner on a leash,” says Switzer, with humour. – Reuters