From the archives: This article was first published in The Press in July 2006. It was written by reporter Matthew Woodcock. A few months later, we reported that Ratty had found himself another local. A year later, he became a TV star in Japan. Sadly, Ratty died in 2010, prompting sadness but tributes from his owner.


WHEN Ratty the dog gets a thirst on he doesn't just lap up water from his bowl like other mutts.

Instead, the five-year-old Jack Russell terrier hops on to a Number Ten bus and heads on his own to the local pub.

Amazed owner Gary Kay, a farmer, from Dunnington, said Ratty has always been "barking mad" but this really took the dog biscuit.

The 41-year-old discovered that his pet had been waiting at the bus stop outside their farm, catching First's Number Ten service and getting off at The Black Bull pub in Hull Road, York, in search of titbits.

"I used to spend hours looking for him in the village, but then folk started telling me they'd seen him getting on the bus, " said Gary, who is also a member of Dunnington Parish Council.

He later discovered that a former barmaid at the Black Bull supplied Ratty with water and sausages when he got off the bus before driving him back to Dunnington after finding out where he lived.

"Someone from the Black Bull eventually found out my phone number so they rang and told me to go and pick up Ratty, " Gary said.

"I've been back to get him on five or six occasions."

Gary said pupils travelling on the Fulford school bus from Dunnington had also told him that Ratty regularly travelled with them.

York Press:

"I've had kids phoning me to say Ratty was on the bus with them!" he said.

"I've no idea how he gets home - he drives me mad."

Gary's ten-year-old son William, who looks after Ratty, said: "All my mates think he is a cool dog. He isreally funny and always going off with other dogs.

"He is my best mate."

Gary originally got Ratty to keep down his farm's rodent population, but he went lame after a car ran over his foot. The dog now accompanies him everywhere in his pick-up truck and tractor.

First commercial director Peter Edwards said: "Clearly Ratty found out that we recently stopped charging for dogs on our buses.

"There is no reason why he can't get on now. I've heard of dogs waiting for people to get off buses but nothing like this!"

Gary added: "Ratty has got great road sense and is a crafty little dog. It doesn't surprise me that he gets on the bus - that's just the sort of dog he is."