There is going to be one less dog at BlogPaws tomorrow, and it will be Toby.
I was hesitant to take him in the first place, because he tends to act up around other dogs lately. (Ironically, this new habit started after I took him to a Camp Bow Wow in New Jersey and one of the keynotes at BlogPaws is the founder of the company) But, I decided to take him anyway.
All along I planned to drive to D.C. It’s about a four hour trip, which is what I do every weekend because I work in Manhattan and live in the Adirondacks. It was no big deal.
|Toby sleeps while I book my train ticket to BlogPaws.|
Then my car broke down. Twice. So, I arranged to borrow a car from a relative so we could go. Then Hurricane Irene decided it was going to slam right into D.C. the weekend of BlogPaws. The news stations are of course freaking everyone out — including, and especially, my family.
For the past 24 hours all I’ve done is argue with members of my family that I still need to be at BlogPaws, especially since I’m speaking!
Not good enough. Instead, I was irresponsible, putting both me and Toby at risk, blah blah blah blah blah, especially if I drove. So, fine, the train it is.
Let me preface this with I love Amtrak. If I could take them everywhere I would, especially over NJ Transit. But, unlike NJ Transit, Amtrak doesn’t allow pets.
Amtrak does not permit pets on trains or Thruway services, in passenger areas of train stations, nor in checked baggage.
Service animals, however, are not considered pets, and are permitted in all areas where passengers are allowed. Service animals are animals that are trained to perform a specific task for the benefit of a person with a disability.
The following are examples of types of animals that are not permitted:
- Comfort animals – animals not trained to perform a specific task, but which are said to provide emotional support or to relieve anxiety simply by their presence (for example, by the passenger holding or stroking the animal)
- Pets – animals for which no claim of any service is made
- Search and rescue dogs* – they are trained generally, but not to assist a particular passenger
- Police dogs* (other than dogs brought on trains by the Amtrak Police Department)
Totally stinks, right?
It’s actually the same thing for most rental car companies. When I broke down the first time two months ago, the woman at Enterprise had me sign something saying I wouldn’t have a dog in the car. I
completely almost flipped, explaining how I was stranded and someone should have told me this before they handed me the keys on a Saturday 20 minutes before they closed. They ended up “making an exception.”
[By the way, this is not the end of the Enterprise story. My goal is to get that changed, or at least get them asking the about pets when you call to book the car]
Flying was an option, but it was way, way too expensive. I mean, the ticket, since I’m booking right before is expensive, too, but it’s not nearly as bad as what it would have cost to rent a car or fly. So, Toby unfortunately will not be joining me, but I will be there, but he is letting me use his Twitter handle — @toby_pup — during BlogPaws.
With a sad face, I am looking forward to seeing everyone! Safe travels 🙂