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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » Pooch Express, anyone?

   
Author Topic: Pooch Express, anyone?
Henry Kisor
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A conservative columnist wants her blind dog to be able to ride Amtrak.
Posts: 2236 | From: Evanston, Ill. and Ontonagon, Mich. | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
smitty195
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Sorry, Charlie....this animal lover says a big NO to bringing Fido on-board. It's not a service dog, so that should be the end of conversation. SHOULD be...

Those of us with pet allergies and with lots and lots of experience dealing the public can tell you two things:

1) Allergies suck. Mine are so bad that I was forced to adopt out my second kitty cat a few years ago. Fortunately I only had him for 8 weeks and he got adopted out (to a huge house in a gated community where he gets bottled water and home-cooked food!). But aside from me going to the ER for an epinepherine (sp?) shot so that I could breathe again, there was nothing I could do so that I could keep the cat and keep my allergies under control. Lots of people are even more allergic than I am. And just imagine the cat hair/dog hair that will be in a Roomette or Bedroom afterwards--Amtrak isn't exactly known for being a 5 star operation.

2) Anyone with a large amount of experience with people will know right off the bat that this won't work. Fido could be a chronic barker. He could stink. He could have fleas. He could bite. How many times have you been over someone's house with a little yappy dog that humps your leg and you just want it to go away but the owner stands there and says, "Oh Pookie, come on now, you know better Pookie"--but does nothing? That will absolutely happen if people start bringing their dogs on-board.

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Henry Kisor
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What if pets travel enclosed in carriers (as the bill specifies) fewer than 750 miles in a single coach (not sleepers)? What if the coach could be at one end of the train so that people with allergies don't have to walk through it? Would that sufficiently ameliorate both the allergy and biting/leg-humping problems?

I'm not advocating this, just exploring the possibilities.

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smitty195
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If those rules were strictly enforced, and if Amtrak would accommodate the request of people with pet allergies to NOT be in the same coach as the animal, then that might work.

I'm not as sensitive to pet dander as a lot of others are, however, I always know the instant I walk into someone's house that has a cat. Not because of the smell, but because my chest starts to tighten up and I've got to grab my inhaler (a true lifesaver). I've had these allergies since I was a little boy, and unfortunately it did not go away as I got older like it sometimes will do. I am probably more "touchy" on this subject than non-allergy people because I know how scary (and of course, uncomfortable) asthma can be.

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Henry Kisor
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If this pet-car scheme worked, perhaps it would go a long way to alleviate the problem of people falsely claiming their dogs are service animals.That's a hard one for Amtrak, or any other public accommodation entity, to deal with.
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TBlack
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Now what we need to do is appoint the person who is going to find the extra coach that Amtrak will need for each of its trains every day. How many cars would that be? Oh, and who would pay for it. Does the Bill in Congress provide for funding or is this another "unfunded mandate"? No wait! I've got a better idea; cheaper too! We'll just use the existing manifest, 3 coaches on the Zephyr, right? Now one of them will be for animals and everybody else can squeeze into the other two cars. There, done! and no extra cost!
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HopefulRailUser
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As usual, the comments to the article are the most entertaining part of it. This is one of my favorites:

"I'm as much (or more) of a dog person as you'd ever want to meet, but really, doesn't Congress have better things to do with their time? On the other hand, if it distracts them enough to limit any further damage they might inflict"

And there were of course several mentions of the Romney method of transporting your dog.

I have to concur with the objections due to allergy problems. Years ago I watched my friend's child's eyes swell shut within minutes of entering my house which always has and always will contain one or more cats. Pretty scary.

--------------------
Vicki in usually sunny Southern California

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RRRICH
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As the article states, what about taking pets on airlines? That has appeared to work.

Smitty -- I can certainly understand your allergy concerns, but how do you deal with flying on an airplane and not knowing whether there might be a little dog in a carrier in the seat across from you?

The 750-mile limit and carrier regulations on AMTRAK, I think, would work.

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Henry Kisor
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Only slightly off topic: Many years ago, when my wife and I rode the Oslo-Bergen Express, we were taken with the "Barnesvogn," the car expressly designed for children, with a long playroom area full of toys and things to climb as well as a small video "theater" at one end. It's just a pipe dream but wouldn't it be nice to have one on each of the Western long distance trains during peak periods?

Not that Amtrak has a surplus of serviceable baggage cars, but if it did perhaps a few could be retrofitted for bumptious youngsters in the Barnesvogn fashion.

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notelvis
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From the title I thought that this thread was going to be about Greyhound.

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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Railroad Bob
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I think the ATSF would carry dogs, maybe cats with an extra fee for paying passengers. They were kept up in the baggage car in those animal transit boxes.

A Courier Nurse took me up there one summer to see a couple of cocker spaniels she was going to feed and water. I was about 8 years old, 1960 or so. But now the liabilities would be too high; if the animal were to expire for some reason, lawsuits would fly. I think the RR accepted these animals on a case-by-case basis, but the Santa Fe really did try to accomodate their customers, if they could.

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Railroad Bob
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quote:
Originally posted by Henry Kisor:
the car expressly designed for children, with a long playroom area full of toys and things to climb as well as a small video "theater" at one end. It's just a pipe dream but wouldn't it be nice to have one on each of the Western long distance trains during peak periods?

Henry, I remember there used to be a dedicated kid's area in one of the Amtrak coach baggage cars for awhile; I believe it ran mainly on the Starlights down in the space on the lower level.

No theater, but it did have games, toys, other kid-friendly stuff and was a popular little place.

The TA for that car kept a close watch on the area. If he/she was not available there was another designated "watcher." I'm thinking it was about the mid-90s when it was in operation, but it's long gone now. The OBS Chiefs made sure it was a safe environment and was never unattended.

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smitty195
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Yes Bob, you are correct. The kid's area has since been turned into a video arcade room. But there used to be toys and there was a TV mounted on the ceiling that played cartoons.

I don't know if the video games are kept up any more--I haven't looked in quite a while. If I knew how to post pictures here, I'd show it---but I've never figured it out.

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Iron Mountain
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I am a dog lover. I have had many dogs throughout my life. Having said that I must agree with Smitty that at this time pets and Amtrak is not doable. Now if only something could be done about out of control children and inept parents. On our most recent trip to KCY we had to endure two obnoxious 7 year old boys who were accompanied by a clueless adult. Mercifully they weren't on the train very long.
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