I called Congressman Jeff Denham’s office and was put on hold several times. Then I was referred to the DC office, a paid call, and placed on hold several more times. I said I was looking to help allow pets on trains.
In the end Evan told me it was unethical to speak to anyone outside their district in Modesto, CA. Hey, I’m writing a blog and they’ve already spoken to the Huffington Post and heaven knows how many lobbyists from outside the district. It’s August, they’re manning the office and would rather be on vacation than at work and don’t want to do any, I get it.
I am a former legislative analyst, bill writer and lobbyist and this is plain BS. Oh, Sen. Cohen’s office just had an answering machine, no-one on watch. Years ago when I was a lobbyist and everyone was on vacation, all our members and staff, I’d try to leave at 4:58 to catch the 5:03 train home every Friday. Of course the boss called at 4:55 as I was putting on my sneakers and asked to speak to everyone. She was on vacation the entire summer but harangued us because she could. I was a lobbyist doing paperwork while the legislature was out of session.
Anyway. I didn’t like the parameters of the Rail Act that provided a lot of money for Boston to D.C. and nothing for the rest of the country. Two years ago we spent $250 for someone to stay here with our dog and paid for a roomette on Amtrak through Chicago to Texas. It was supposed to be 24 hours, ended up 36 and we had to have family pick us up at an alternate destination. There were buses involved.
But if we had the cabin with en-suite bath we’d love to have our dog with us, outside of her crate. She’s only about 32 lbs. and won’t fit under an airplane seat. See, her grandma in Texas likes her there for Thanksgiving. We cook for days now. Last year it was 4.5 days, and our Zoe cleans crumbs we leave behind, accidentally of course, during our routines. It’s become a dance.
She makes cakes, potato rolls, brisket, iced tea for 50 and many other dishes. I’m known for spicy almonds and cashews, brussels sprout and cauliflower gratin, spinach balls and mincemeat tarts. Of course we do more than that.
It would be nice to be able to take a train, with a cabin with en suite bath with our dog in the cabin, getting out for a few moments at each stop, and getting there on time with no backward movement for a couple of hours and buses. I think Congress errs when it eliminates Chicago from its funding perspective and tries to help dog owners but makes them crated and baggage.
Does Congress ever wonder why so many airline passengers fake assistant dog status? It’s $149.99 and includes a doctor’s note for an Emotional Assistance Dog. I could probably fake that on Amtrak but will not do so.
If you allowed pets even just into rooms and roomettes Amtrak may get a following from paid travelers instead of feeding from the public trough. Dee
ps I know that on the southern routes passenger trains are required to go to sidings while freight trains pass. You have not only dismissed dogs, you’ve dismissed people. American citizens trying to visit relatives for the holiday.
I have tried to have Zoe certified as a therapy dog in hospitals, for real, not this silly thing with a fake vest. They will not take her, not because of her breed(s), personality or training but because she eats frozen raw food. I know she would be great in a nursing home but after over 11 years this is all she’ll eat and I will not change her diet because she is my priority and has digestive issues of her own that I have managed for years.