Aby-a-Day – May 23: Taking care of business

Last Tuesday, Jacoby and I had another therapy visit at RISD.

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We took the commuter rail there, as usual, and it was an uneventful ride.

However, on our way back, we missed the MBTA commuter rail train (which freely allows pets) by two minutes – and the next train to Boston wasn’t for another 2 hours and 20 minutes! Not only that, but everything at the Providence train station was closed by 8pm. we were looking at almost two and a half hours sitting in an almost deserted train station!

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I noticed there was an Amtrak train to Boston due at 8:45. I know that, according to all the official rules, pets are not allowed on Amtrak at all. Still, the two hour wait was pretty daunting, so I asked if there was any way I could take Jake on the Acela. I was told that “Comfort Animals” (these are the words the Amtrak employee used) were allowed and as long as I had proof, the conductors couldn’t question it. I said, “Well, he’s a therapy cat, is that the same thing?” and she said, “He needs to be a Comfort Animal.” Ah, okay. Semantics it is, then.

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Well, we were actually in Providence for a therapy event, and we were all decked out in our therapy “uniforms” with all our tags and credentials. $40 was a small price to pay to save over 2 hours waiting in an empty train station, so we got on the train, and it was a great – and fast – ride.

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Of course we had Jake’s tank of a stroller, so there was nothing “stealthy” about our train ride. When I came on board pushing a big yellow pet stroller, the conductor started to say something, but once I showed him our ID badges, he was completely fine with us. He even waved us into Business Class! None of the passengers (mostly businessmen on their way home from meetings in NYC) seemed to mind, either.

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When we first got on, there wasn’t a seat next to the open space I could park the stroller. I was going to leave Jake in his stroller, but he didn’t like me being across the aisle from him. I took him out and let him sit on the seat next to me and he was completely fine with that.

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He settled in and rode quietly…

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…except for when he got up to look out the window!

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Later on, we moved to the single seat next to where we parked the stroller, and Jake had a little shelf all to himself.

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He liked that a lot, because he could see better from there.

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But I did find it interesting that the Amtrak ticket agent specifically said (and stressed) that “Comfort Animals” were allowed – she did not ever say “Service Animals.” The more you know…