So, I realize it’s been much too long since my last journal entry. . .no excuses, though, with things changing from here on out.
That said, in reading through the last entry about my much anticipated Christmas at the wonderfully dog-friendly Cary Arms (which was amazing), it got me to reminiscing about my days of taking the train with Blue – my very first train journey with Blue was to the Cary Arms. Portland, having just arrived, was much too young for travelling to hotels. Blue, on the other hand, was very jealous and in need of some dedicated attention. Until Portland, he was the only pup in our lives.So, kissing two of my three boys goodbye, Blue and I set out from London Paddington on a three hour train journey to Newton Abbot (Blue’s hometown), where we would then disembark for a weekend devoted to spoiling Blue at the fabulous boutique bolthole on the South Devon coast.A bit apprehensive about how Blue would react to the train (he isn’t the keenest car traveler), he took to it as a fish takes to water. As we pulled out of London Paddington, he stretched out underneath the table for a good snooze, only stirring when the vibrations from the engine would shake a crumb close enough for him to catch a whiff of or other travelers would stop to pay him some attention – Blue is always willing to put on a smile for some ogling. People would walk by and be amazed – with just the tip of his tail peeking out into the aisle, there would be smiling and pointing, the quick stop followed by a back-track to look underneath and then an enthusiastic petting. Kids started seeking us out whilst the couple across the aisle were delighted to feed Blue pocket crumbs left over from past dog treats for their own pooches. Passersby would relate stories of their own dogs, tales of train travel or just the general loving details. Blue was a showman for the attention, and content to sleep otherwise, giving me a gentle gaze every now and again just to confirm all was right in the world.It’s amazing how many people don’t know you can travel on the train with your dog. Indeed, I didn’t know for years until I finally spotted someone just like others the others now spotting me and realizing the possibilities. This is always part of the interaction when with Blue – people would say they didn’t know, ask how much it cost, asked whether it was difficult to arrange.
Unbelievably, bringing a dog on a train is as simple as can be. You don’t need to book anything, pay anything (usually, two dogs are allowed for free), sit in a special spot. You just book your ticket as if you were travelling solo and then hop on just as normal (although don’t expect anything normal as you’ll probably be the center of attention).A great love was born that day – the love of travelling the train with Blue. We did a lot of train travelling when Portland was just a wee pup and Blue in need of alone time. We eventually became old hands – short trips, long trips, waiting on platforms, how to discreetly step out for a “break”. No matter where we happened to be, people were always keen to interact and often tell us about their own dogs. This, in part, is what I love most about having Blue with me on the train (other than having him by my side) – the sharing of the love of a dog with complete strangers.I’d love to hear your stories and, of course, any tips. . .if you have a moment, drop me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will then share them in a few weeks’ time.
– Erin, xx