Canada by train with a guide dog
Posted on Jun 26, 2013 by
My sister, Julie, and I are in the final stages of preparing for our cross-Canada train trip with Julie`s new guide dog, Sonia. Julie has had her less than a month and has been told by the guide dog agency that they don`t usually recommend a major trip this soon, but since it`s already planned and paid for, we should go ahead and enjoy ourselves.
I won`t be meeting Sonia until the day before we leave on our trip, but I understand that she does a great job while she`s working, but is otherwise a typical young dog. I have also learned that she is a bit "high strung." Julie will need to bring about 25 pounds of dog food because Sonia has been raised on a particularly healthy diet that is not available in stores. Fortunately, our load will lighten as we travel. We are putting aside our concern about the long hours between scheduled stops on the train and assuming that we will be able to work things out with conductors who are more experienced traveling with guide dogs than we are!
In this period prior to our trip, we have found major differences in the cooperation we are getting. I`ve got to say the Canadians are really coming out ahead. Amtrak tells me I need to ask the conductor on the train for assistance. VIA Rail has been extremely helpful every step of the way. Our hotels in Toronto (the Fairmont and the Victoria) have offered us late check-out and early arrivals as needed. The Hyatt Regency in Vancouver is somewhat helpful and the Westin in Seattle could care less.
A few questions: I note that in Winnipeg we have about four hours. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how we might spend that time? In Jasper we have about an hour-and-a-half. Again, any suggestions?
We will be spending a total of about 3 days in Vancouver. Any suggestion as to must-see`s, must do`s? We love to walk. Unless the weather is bad, we`d rather be outdoors. We also like good food at a good value.
We`ll also be renting a car and driving down to Seattle where I`ll drop Julie and Sonia off to visit friends and relatives. Then I`ll drive down to Cannon Beach, Oregon to visit old friends for the weekend before picking Julie and Sonia up for the drive back to Vancouver to catch our train back to Toronto, where we`re looking forward to our GTG with other .