Brad and I were invited to a service animal meeting in Washington DC recently. We had a lot of things scheduled around the time, so we only had time for one day up, one day there, and one day back.
We took the train there and back because flying is so much of a hassle. When we got on the train to DC, there were two beverage carts and a trash can in the wheelchair accessible space. One beverage cart and the trash can were moved so that Brad could fit in. But they were moved to the footspace of the other seats for people with disabilities who need extra space… when people needing those seats got on, it was like a game of tetris!
The trip to DC was pretty uneventful, except that there was no place for Hestia to potty at the potty stops! No grass or rocks or anything except concrete. So Hestia had to hold it for the entire train ride. That was about 8-10 hours each way! I am thinking of contacting Amtrak and asking for relief areas like they have in airports.
When we got to DC, we went to take the subway to our hotel. However, the elevator at our stop was broken, so we had to get off a stop early and walk it. It wasn’t a horrible walk, only like 20 min, but it was very hot and humid (raining on and off), I had a blister, and we were carrying all our bags. I was not a happy camper!
When we got to the hotel I pretty much collapsed. Brad was feeling a bit better than me because he was in his chair, so he went out to Chipotle a block away and got us some dinner. Yum.
When we woke up the next day we were soooooo tired. Luckily the meeting wasn’t until the afternoon so we got to sleep a little more. On our way to the meeting, Hestia pooped in front of the White House. Of course Brad got a picture!
The meeting went very well, and we were very glad to have gone. Both Brad and I contributed a lot to the meeting, and I noticed that while Brad was speaking, the people who called the meeting kept nodding a lot.
We sat next to a Deaf woman and her black lab service dog. I was able to compliment her dog using my limited sign language, and we had a short conversation in ASL! I was very happy I got to use my ASL, it is a really beautiful language and since I’m losing my hearing, it will be really helpful for me to become fluent in it.
There were probably 5 or 6 service dogs at the meeting. All were labs except for my Hestia. So when I introduced myself, I described Hestia in all her googley eyed glory for the people who are blind or low vision.
We had met one person who was at the meeting before on one of our other DC trips. She had a new SD! It was great seeing her again and meeting her new dog. We got to talk with several people after the meeting, too.
Since we had limited time in DC, we headed out to see some monuments after the meeting. We started at the Washington monument and took a trip around the monuments in that area. I got a blister, and it was really hot and humid so I was miserable walking around so much. But I made it around to all the monuments that we had planned to see thank goodness. We especially spent a while at the Wall to get pictures for my friend Deb.
My favorite memorial was the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. It had a great statue with an injured man being helped by women medics. Very moving. I was glad I stuck it out to see that statue, it was by far my favorite of anything I’ve seen in DC.
You can imagine how extra exhausted we were after all of that walking! But we had a train to catch the next day, so we headed to the train station in the morning, got some more Chipotle (they are great for our dietary restrictions) and brought it on the train.
This time there was only one beverage cart in the way and one trash can, and the attendant moved both out of the way! I took my shoes off and put my feet up to relax while I read Twilight. A woman across the aisle from me thought this was very rude and started yelling at me! She yelled at me twice! I stood up for myself though, and didn’t let her ruin my barefooted fun.
Brad isn’t done with the pictures yet, so this picture is just a sample photo. I will post all the photos later on. This is a picture of Hestia and me in front of the Washington Monument. I am wearing my blue butterfly dress, and Hestia is naked (it was SO hot!).