November 2000
         
    

Toby sitting on a train seatOh Boy!  Another train trip. I use to be a little nervous on the trains, but I get along fine now that I understand all of the rules.

On one of my first trips I got in trouble. My folks didn't know that the French train system charges half fare for dogs of my size.  It was embarrassing when the conductor asked to see my ticket. I didn't have one. What did I know? The conductor scolded me, and thenToby with the train ticket checker we had to buy a ticket.

This last month we went to the train station to purchase train tickets in advance. This time the trip would be to Paris on the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse). My folks' tickets had seat numbers, but mine did not.  Where was I supposed to go?  I hoped it wasn't in that airplane crate again.

We boarded a local train for an hour, then we hopped off and got on the TGV. In each car there are a few seats that face each other with a table in between.  Perfect, four seats for the three of us. Lucky for us, no one was sitting there. We moved right in, and I made myself comfortable under the table.  In just two hours, traveling at speeds of over 180 miles per hour, we zoomed from Lyon to Paris.  In Paris we walked through the hustle and bustle of the Gare de Lyon. With suitcases and me in tow, we entered the taxi line. Then it happened.

Rejection! Four taxis wouldn't take us, because of me. I thought the French loved dogs. This never happened to me before, rejection for the first time in my life. I'm a pretty dog, with long flowing hair, and everyone always loves me. It was humiliating. I wanted to run and hide. Thank God, finally, a really nice taxi man said that if my folks wrapped me in one of their raincoats, so that my fur did not get all over his cab, he would take us.  It was a mortifying experience.

I have been listening to my folks talk about this taxi problem, and they are hard at work trying to come up with a solution for me.  Since we have been back home, they have been trying different outfits on me to see how they fit. The latest goofy idea is a white painters' suit made out of paper, the kind you can buy at the hardware store so that you don't get paint all over yourself when you paint the kitchen or whatever. Since I'm long in the body and short in the legs, the body fits a bit tight, and they have to roll up the arms and legs. They decided not to cut a hole for my tail, or for other important parts, and I'm not sure that's a good idea.

I worry that they are going to make me wear this out in public! I don't know which is worse, the embarrassment of rejection by the taxi drivers or the humiliation of wearing some silly taxi suit. That's what they are calling the paper outfit.

My folks are really nice, but sometimes they're a bit strange.