We’re travelling back in time to when Baymax went on his very first trip. I wanted to include this because it was a unique trip that we planned over a weekend to focus on his training. I thought going into some detail on how we handled him travelling for the first time might be useful help for those training service dogs themselves.
We kept the trip low key, traveled to a familiar city (that’s pretty dog friendly), and notified every location we went to before travelling that we had a service dog in training to make sure they were comfortable with us. If you are training a service dog, a lot of places are open to allowing them in their facilities (provided they are potty trained, have their shots, and are relatively well behaved). I have found that more places than I thought were willing to accommodate us and understood our needs. We even opted to stay at a pet friendly hotel (we will always opt for pet friendly hotels in the future, and I’ll talk about that in a separate post) in case there were any issues with him. We let the hotel know our unique situation, and despite the fact that he was not a full fledged service dog (yet!) they waived their pet fees for us.
I grew up in Boise, Idaho so we opted to travel there since it’s a very familiar place to me. It’s also an easy drive from where we currently live. Baymax was a trooper on the 5ish hour drive. He mostly was interested in napping. In the car, Baymax is trained to sit in the back seat with his own clip in seatbelt. He also knows the difference between “vest on” and “vest off” behaviors. On long drives he’s given the command to be “vest off” unless we stop, that way he can relax, nap, or play with a few toys as he wants. When we drive, Baymax only goes potty when we do, so we make good time.
Most of the trip mostly consisted of visiting local shops, parks, and restaurants. We had no problems, aside from the occasional person interested in playing with Baymax. Every location had typical accommodations that you would expect. While at the park, we would give Baymax his release command for some play time. I am a firm believer that even though he’s a medical device, he’s still a living and breathing creature with emotions. And like all of us, he needs a break and compassion too!
Boise is a really friendly place for the most part. We stayed at the local Super 8 in the interest of saving money on the hotel, plus like I’ve said, they’re pet friendly. Most of the hotels with the Wyndham group are very accessible and helpful, and this was absolutely the case at the Super 8. The rooms were recently remodeled and we were pleasantly surprised by both the cleanliness and the comfort at the hotel. I would absolutely recommend them for a budget (and disability friendly) trip!
There are a few unique attractions in Boise, although it lacks a lot of the usual museums and other attractions you may find in a big city. It’s a fantastic place if you want to relax and move at a slow pace. If you’re an outdoors kind of person there are plenty of unique hikes and places to explore. There are also some lovely quiet parks and a long paved trail that’s on the edge of the river called the Greenbelt.
I grew up eating at some of the local restaurants there, so I might be biased to what food is good there. We usually eat at Tango’s which serves fantastic Argentine empanadas, and the local Mongolian BBQ (my favorite is the one off of Fairview Ave in the Shopko Plaza). Both places are locally owned and run and are favorite comfort food locations. Both also were very friendly and helpful with my disabilities and accommodating to my service dog! We also love the late night pizza place, The Pie Hole. We didn’t have single issue with getting accommodations or accessibility in any location. That was also true of the local grocery stores and the coffee shops we visited.
The only attractions I typically take my friends to are the lovely parks and the Idaho State Penitentiary. The Penitentiary is a unique visit, and especially exciting if you are a Ghost Adventures fan or an aficionado of exploring haunted places. I love both, and often find myself gravitating toward the spookier attractions in any city. The Penitentiary is pretty accessible, although if you were needing a walker or wheelchair the grounds are unpaved and the flooring inside the buildings can be uneven. There are also upstairs portions that I don’t think had wheelchair access. That being said, the majority of the grounds were accessible. Staff is friendly, and were super helpful with Baymax. I don’t know if it was the strange grounds or the history of the location or the ghosts that supposedly haunt the building, but it’s certainly a place that I would make sure your service dog can handle!
There’s something about the vibe there that had Baymax on edge. We didn’t have any issues with him (which is especially surprising because this was a training trip), but he was certainly uncomfortable the entire time we were there. He did whine a few times especially in some of the “scarier” places, but since it’s a self guided tour through a huge facility, it wasn’t an issue. If you’re into the paranormal, interestingly enough, Baymax was more hesitant and only whined in the areas that are reported to be more paranormally active places including the death row building and solitary confinement.
I think that about sums up our short, first trip with this little guy! If you have questions, comments, or want more details or information, feel free to comment or reach out to me through my contact page!
Until we meet again, happy adventuring!