Federali vs. Service Dog

The point  of going to El Fuerte was to catch the train to the Copper Canyon.

Now, we had been planning on that train ride for a LONG TIME. Since it’s expensive (for us), we’d been saving specifically for that trip. We had read about it, purchased maps, researched the train  and actually put more care and thought into it than we had for the Grand Canyon.

The economy train goes through El Fuerte just a couple of times a week; other than that, it’s the first class train. There’s no way we could afford the first class, so it had to be the economy one (which isn’t cheap either). So we arrived in El Fuerte, found camp (in an elderly couple’s backyard), and waited the couple of days to catch the economy train.

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The train was supposed to leave the station at 8:00am. We rose early, all of us really, really excited. Mac-Q had woken up with “choo-choo!” out of his mouth first – he’s two after all, at that age.

meriah nichols sinaloa-9We packed for an overnight trip, got completely ready and assembled, walked on over to the station. Waited. I took some photos.

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The train arrived, a huge powerful one, everyone flocked up to different cars.

We went to one first and since we were going to Creel, they pointed us to a different car. Then a different one. At last we were in front of the right car, ready to buy our tickets and board.

The ticket master was waving us forward when a “federali”, a federal police officer, came up with his machine gun and told us that dogs were not permitted.

I wish I could write out the exchange that went from there, between Mikey and the guy, but I can’t. Suffice to say that he didn’t have anything written that said no dogs, the ticket master was okay with us getting on board with Kianna but the federali basically didn’t like the look of us and said, “no”.

We didn’t have my service dog ID card on us, we had nothing that was “proof” that Kianna is a service dog (other than her vest, which she was wearing), not that it would have mattered anyway. Mexico doesn’t have laws allowing service dogs into public spaces.

So the doors to the train closed and it chugged off as the kids and I sat down on the tracks and bawled.

And bawled.

And bawled.

And then we trudged back over to our truck and tried to figure out what to do.

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Wait till Monday and go to the train office to get my service card authorized or a letter saying that it would be okay to bring Kianna on board? But what if we went through all that and then waited for the next economy train (- which only runs a couple of times a week, remember) and ended up with the same asshole federali who just didn’t like the look of us? He could just as easily find some other reason to not let us board.

Or should we try again and hope that he wasn’t working that day? The ticket master would have let us board.

Or should we try and drive to Creel and then catch the train from there?

In the end, we decided to skip the Canyon on the way south. If we return to the U.S. via Arizona, we can make a detour to the Copper Canyon from the North much more easily than to drive from the South. The roads from the North are better.

So we headed south again.

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Meriah
Meriah Nichols is teacher and artist who lives in a yurt off the grid. She is deaf, has 3 kids (one with Down syndrome) and a lot of chickens. She writes about travel, disability, and getting dishes done. She likes her tea Earl Grey and hot.
Meriah

@meriahnichols

#deaf mom, teacher & #disability activist, living in a yurt #offthegrid. 3 kids (1 with #downsyndrome), a camera and a lot of chickens. Never a dull moment
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3 Comments

  • Hey, I got an idea and went to look. Probably you have already considered this, but just in case…. I went into Apps on my ipad and there are a gazoodle of communication boards. I saw a couple that might be helpful. Might be worth checking out. Works on my iPhone too, and I suspect there are likely ones for Android. So, the other thing I thought about was taking some cardboard an making your own, because every family has their own shorthand. Even 4 things on your homemade communication board would help Moxie and you. Like I said just something to think about. Three in particular is such an important time for speech development. Hugs. Sorry that you had to go to plan “B” on the train. Isn’t it spooky how intimidating to be in countries where police carry rifles, etc? In Italy, if an officer shoots and kills you, there is no filing of charges. No fuss about civil rights.

    Well, safe travels.

    • That’s really disappointing. I know we’ve wanted to take the train to the Copper Canyon, too, but of as yet haven’t due to expense. The train, the overnighting for 9 of us just gets too costly. But SOMEDAY!!

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