Thomas J. Madden, Chairman and CEO, Transmedia Group
Did you know Cats, rabbits, turtles and birds might soon be grounded!
I say that allowing only dogs to fly as emotional support for airline passengers calls for crisis management for cats, rabbits, turtles and birds.
Could such restrictions really fly? If so, then I’m in favor of launching a PR campaign to avoid a CATtastrophe!
Unless a PR program is commenced immediately, the ever-widening open-door policy of airline passengers bringing their emotional-support animals along with them on flights could soon be narrowing, which will provoke broad barking among cat lovers.
The U.S. Transportation Department recently announced plans to tighten rules around service animals. The biggest change probably will be that only dogs could qualify as emotional-support animals. For many, this would indeed be a CATtastrophe.
Sure, we all know dogs can be our best friends. Keep our spirts up. How cute, playful and loyal companions they are, while providing to many true emotional support. Bless them all. I like to see them giving emotional support to fellow fliers. All I ask is to just keep them a few rows away as I’m allergic.
But are cats not capable of keeping us calm? Sure they are. And aren’t turtles, especially sea turtles adorable and worthy of our protecting them on our airplanes, just as we do on our beaches, so they can comfort us in the air?
Noting the number of support animals has been growing dramatically in recent years, the airlines have lobbied to tighten not only the leaches on them, but the rules governing which of them can qualify as emotional support.
They’ve dared to impose restrictions on passengers who show up at airports with pigs, pheasants, turkeys, snakes and other atypical companions.
While I advocate PR for cats, rabbits and turtles, I’m not keen on flying next to someone with a snake on their lap. “Excuse me, do you mind? He’s slithering too close.”
Yes, I do see some limits. Imagine eating a turkey sandwich while next to you an outraged turkey watches you gobble.
What’s next, a support rodent? Will I hear how much Harry the Rat likes living in Boca Raton because in Spanish it’s a city named for his mouth?
Yes, when it comes to emotional support, some limitations are indeed in order.
The question is how far can support stretch? Could someone get comfort from a colony of ants? No, I would not recommend a PR campaign showing how ants are our closest live-in friends, especially in summer when you leave food around.
I would not publicize that the poor creatures are just hungry. Just doing what we do. Eating to stay alive! Nor would I post rhetorically on social media: “Wouldn’t you be antsy too if you didn’t eat?” So, let’s just keep them as infrequent house guests, not frequent fliers!
Let’s keep the PR focused on cats, rabbits, turtles and small birds, but please no turkeys.
Thank you, emotional support lovers. Now it’s time to enlist emotional media support for our emotionally supportive cats, rabbits, turtles and birds. Sorry snakes.
About the Author: Tom Madden is the CEO of TransMedia Group. His latest book, “Love Boat 78” is available on Amazon.