Saturday, June 23, 2018

Moving target

A few weeks ago Chris Goodier and I submitted what we hoped would be the final manuscript of JOURNEYS WITH WORKING DOGS to the University of Illinois Press. We had hoped there wouldn't be any more work to do on it before the copy editors had their way with it.

Sadly, we'll have to alter a small passage in the book because this week Delta Airlines "upgraded" its service dog policy—and the other airlines tend to follow in lockstep. No "pit bull like" dogs allowed, Delta has declared, even as trained service dogs.

Of course the service dog industry is up in arms about this edict, because pit bulls—and dogs that look like them—have made excellent service dogs, and banning an entire breed and type is, the industry says, unfair and unrealistic.

Many service dogs are rescue animals—and pit bulls are the most common dogs to be found in shelters. There are a great many pitties and pittie-types working already for people with disabilities, especially those who must deal with PTSD.

What's more, the U.S. Department of Transportation is presently working on revamping the Air Carrier Access Act with considerable input from the service dog industry and may issue new rules at the end of the summer. One strong possibility is making the ACAA service dog rules identical with those of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which forbids breed discrimination.

Chris and I do not take sides in the book about the breed issue (although I personally love pitties, having had Hogan, a half-Lab, half-pit bull, who was a fine pet and companion).

But we have to wait until the entire drama plays out before we can fix that passage in the book. Our "final final final" deadline isn't until October 1, so we have time.

Writing a travel book is a sweaty exercise of keeping one's eye on a moving target.

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