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Paws Opening Doors - Episode 15 Recap

Episode 15: Paws Opening Doors | Why "Emotional Support Animals/Dogs" are no longer allowed on airplanes with subject matter expert, Abby Volin, of Opening Doors.

In Episode 15, Abby and Isabel dive into the emotional support animal conundrum. Abby hates the term "emotional support animal" and explains that it's not only a misnomer, but has also become a punchline. Abby doesn't know why the highly incorrect term has taken off but feels that it further stigmatizes those with disabilities, something she works tirelessly to prevent. She, instead, insists that the term for animals that do not qualify as "service animals" is "assistance animals" and she coined the term Animal Accommodation Law to ensure that companies, government entities, and people with assistance animals can work together to accommodate these important animals and their invaluable role in many Americans' lives.

The episode dissects what makes a service animal a service animal and contains tons of information that we all need to consider when looking for housing and engaging in air travel with our pets, especially due to recent changes in the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA,) which has limited the species of animals that may be allowed on board access as assistance animals.


With her experience as an attorney and policy specialist as well as a lifetime animal lover, Abby fills a unique niche by integrating the legal, policy, and animal management aspects needed to craft safer, progressive, and smarter pet policies that increase revenue and hold tenants accountable. As a nationally recognized subject matter expert on animal accommodation law, she uses her advocacy and creative problem-solving skills to facilitate positive outcomes and supportive environments for people and pets.

Prior to starting Opening Doors, Abby worked as a policy specialist at The Humane Society of the United States and began her career as a litigator. She has extensive experience developing programs, forging strategic partnerships, employing innovative solutions, and conducting public policy work at the local, state, and federal levels.

Abby has been working in the animal welfare and policy sphere since 2009; but, it was her passion for working with people and business acumen that inspired Opening Doors. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, ABA Journal, Bloomberg, and Cosmopolitan magazine.

Opening Doors is a legal and consulting firm that assists property managers and residents with their pet-related housing problems. We also specialize in animal accommodation law. Their goal is to facilitate conversations that result in good pets, safe communities, and happy neighbors.



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