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Hotels Hire Animals to Greet Guests

Travelers Today       By    Carly Okyle

Updated: Jul 14, 2012 02:38 AM EDT

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Recently, we learned that animals like monkeys and potbellied pigs -- even miniature horses! -- would be appropriate flying companions for those who needed assistance on a plane. They are considered service animals. We also told you about Boo, the new spokesperson …er, spokesdog, for Virgin America. He will act as the Official Pet Liaison for the airline, meaning that he'll let customers know information about pet-friendly travel. Now, Conde Nast Traveler reports that hotels are using animals, too. They will be put in the role of "Greeter."

The animals -- whether they're dogs, cats, or birds  -- are making the lobbies of many high end hotels friendlier and more comfortable. In fact, Jennifer Wood writes that these particular employees have the "ability to change the ambiance of an entire establishment with a single tail wag."

The trend is taking off in all different locations, from New York to Los Angeles to St. Barts.

In Kirkland, Washington, a 2-year-old Labradoodle named Woody greets guests -- both the two-legged and the four-legged kind -- at The Woodmark. Pets are given a stuffed toy made n Woody's image upon check-in, and owners are encouraged to spend happy hour on Wednesday outside to meet other animal owners and let their pets mingle. For those who can't bear to leave Woody behind when they leave, they can follow him on Tumblr.

Over at the Hotel Triton in San Francisco, California, there's a mixed-breed dog named Romeo. Besides just adding general adorable-ness to the business, he helps out by opening doors, retrieving tips for the human workers, and helping deliver luggage to guests (aka: ride on the bell cart).

There's an element of practicality mixed in with the unique attraction of an animal employee. Often, the animals belong to the owners of the establishment. The hotels are a bit like daycare for the pets while the animals entertain guests as a blend of employee and mascot.

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