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Journal / Culture

Bobby Goes to the Dogs

Sure, lots of other hotels allow you to bring your dog with you as a guest (often with some restrictions and extra fees). But how many hotels have a dog who lives on site? Well, the Bobby Hotel, for one.

Hairy, Bobby Nashville’s official Dog-In-Residence, came to the hotel to live, Eloise style, in 2022 from the Nashville Humane Association. The retriever mix is the start of Bobby’s new ongoing resident dog ambassador program that demonstrates that the hotel is inclusive of everyone, including four-legged friends. But it isn’t just about having a dog live in the hotel. The program aids people in need of a service dog and helps raise awareness of the amazing animals available in shelters, including the non-profit Nashville Humane Association.

Hairy isn’t the first dog to live at the Bobby. Sasha, a shepherd mix, lived at the hotel for three years, greeting guests as they came in the lobby. Her face even appeared on a hand towel that hung in every guest room. Sasha was adopted by one of the hotel crewmembers that had worked with Sasha and grew to love her, so it was time for the hotel to find a new four-legged crewmember and to expand its Dog-In-Residence initiatives.

Hairy and future dog ambassadors will be trained to become service or therapy dogs, and then will be placed in forever home with someone in need. Trainers help the Dog-in-Residence to live in their unusual circumstances, getting used to daily elevator rides, and people coming in and out all day with wheeled suitcases and pets of their own.

“This is an amazing platform to show people all the types of good dogs and cats that are available for adoption through animal shelters,” says Laura Baker, executive director of the Nashville Humane Association. “Seeing the animals outside of the shelter environment helps us combat the stigmas that shelter animals sometimes have.”

The Nashville Humane Association sees 1,500 cats and 2,500 dogs come through its doors annually, so anything that helps them find good homes is welcome. Nashville Humane is a private non-profit agency that doesn’t receive government funding, so raising money to buy all that pet food and pay for medical care is helpful. The Bobby can help with that, too. Year-round, the Bobby sells a branded plush dog bone (in all the guest rooms and at the front desk) For $25 you can take your pup at home a souvenir and also make a purchase that benefits the Nashville Humane Association.

In warm-weather months Bobby hosts Yappy Hours and other events so that more shelter animals can meet prospective adopters.

Of course, if you aren’t in the market to adopt an animal, you can still give Hairy head scratches while you are visiting. And if you have your own pet traveling with you, you can expect pet beds, bowls and treats in your room at no additional cost.