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Catie Copley: Canine Ambassador at the Copley Plaza Hotel

We were about to enjoy an evening of rejuvenation at one of Boston's historic and elegant hotels after a busy day in the city. As we entered the lobby of the Copley Plaza, the laughter and smiles were in stark contrast to the serious expressions of those going about their business outside. By the time we reached the front desk, we'd found the source of amusement. There in the lobby, near the St. James Street entrance to the hotel, was Catie Copley cheerfully welcoming guests. When she's not busy, she relaxes on her fluffy bed amidst the crystal chandeliers and marble walls and columns of the grand hotel lobby.

Catie is the hotel's Canine Ambassador, greeting guests, offering companionship for lonely travelers, support to those afflicted with canine deprivation, and escorting those who would like to take a stroll with someone who knows the city well. She has become so popular that some guests call well in advance to be assured her companionship. She will visit and add her own personal touch to meetings in the hotel upon request and is actively involved in many charitable projects.

Catie was originally trained to be a seeing-eye dog, but developed cataracts before she was able to follow that occupation. She then took her talents to the hospitality industry, offering canine therapy to those in need. The hotel's concierge manages Catie's busy appointment calendar, and she has her own business card, e-mail address, and brochure of favorite walks or runs.

After our visit, I emailed Catie to learn more about her and her work. I would like to share her comments with you.

Question:

How long have you been working at the Copley Plaza? Do you know of any other Canine Ambassadors? Have you considered any other careers?

Catie:

I have worked at the hotel for almost two years. There are other canine ambassadors at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver.

Morgan, Mavis, and Holly are my counterparts there. I love the hospitality business and wouldn't want to work anywhere else.

Question:

Would you encourage other young Labrador Retrievers to pursue a career in the hotel hospitality industry, and, if so, how should they best prepare for this? What are your favorite aspects of the job?

Catie:

I would encourage any young well-behaved dog to seek a career in the hospitality industry. I love meeting new people and I get a tremendous amount of attention, which is great. It's wonderful knowing that I help create memories for our guests and put a smile on their faces.
Question:
What are your favorite leisure time activities and interests? Do you reside at the hotel or go home at the end of the day?

Catie:

I come to work everyday with Jim Carey, our Director of Cencierge. I live with Jim and his family and take the T [Note: the T is part of the Boston subway system] every day to work, which I really enjoy.

I love to play with my family at home; we have a great pyrenes and cat as well as three boys (ages 16, and four-year-old twins) so there's always lots to do.

Question:

I would not want to be so presumptuous as to inquire about your age. However, any information you would like to offer for inclusion in a story would be most welcome.

Catie:

I just turned four years young in December.

Kudos to the pet-friendly Fairmont Copley Plaza for offering services beyond our expectations. The hotel was the recipient of the Massachusetts Lodging Association 2004 Stars of the Industry Award for Guest Relations.


An avid traveler with an interest in international relations, Linda Fasteson views travel as the best way to better understand the people and places around us. Linda is a member of NATJA and a contributor to Travelworld International Magazine, Offbeat Travel, So Go Now, Real Travel Adventures International, to CNHI newspapers, and is the Contributing Feature Writer on travel for the wire served Explore Magazine, a monthly magazine for active adults.

Photos courtesy of the Copley Plaza and Linda Fasteson

2006