And now for a really sweet story from one of Melbourne’s outstanding luxury hotels. Robert Dawson, GM of Park Hyatt Melbourne, feels strongly that communication between guests and those working in his gorgeous hotels is helped by a ‘soother’. He thought having a hotel dog would give everyone something to talk about, but what kind of dog? A puppy would be unsuitable, as would many mature dogs who shed hairs, bark, run off, do what canines, at least some breeds thereof, do automatically.
The problem was solved by finding an extremely placid golden labrador who had been through full guide dog training. Mr Walker has a personalised bed just outside the hotel’s front door. Guests invariably stroke him, talk to him, ask about him and sometimes take him for walks (the delegates at this month’s Virtuoso Symposium who were staying at Park Hyatt Melbourne certainly founded him an additional ‘memory’). Hotel associates divert on their way in and from work so they can chat to him. Mr Walker is such a personality that he has been the inspiration for three books.
Here, above, is the back cover of the first one, The Tales of Mr Walker – a hotel dog with a nose for adventure. It, like its two successors, is by Jess Black, with illustrations by Sara Acton. I love one of the stories in this book about the guests Mr Walker does not like (the names, of course, are fictitious). There is a pompous minor royal, a celebrity chef, and a renowned concert pianist… All royalties from these books, by the way, go to Guide Dogs Victoria. Well done to this luxury hotel.