7 Hotels With Adorable Animal EmployeesVacation getaways with resident animals that are an integral part of the operation.
Nothing makes us feel more at home than cuddling up with an animal companion. At these seven vacation getaways, resident animals have become an integral part of the operation, welcoming guests and even pitching in to help make a pending marriage proposal highly memorable.
The Peabody Memphis Hotel, Memphis
Nobody does Southern hospitality quite like the ducks at The Peabody Memphis Hotel -- not even Elvis "The King" himself. This Tennessee retreat takes its five Mallards very seriously: For 70 years, the property has had an onsite Duckmaster, who feeds and trains the creatures. (Honorary Duckmasters have included Oprah and Joan Collins, to name a couple.) The ducks spend the bulk of their time in a Duck Palace on the rooftop, which includes a scale replica of the hotel. Every morning, the Duckmaster leads them down a red carpet to the lobby's fountain, where they splash and swim. At 5:00 P.M., they're marched back upstairs to their private digs.
Farmhouse Inn, Sonoma, Calif.
Some people go to Sonoma for the wine. Others are all about the cats. At least, that's the case at the Farmhouse Inn, where the barn rooms are high-end country chic, and the in-house restaurant is Michelin-starred. The family-owned hotel acquired its first two feline mascots accidentally, when a couple of feral cats showed up and started to mouse the property. Once they passed away, the owners called a local kill shelter and rescued two kitties. One of them, Charlotte, greets all the guests -- but really gravitates toward those who clearly like cats. The inn's newest addition, Jasper, arrived only a few months ago, but he's already clawed his way into everyone's heart.
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Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, Maui
Most people associate penguins with cold weather, but visitors to the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa on Kaanapali Beach know better: African Black-Footed Penguins hang out amid the lush greenery and bronze sculptures in the hotel's expansive, open-air lobby. The hotel also has another winged mascot: a blue-and-gold Macaw named Roger (by the way, this bird is a female -- oops!) who chats up guests -- especially blonds -- and loves to dance.
Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa, Hudson Valley, N.Y.
It's just a 90-minute train ride from New York City, yet the Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa is the epitomy of a bucolic paradise. Not only does the property's working farm supply the spa and restaurant with herbs and produce, but the staff also raises chickens (for eggs), peacocks, goats -- and rescued llamas and alpacas. Before the recession, it was trendy to raise such critters in the region, but once the economy tanked, many of these animals became a casualty. So Buttermilk Falls' owner, Robert "Bob" Pollock, stepped in and adopted some of the llamas and alpacas. They're sheared annually, and Pollock is now in talks with an artisan group to use the wool for weaving. In the meantime, two adorable babies have been born for guests to coo over.
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Not many leading ladies have four legs, lots of hair and, well, dog breath. But that hasn’t stopped Chris Naka from posing alongside office pooch Wrigley in a series of pictures recreating iconic scenes from romantic movies. Naka, 30, told Today that the fun began when he and his creative coworkers at the Blue Man Group in Chicago decided to use the last few minutes of their lunch break to pose their boss’ dog with him in a scene from Titanic. And an idea was born. “Someone printed a bunch of our early pictures, posted them in the green room, and folks from all over the theater started sending emails with movie suggestions,” he said. Check out some of their funny (and bizarre) pictures here.
We talked to 122 veterinary professionals and got their take on which canines are the smartest of them all.
This year, Animal Planet is pulling out all the stops for Puppy Bowl X. The tenth-anniversary extravaganza promises penguin cheerleaders, canine first responders singing the National Anthem, and special appearances by Lil Bub and Keyboard Cat, who will be performing a piano-filled rendition of Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” during the kitten halftime show. Best of all, continuing the tradition of showcasing adoptable pets, all the puppy players are up for adoption or have already found forever families. We’re hoping that the pups are watching themselves on TV from the comfort of their new homes. The main event starts at 3 p.m. EST on February 2 on Animal Planet. As you wait for the most anticipated event of the season, check out the starting lineup of some of our favorite Puppy Bowl players. And be sure to head to the Animal Planet site later this month to create your own Puppy Bowl fantasy league. Out of 11 all-star puppies, participants will be able to pick a fantasy team of three players.
Walter the otter is settling into his new home
We recently listed the top five smartest dog breeds as chosen by veterinary professionals, and, unsurprisingly, our readers were quick to comment on other breeds that show enormous intelligence. Now we're sharing another result from that survey of 122 veterinary professionals. We aren't going to say "least intelligent" because all dogs have their own kind of genius, right? But we will say that in the opinion of the surveyed veterinary professionals, the breeds named here aren't necessarily known for their cleverness even if they are known for having many wonderful characteristics. Of course, please know that in no way are we saying these dogs aren't smart or aren't trainable. They just might not keep up with the Border Collie in their obedience class. And that's OK — whether our pets sit at the front of the class or flunk out of puppy school, we love them just the same.
Typically, cats don't rush up and bombard you with kisses like some dogs, but many do display genuine friendliness. Happy-to-be-with-you cats range from the demure lap lounger to the chatty feline who escorts you from room to room. Vetstreet shines the spotlight on nine feline breeds with stellar reputations for thoroughly enjoying the company of their favorite people.
Do you find it hard to sit still? Would you rather spend your time running and playing and working outdoors instead of lounging at home on the couch? If so, you may have met your match in these breeds. We polled 122 veterinary experts to get their opinions on which dog breeds are the most energetic. Here are the five that received the most votes!