I shook off the coating of snow from my shoulders, and blew into my red hands.
The hotel lobby was pleasantly warm and dimly lit. I couldn’t ignore the smell of dogs. It wasn’t pungent, just strangely out of place.
“Room for one, sir?”
I looked down to see a Border Collie.
“Room for one?”
“Follow me. Cold out, isn’t it.”
“Yes. Yes, it is.”
I followed the Collie to the front desk, where a Pug was sitting. It was chewing on a snack like bubble gum.
“This gentleman would like a single room.”
“How many nights?” said the Pug, not looking at all pleased.
“Just the one,” I said.
“Not out for the New Year?” said the Pug.
“Not this year. Excuse me, I don’t mean to be rude, but how come this place is run by, well – dogs?”
“Because it’s New Year’s Eve,” said the Pug, bluntly.
“Yes,” said the Collie, “every year we run this place. We don’t get many of your kind, so don’t be alarmed if folk show their teeth.”
“Before you sign,” said the Pug, “are you bothered about having a view?”
“I guess it’d be nice to see the fireworks,” I said.
The slimy chew fell from its mouth, onto the desk.
“Then I’m afraid you’re not welcome here.”
“What she’s trying to say,” added the Collie, “is that all the windows are blacked out.”
“Yes, and soundproofed.”
“Why do you think we’re here?” said the Pug, scooping up the snack with her tongue. “Fireworks, can’t stand’em. Do you want to stay or not?”
“I guess so. Do the rooms have TVs?”
“Yes,” said the Pug. “They’re set to reruns of The Dog Whisperer. Now, sign here. You’re on the fourth floor.”
The Collie showed me to the elevator. When the doors pinged open, a Golden Retriever was waiting, tail wagging.
“Four,” I said. “Thank you.”
“Enjoy your stay,” said the Collie, as the elevator doors shut, “and a happy new year.”
“I don’t suppose I could order some food, later, could I?” I asked the Golden Retriever.
“Of course you can. Just ring 1-2-3 when you’re ready.”
Later, in my room, I did just that. On the receiving end I heard nothing but chewing.
“Pug, is that you?”
“Nope. Not me.”
The line went dead.
It was going to be a long night.
Happy new year, everyone! Remember to think of your pets as we’re celebrating another loop around the sun.
Please feel free to share this story with any of your dog/animal-loving friends, and by all means leave a comment.
All the best for 2018. May you smile more than you frown 🙂