Saturday, January 15, 2011
No Dogs Allowed
While living in Germany, Erin and I frequently traveled across Western Europe in pursue of merriment and adventure. As we blazed our way across a dozen countries, the charm and engaging personality of my fur kid was routinely evident in many situations but none was more memorable than her wooing of a hotel staff in Belgrade. After a wearisome day of sightseeing and motoring through Slovenia, Croatia, and into the former republic of Yugoslavia, we pulled into the capital city as the moon shone brightly overhead. Bumper to bumper traffic and my overwhelming desire for food and sleep put me in a miserable mood all the while Erin was dozing off and on. Undoubtedly, she was exhausted as well.
Major hotel chains and other lodging options were clearly visible from the highway and little time was wasted in seeking out a warm bed, hot shower, and room service. Erin remained in the car as I entered the hotel lobby where an inquiry into room availability was made and the computer showed vacancies but then the bombshell was dropped....No dogs allowed!! It was surreal as he reiterated that dogs were not permitted on the premises, Erin had never been denied access before as Europe is super dog friendly. A stones toss away, the same situation unfolded with a manager explaining the no pet policy and offering his sincere apologizes for the inconvenience. Then a third hotel manager broke my spirit and I was near tears as the seriousness of the situation hit home but before the complete meltdown took place, I was to locate one more establishment and attempt to secure a room for the evening.
The next targeted hotel was much posher than the others and was stunning in every facet. Well attired staff approached the car upon arrival and they were informed of my intentions as they eyed Erin sitting in the front passenger seat. Marble floors, water fountains, and upscale shops caught my eye as I strolled to the reservation counter and asked for the manager, whom I pressed for room availability. The only room available was quoted at $400+ and I didn't blink a eye in accepting it as I was beyond desperate with a worn out girl in the car. While he was inputting my information, I surprised him in stating I have a dog with me and as expected, he repeated the Yugoslavian lodging pet policy....none allowed ever. At that time, I offered him double the room rate to accept a dog but he spoke of the rules and how the money is irrelevant. The manager spoke of armed security guards roaming the parking garage and and how Erin would be safe in the car as I slept in the hotel overnight. He was quickly informed that I would Never allow Erin to stay in the car while I lounged upstairs and that I was driving down the highway where we would sleep together in the car.
At that moment it was my intention to lay in the back seat with Erin and huddle for warmth as I'd never permit her to spend an evening alone in the car. After thanking him for his time, he stopped me as I was headed for the door and surprisingly asked to go see my dog and immediately we approached the passenger seat where Erin was sitting up and looking so adorable. The manager in silence just gazed at Erin as she peered upwards at him, both trying to measure up each other. Finally he remarked "that's a fine looking hunting dog" and then he praised Erin for her calmness, beauty, etc. After several minutes, it was explained to me how the hotel hadn't permitted dogs since the city was bombed by NATO in 1999 but he was willing to take a chance on a special dog like Erin. Instead of utilizing the main elevators, we were led to a private lift for our ride to paradise.
The five star hotel's room was opulence multiplied and well worth the money and I'll always be grateful for a strangers kindness but I'm eternally grateful for my Fur Angel who touched and left a lasting impression upon a man's heart. Room service and various staff were wooed by her as was everybody who crossed her path that night. The following morning upon checkout we rode the main elevator down and proudly I showed Erin off as heads turned in our direction. These people had never seen a dog paraded in a Belgrade hotel but that's exactly what was unfolding as we strolled across the massive lobby towards the revolving door. Erin had a wide beaming smile and a show dog gait during this period and it was well justified as a major coup was scored. To this day, dogs are still prohibited but for one evening my angel touched hearts and folks couldn't resist her appeal.
Great job Erin, you were remarkable!!