Hello Everyone! I've had so many people ask me about our new Royal Park Hotel dog my GM recently adopted and wanted to blog about his special story. (Enjoy ~Sue).
BTW - you may want to grab a tissue before reading...
Mike Platt, General Manager of the Royal Park Hotel has a true love for animals. In fact one of the first questions he asked when he took over the role as General Manager was "Why don’t we allow guests to bring their dogs to the hotel?" Soon after, a pet friendly atmosphere was adopted at the hotel. Quickly the staff designated two beautiful rooms for guests and their furry friends they did not want to leave behind. Our pastry chef jumped on-board developing homemade biscuit turndowns. Our executive housekeeper also joined the bandwagon and purchased cozy beds, bowls and plush toys to make our new found friends feel right at home. The official RPH “pet policy” was launched! The momentum has continued adding extra services such as dog walks on Paint Creek Trail (yes our bellmen are happy to take “Fido” out for a stroll) and grooming services. “Needless to say this program is a huge hit and we have truly enjoyed getting to know our guests and their beloved pets” says Mike Platt.
The story however is much deeper. Recently our General Manager lost his French bulldog named Buddha. He was eleven years old and traveled around the world with Mike along his side managing four star hotels in Long Beach, New York City, LA, Chicago and even Puerto Rico. Often referred to as his “four legged son” Mike had a true bond and love for his Buddha.
Shortly after Mike moved to Michigan, he made plans for Buddha to join him. However, the arrival of his loyal chum swiftly took another turn when Mike learned that Buddha had a one pound mass in his stomach. Although the prognosis was positive and the mass was successfully removed, Buddha suddenly passed away of an unexpected heart attack. Mike’s sweet “mellow fellow” was gone however his memory and companionship will forever live in Mike’s heart.
One day Mike stumbled across a rescue site and found himself drawn to a picture of a 13 month old French Bulldog with the sweetest face longing for hope and a new home (we will call him “Blue” for now). There was just one major challenge. Blue lives in a small village outside of London, yes across the globe! And so the quest begins, after several international calls, transportation research and an application for a dog passport Mike had a calling to rescue this kindhearted little lost soul.
With a leap of faith and mission to save Blue, one of our hotel directors who happen to have frequent flyer miles volunteered to pick him up. The first leg of the trip was flying to London and taking the Heathrow Express to a small town to pick up Blue which was the easiest part of the voyage. Mike learned that customs does not allow French Bulldogs to board at Heathrow. Let the detour begin! The journey for Blue was intense and included planes, trains, automobiles and even a ferry.
Blue was off to Harwich (East Coast of England) via train and boarded a ferry to the Netherlands (Hoek Von, Holland) where he was checked for a microchip and the proper paperwork (aka dog passport). Upon arrival Blue took a train to Amsterdam and flying from Amsterdam to Boston with the final destination of the trip from Boston to Detroit. He spent most of his 48 hours sleeping and enjoying the sights. He was able to stretch, walk and have plenty of water and food before meeting Mike. Blue finally arrived by land, sea and air at the hotel where Mike welcomed him with open arms and felt an immediate connection.
The first few days were an adjustment. Blue was rather shy and at times would run away from people and hide under Mike’s desk looking for a little reassurance. Also the name “Blue” was not really sticking. There did not seem to be much of an association with that name so Mike turned to the power of social media and our Royal Park Hotel Facebook page with over 8,000 friends. We posted pictures and asked our community to get involved in naming him. Soon our hotel dog Frenchie story became viral with over 11,000 views, hundreds of name suggestions and many curious questions and comments! Some of our favorite names included Rocky, Parker, Duke, Rewold and Chester. The name “Rocky” seemed to be perfect as this little guy is our hotel hero.
The ironic part is just as Rocky’s story became viral and he was warmly embraced by hotel staff and the community (guests even dropped off welcome gifts) there was a sudden change in Rocky. This timid and sometimes bashful Frenchie suddenly became full of happiness with a bit of moxie in his step and lots of playful spunk. Buried under an uncertain past his true personality came to life as he began prancing around the hotel enjoying walks and visiting his new Downtown Rochester friends.
Keep an eye out for Rocky, as he continues to be part of the Royal Park Hotel Team. At times you will see him inspecting the grounds, taste testing turndown treats, sharing updates on social media and welcoming our hotel guests as some of his new found duties!
With the help of his guardian angel travel partner, the persistence and passion of Mike pushing through all the red tape and challenging the impossible, the support of our hotel dog loving employees and perhaps and little “Buddha” magic, Rocky has found his forever home!
You see, in the end change was meant to be…
“If I can change, and you can change, everybody can change”
To learn more about the Royal Park Hotel check out www.royalparkhotel.net