National

As Hurricane Irma hit, this hotel opened its doors — and sheltered nearly 1,000 dogs

By Josh Magness

jmagness@mcclatchy.com

September 16, 2017 10:16 AM

As many Floridians prepared to evacuate their homes in anticipation of Hurricane Irma, some dog owners didn’t know what to do with their furry friends at first.

But thanks to one hotel in Orlando, they didn’t have to make a tough decision.

Over 800 dogs became temporary guests at the Hyatt Regency Orlando last weekend as Irma, then a Category 5 storm with viciously fast wind speeds, barreled toward the state, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Aside from the high volume of pups, it’s nothing new for the hotel.

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“We’re always dog-friendly,” hotel manager Kevin Kennedy said to the Sentinel.

There were some attractions for the human guests, as well, including a multipurpose room with a pool table, games and movies.

In an email to The Dodo, a marketing manager for the hotel wrote that the cleaning fee for guests with pets was lowered from $150 to just $50 as Irma neared Florida.

“We proudly welcomed over 4,500 guests and over 900 dogs during Hurricane Irma,” wrote Katie Satava, the marketing manager.

Images of the pup-filled hotel quickly made their way online.

 

#waitingonirma #rescuedogsarebest #adoptdontshop

A post shared by Stephanie Ceccarelli Orozco (@stephorozco) on

Mia Gallow told the Sentinel she drove up from Naples with Scout, her golden retriever, to avoid the worst of Irma.

The number of dogs at the hotel shocked her.

“It reminds me of that book “Go, Dog. Go!” because there are so many dogs here,” she said.

Marcus Newton and his 11-year-old daughter, Adison, brought their two dogs, Reagan and Riley, to the hotel as well.

They made a reservation in the hotel two months ago, but decided to keep the room for an evacuation plan.

Adison told the Sentinel she’s glad they did.

“I couldn’t imagine leaving (my dogs) in a shelter,” she said.