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VIDEO: Oak Bay hotel greeter dog loves to ‘post up in the sunshine’

Ella’s a ‘sweet girl’ who inspires smiles from staff and guests

The latest staffer at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel gets a lot of looks as she walks Beach Drive.

The blonde bombshell rocketed to social media stardom as soon as she made her first appearance online, said general manager Madone Pelan.

Ella is a 17-month-old yellow lab who started her position as welcome ambassador earlier this summer.

Ella started her training young with the BC & Alberta Guide Dogs. With a potential for developing cataracts in one eye, she missed the mark for specialized training but had enough under her belt to be suitable for a busy place like the hotel, which had been on a waitlist since late last year.

“Ella’s job is to be our canine welcome ambassador in our grand lobby and really to help make people feel at ease when they arrive and bring some joy to their lives,” Pelan said. “She’s a sweet girl … I knew it was going to be well received by our guests but this exceeds all expectations. She was an instant hit with all of our staff as well.”

They didn’t announce her publicly until they knew she was a good hire.

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“Personality-wise, she’s pretty calm,” said Colin MacCrimmon, the human resources manager who serves as her after-hours dad. “She’s pretty docile, friendly and loves to post up in the sunshine and just say hello to people as they walk by.”

For guests unable to leave their bestie at home, Ella also promotes the hotel’s dog-friendly suites, where guests can share their luxurious experience with their own furry companions.

She loves other dogs, MacCrimmon said, and they can’t walk past the neighbourhood dog park without a visit and a romp.

At work, her presence boosts team morale and has increased job satisfaction and promotes a sense of unity among colleagues at the hotel.

“I’ve heard more than a few people say “this job just got way better” after meeting her,” MacCrimmon said with a smile.

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While he knew folks loved dogs, MacCrimmon is surprised by the level of emotion she evokes in guests, particularly those who’ve left a pet at home and may be experiencing guilt or sadness.

“It’s been really truly a learning experience for me to see how much people have been excited to have that opportunity to interact with a dog even if it’s just for a minute or two. I thought people would say ‘awe that’s cute’ but you can see it’s a really strong connection for people,” he said.

Ella’s also met some famous people already, but like all the professionals at the luxury hotel, remains mum on names.

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Colin MacCrimmon and Madone Pelan with Ella, a 17-month-old yellow lab who started her position as welcome ambassador at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel earlier this summer. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
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Madone Pelan and Colin MacCrimmon with Ella, a 17-month-old yellow lab who started her position as welcome ambassador at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel earlier this summer. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)


Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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