BOSTON (CBS) – There’s a new employee at the Fairmont Copley who is already making friends wherever she goes. Cori Copley is the hotel’s new Canine Ambassador. She takes over for Carly, a beloved black lab, who is heading into retirement.
Lounging on her dog bed in the hotel lobby, Cori looks right at home. She arrived less than three weeks ago much to the delight of concierge Joe Fallon.
“I was ready,” Joe said, handing Cori a treat. “I think she’ll do a great job.”
Cori’s responsibilities are limited right now. Eventually, she will go for walks with guests who request her company.
That experience, Joe says, is often just what someone needs. “They’re not having a good day…they want to pet the dog and go back to work,” Joe said. “They feel much better. She turns into a therapy dog in addition to a Canine Ambassador.”
And she’s “good medicine” for him too. An avowed dog lover, Joe served as caretaker to the hotel’s first Canine Ambassador, Catie Copley. Catie became a celebrity. She is the central character in two children’s books. She was a comfort dog, of sorts, after the Boston Marathon bombings. And she was Joe’s loyal companion from the day he was hired in 2005 until her death in 2017. “She became a fixture,” he explained. “Driving in the car to work, driving home, at work—sayin’ hi to everybody. Everybody came to see her…not me.”
He was heartbroken when she died. “It’s part of your family,” he said. “She was there every single day.”
Fairmont doorman Michael Eades was Carly’s partner at the hotel. Now retired, she will spend her “golden years” with his family. But Carly’s retirement left a void. And Joe knew that he was ready to care for the dog who would fill it. “When we finally got the OK, I thought—this is gonna happen! I’m all for it! Let’s go!”
Now, he and Cori are a team—walking the neighborhood, meeting employees from surrounding buildings and learning the “ins” and “outs” of the hotel where Cori is particularly interested in the restaurant. “She’s mapping out the whole hotel in the back of her mind. If she scoots away, she knows where she’s going…right to the restaurant. She knows where the good stuff is,” Joe laughed.
Cori’s life as a hotel dog actually represents a career change. Until shortly before she arrived in Boston, she was training to become a guide dog. Like Catie, she was trained at the Guide Dog Foundation on Long Island, New York. She just missed making the cut as a guide dog. She is a perfect fit at the hotel. “I knew I was going to get a great dog…the training that goes down at the Guide Dog Foundation is unbelievable,” Joe said. “They do a great job.”
Cori bounds into the hotel lobby with renewed energy when Gus, the chef’s dog arrives. She isn’t the only one with a spring in her step. As guests crowd around her, Joe delights in introducing them to his new partner. “I wouldn’t change anything,” he said with a smile. “She’s a good boss.”