‘HE’S A TRIPP’: New lovable ambassador takes up residence at Hotel Indigo

Mike Wolanin | The Republic Tripp, Hotel Indigo’s new Bichon Frise, sniffs around the reception desk at the hotel in Columbus, Ind., Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021.

Hotel Indigo’s newest worker has been on the job less than two weeks, and already seems like he could be Employee of the Month.

He dresses sharp, in a festive bow tie. He greets visitors with a bounce in his step and the exuberance of a long-lost relative. He welcomes every warm hug.

“He loves everybody, and he doesn’t know a stranger,” said front desk worker Mandy Shonk.

But he’s young and sometimes still learning — that he can’t go anywhere near the dining room, and that he’s got to be more disciplined when nature calls.

Because this staffer is 6-pound, 2-ounce, 13-week-old Tripp, a heart-stealing Bichon Frise who is the facility’s newest ambassador, following in the footsteps of Miles, the same breed in the same role before his death this summer.

On a recent morning, Tripp frolicked under the lobby Christmas tree like a battery-operated toy. He ran and slid on the floor near the front desk. And he carried his stuffed moose toy like an innocent child, dropping the plush item near the feet of Cindy Waddle, hotel general manager and regional manager of Dora Hotel Company.

“He’s a little like having a baby around,” Waddle said. “We have to have eyes on him at all times.”

That’s to keep him safe and out of trouble.

And dozens of local residents have had eyes on his social media shots and on him in person by now. And they are hopelessly smitten amid a season of holiday love.

Every hotel delivery person imaginable and the mail carrier already is determined to bring him treats regularly.

A local fast food restaurant wants him to come through its drive-thru window line for a treat and photo op soon.

He is, indeed, already a trip. His name was chosen through the Dora corporate office and is a nod to the travel industry.

Someone told Waddle that they were impressed that the pooch, who arrived at the hotel on Nov. 16, doesn’t mess with the oversized and glittery Christmas tree.

“Well, he can’t exactly reach the tree,” she said with a chuckle, referring to the dog’s short little body.

When he trots through the lobby, his ears bounce playfully with every step. He already loves children.

“The only time that I have held him when he was at all squirmy was when he wanted down because there were kids around (to meet),” Waddle said.

When housekeeping staffers clean the floor, Tripp often pounces on the dust mop and rides and glides along with the cleaning tool.

He was born at a Syracuse breeder’s facility. The hotel stuck with this particular breed because of its hypoallergenic coat. Managers had to avoid getting a rescue just to be extra cautious of a mascot dog’s health around so many travelers and other people.

His bed, which was specially crafted for Miles, is close to the front desk. His crate sits in a nearby office. And a small playpen is located behind the front desk

Because he looks plenty like his predecessor, Waddle accidentally referred to him as Miles halfway through a recent chat. Miles had met and had his picture taken with a string a celebrities, including former President Bill Clinton and an all-star lineup of classic pop stars who had played the annual Hospice of South Central Indiana Hospice concert at nearby Mill Race Park.

Everyday citizens are looking forward to being buddies with him soon.

“So much adorableness,” Leanne Humphrey Barker wrote on Facebook. “I can’t wait to meet him and get some puppy love.”

Waddle mentioned that some groups booked stays there when they looked online and saw references to Miles. Children from all over wrote him gushing letters — and Waddle expects the same focused reaction to Tripp.

“Just in the past week, we have had 65 new likes to our Facebook page,” Waddle said. “And I would say that that is 100 percent due to him. “