Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. is going to the dogs, and that's good news for one pooch with money management industry connections.
Lucy is a 5-year-old West Highland white terrier owned by Luke M. Collins, director of plan sponsor services at UBS AG, and his wife, Sarah. Through a friend of Sarah's who works at Starwood, Lucy landed a modeling job promoting the hotel chain's new dog-friendly stance.
Starwood hotels include the Sheraton, W and Westin chains. Lucy's breed might have had something to do with her selection, as Westin officials were pleased to be able to use a Westie. But Lucy still had to go through a screening process, Starwood spokeswoman Naden Ayala said.
"Lucy was in the top three," Ms. Ayala said. "After looking at all the photos, we thought a Westie would be perfect."
Lucy was scheduled to make her big debut as Starwood's "spokesdog" on Aug. 16 at the W Hotel in Manhattan's Times Square. Among the canine perks Lucy will be promoting for the hotel chain are custom dog beds, food and water bowls, temporary identification tags, doggie robes and treats. Additionally, the five W hotels in New York City will offer in-room dog massages by a licensed dog massage therapist.
The non-paying modeling job has thrilled the Collinses, who picked Lucy after thoroughly researching different breeds they thought they might like. Lucy quickly became a member of the family.
"She is really a big dog in a little dog's body," Ms. Collins said. "With her little black eyes and perky ears, she always looks happy and mischievous."
Lucy spends her days chasing various forms of wildlife - some much larger than she is - that wander through the Collins' suburban New Jersey backyard. At night she sleeps on the Collins' bed. She also sits on their shoulders and watches TV.
"She loves to sit with you," Ms. Collins said. "And she does what we call `frog dog': She lies down with her back legs extended out behind her so her body is at full length. She is almost like having a cat - but better."