Miles, the Hotel Indigo ambassador, peers over the reception desk at a young age. The republic nudes photo
A memorial flame burned in the lobby of Columbus ‘Downtown Hotel Indigo on Tuesday afternoon to commemorate one of Columbus’ most enthusiastic, beloved and energetic ambassadors.
Residents began openly and emotionally mourning the loss of Miles, 13-year-old Bichon Frize, who was the company’s official mascot, late that day on Facebook. Dog owner Julie Aton was among them.
“Miles was so loved and such a big part not just in your life but in that of the entire community!” Aton wrote. “It’s so hard. They leave their paw prints and puppy kisses in our hearts.”
City council member and downtown manager Tom Dell greeted the dog.
“He was the best and made me feel welcome every time I was at the Hotel Indigo,” said Dell. “He will be missed.”
Erin Hawkins, Marketing Director for the Columbus Area Visitor Center, summed up its impact aptly.
“Miles was a star in our hotel business,” Hawkins typed.
There were almost 70 comments and condolences within an hour. Some people have posted pictures of their own dog or children who Miles has met in the past. Cindy Waddle, general manager of Hotel Indigo, mentioned that Miles had an enlarged liver and possibly cancer that had made him particularly lethargic for about six months. He had also struggled with arthritis for a long time.
So he was euthanized at a local veterinary office to avoid additional pain and suffering.
“His influence was truly international,” said Waddle of Miles’ relationship with the hotel’s global clientele when her voice broke with emotion. “He has touched thousands upon thousands of lives.”
She mentioned that in the coming days it will be difficult to go to work without seeing Miles waiting at the front door to greet her. He also waited in the elevators at noon every lunchtime for the cleaning staff, knowing that they would keep table scraps for him from lunch.
He had a lamb-soft fur and a matching heart. In his younger years he could often be seen racing through the lobby with his toys at breakneck speed while patrons strolled past smiling.
He was so popular that foreigners who met him on local visits wrote to him regularly, and adults enjoyed his company as well, even dropping him a line or two.
He met a host of celebrities over the years, including former President Bill Clinton in 2008 when Clinton was fighting here for his wife and presidential candidate Hilary Clinton. Surviving pop-rock band member Frankie Sullivan, an unabashed dog lover, clutched him in the hotel lobby ahead of the Our Hospice of South Central Indiana concert in 2019 and vowed to take him home.
Hotel staff often praised Miles’ obedience in keeping his boundaries in the middle of his house in the lobby. But he was known to poke his head in a conference room occasionally to say hello.
It also caused laughter when guests approached the front desk to speak to a member of staff and suddenly found the pooch, partially hidden by the wooden edge of the desk, lifted its sleepy head to see what was happening.
He has also regularly hosted the hotel’s Canines and Cocktails events, where dog owners were invited to bring their dogs to eat outside. In a Republican story four weeks ago about these meetings, staff members mentioned that the pooch had slowed down considerably and slept more.
In recent years, he has accompanied hotel employees to events such as the JCB Neighborfest, an Indianapolis Colts fan festival at Mill Race Park, and many other gatherings.
Waddle recalled picking him up from a breeder in Elizabethtown on March 8, 2008, just a month after the hotel opened. She called him – because of the nickname’s travel connection – on the way to the store, where he ended up having a specially constructed dog bed near the front desk.
Hotel owner Tim Dora suggested the idea of a hypoallergenic ambassador dog, and Miles became an instant hit with guests. Locals allergic to other pets came to the lobby with their children to visit and pet Miles.
Today’s canines and cocktails on the hotel veranda from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. are supposed to be part of a celebration of life for the pooch.
“We want it to be a happy occasion,” said Waddle. “But I can’t imagine doing this for the first time without him.”