“Animals are amazing teachers and can be interwoven into lessons on leadership and teamwork in a more engaging and memorable way,” says Bri Wright, marketing manager at Ojo Spa Resorts.
Sunrise Springs Spa Resort in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has partnered with the Assistance Dogs of the West, whose mission is to train service dogs. The puppies are born at the resort, where they spend the first part of their lives. The resort offers classes for guests. It also has Silkies, a fluffy bantam breed of chickens guests can interact with in their chicken coop. Guests can feed them as well as pick them up. “When the dogs enter the room, or you step into the coop, there is a dramatic shift to playfulness and joy. The animals provide comfort through their nonjudgmental and loving ways,” says Wright.
Here are five ideas for adding animals to the agenda:
1. Coffee with Irish wolfhounds
Why not have Irish wolfhounds Cronan and Garvin attend a coffee break at a corporate meeting at Ashford Castle in Cong, County Mayo, Ireland? The wolfhounds are coffee lovers themselves and are accustomed to being around guests who accompany them on walks on grounds and pet them in the reception area.
2. Cocktails with CEOs
The Betsy South Beach hosts meet-and-greets with its Canine Executive Officers Kate and Betsy on Fridays encouraging business travelers to bring their significant canine other to enjoy a glass of wine, or bowl of water, and meet the CEOs.
3. Adopt a dog
Anyone who has visited Inn by the Sea in Portland, Maine, knows that it is the East Coast’s panacea for pooches. Along with pet services and amenities for dogs, The Inn has a house foster dog! Hotel staff report that
140 foster dogs have been adopted to date by guests since they started this program with the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland.
4. Selfie with a flamingo
Attendees can “flock” to Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas, to hang with flamingos at Flamingo Cay; interact with nurse sharks, stingrays and sea turtles at the Beach Sanctuary; and explore swim-up aquariums, cliff jumps and an underwater marine cavern inspired by one of the world’s deepest saltwater sinkholes, Dean’s Blue Hole.
5. Mingle at the goat mansion
Whether you want to visit their mansion or host a fun ice breaker, the goats at Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina in Newport, Rhode Island, are happy to host a good time on Goat Island.