'Canine concierge' dies of bone cancer

Golden Lab was a famous fixture at historic hotel

Author: Isis Romero , Anchor, iromero@ksat.com
Published On: Jun 19 2012 05:40:04 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 19 2012 01:06:14 PM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

The Fairmount Hotel is known for its unique history and famous guests. But more recently, it's also known for one of their very special employees: Luke Tips, the golden lab.

Luke used to roam the hallways of the Fairmount Hotel, escorting guests to their rooms, or even grabbing them the morning paper. 

But on May 31, bone cancer claimed the life of 150-pound dog, who served as San Antonio's first canine concierge.

"He would stay in your room, he would  take you to your room, take bags to your room, bring you a newspaper, talk to you in the morning while you were having your breakfast, he would walk with you in Hemisfair park,” said Fairmount owner Dick Tips. “He was just a special guy, a special friend to those who were traveling.

Luke came to the hotel in 2005 as a rescue dog, and quickly became a fixture at the Fairmount.

Tips said he had a special way of making guests feel welcome.

"They felt like they were at home,” said Tips.  “This wasn't a hotel, this was an extension of their own homes, and so when they saw Luke, it was just very special for them."

And as pictures, dog toys, and Luke's favorite items adorn the lobby of the hotel, his owners say, so too does Luke's spirit.

"We've cried a lot and we've hugged a lot and it's brought us together closer as a family,” Tips said.  “And we just miss him a lot, and we'll always miss him."

A memorial service was held at the Fairmount on Tuesday evening in honor of Luke. 

In lieu of flowers, guests are invited to send donations to animal rescue or pet charities.