Posted: Aug 29, 2009
Godiva the dog spent her days serving as a bellhop, of sorts. The 14-year-old shepherd mix, who passed away on Saturday of kidney failure, would greet Palm Springs hotel guests at the door, show them to their rooms ? then tell them it was time to take their clothes off!
Living at Terra Cotta Inn Clothing Optional Resort and Spa with owners Mary Clare and Tom Mulhall, who received the dog as a gift in 1995 from a hotel visitor, Godiva was a no-pants, no-shirt fan. "It was funny, because we didn't teach her these things," Tom Mulhall (above) tells PEOPLE Pets. "But if you were walking around the hotel or in the pool area with clothes on, she'd charge up to you and start barking, as if she was asking, 'What are you doing wearing clothes?'
"Everyone fell in love with her," says Tom, adding that Godiva also loved going on walks with the dog-friendly guests. "She'd come right up to their loungechair and give them a few licks on the face, then step back a foot or so and start barking. She'd stay right there until they gave in to walking her, and would just be so happy. She'd run to their room to wait for them, then come to the lobby to grab her leash. Godiva really had free reign with all the guests."
When the Mulhalls welcomed Godiva to their family in 1995, they also adopted the health problems that she was born with. "We got her without ever having seen her," Tom says. But their adorable pup soon took a turn for the worse: She was born with ectopic ureters, meaning she was in for a life-long battle with kidney disease.
"The first vet we brought her to, at just 8 weeks old, told us we'd have to put her down," he recalls. "Luckily we met with a second vet, who recommended a surgeon to us. We found one who'd operate on her ? knowing that only 50 percent of dogs survived the procedure ? and took the risk. And thankfully, Godiva made it."
Though her dietary options were limited ? Godiva couldn't eat protein and was kept on special Hill's K/D dog food ? she never stopped smiling. "Whenever the media came here, Godiva would ham it up," he says. "As soon as she saw a camera, she was just on. She'd walk all happy, with her tail wagging, a smile on her face. She was constantly ready for her close-up."
Tom says that already, he and Mary Clare have received an outpouring of support from past guests. "It's been so hard," he says. "But we've received so many beautiful letters of condolence." He reveals that he's also writing a book about his beloved pup ? working title Naked Bitch ? in her memory. "We'll probably get another dog someday, but not for several months," he says. "For now, we just want to remember Godiva."
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