nsider is not a big animal lover; there are a few at home, mostly of the ceramic and wooden varieties. But the travel industry it seems is real big on animals -- tame, wild or even extinct.

In just the past few months, several tourism interests have used animals to promote a product or draw attention to a cause.

Take a look at what Insider is talking about:

  • Animal Planet Live at both Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood are now the sites of -- what else -- an Animal Actors Walk of Fame, honoring the most celebrated animals working in television and motion pictures.
  • Loews Hotels hosted more than 600 dogs during its second Bark Breakfasts in 13 cities in the U.S. and Canada. Above, Jonathan Tisch, Loews' chairman and chief executive officer, seems to be having a swell tete-a-tete with a four-legged friend. The installation ceremony in April featured Beethoven the dog, Babe the pig, Max the dog ("The Grinch") and feline friend Mr. Jinx ("Meet the Parents"), who had their profiles and paw prints immortalized in slabs of cement.

  • Who let the dogs in? Well, on June 22, an estimated 5,000 members of corporate America observed the third annual Take Your Dog to Work Day.
  • Organized by Pet Sitters International, the day's goal was to encourage adoption of dogs from animal shelters, humane societies and rescue clubs.

    Loews Hotels joined in the act, hosting more than 600 pooches during its second Bark Breakfasts in 13 cities in the U.S. and Canada. The program featured samples from the company's LovePets room service menu and raised $21,000 for animal charities.

  • Bringing new meaning to the phrase, "When pigs fly," China Southern Airlines in April marked the first anniversary of cargo service between Chicago and Shenzhen, China, by transporting more than 500 swine on the route.
  • Insider confirmed it was an all-cargo flight and had no food service -- not even ham on rye!

    A 'Heavenlier' bed

    After a survey of its guests revealed that a good night's sleep is the most important service a hotel can deliver, Westin Hotels & Resorts responded by rolling out its more than six-foot-long Heavenly Beds two years ago.

    But even that length of bed proved too short to accommodate the growing list of super-stretch athletes and other taller-than-average guests who booked the new Ocean Villas at the Westin Rio Mar Beach in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.

    A crane lifts the eight-foot-long version of Westin's Heavenly Bed through a window at Ocean Villas at Westin Rio Mar Beach in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. The resort caters to a lot of really tall jocks, such as basketball icon Julius "Dr. J" Erving, former New Jersey Nets star Jayson Williams and the 2000 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team, which included Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Allan Houston and Gary Payton.

    No problem. Westin's solution was the eight-foot-long version of the Heavenly Bed, which was recently installed in one of the resort's three-bedroom deluxe oceanside villas.

    Bringing a king-size, eight-foot-long bed into a multistory villa was a challenge.

    The 900-coil, custom-designed Simmons pillowtop mattress could not be maneuvered into the elevator or up the stairs.

    A crane eventually hoisted the mattress up to the fifth floor of the villa.

    Neither fame nor height are prerequisites for sleeping in the eight-foot-long bed, however. The oceanside villa with the lengthy bed is available to everyone from the very small to the extra tall.

    The bed comes with three sheets, a down blanket, a comforter, a duvet and five enormous pillows.

    And what's next to come in Westin's line of heavenly sleep products?

    Insider won't divulge any trade secrets, but here's a clue: Families will love it, especially the teeniest members.

    Sweet dreams.

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