If you’re a dog lover than “Hotel for Dogs” is just right for you; this family movie parades pooches of all shapes and sizes in front of the camera and it’s a sheer delight.

Don Cheadle (“Traitor,” “Talk to Me”) stars as child services official looking out for the welfare of siblings Andi (Emma Roberts) and Bruce (Jake T. Austin), two kids that are hard to place in foster homes because of their age differences and Andi, the 16 year old, insists that they stay together. Bernie (Cheadle) works hard to keep them together and places them in the home of would be rock stars that could care less about them.

For the past three years Bruce has been harboring a cute, smart little dog named Friday, now that they are living in a ‘no pets’ home, Bruce has to come up with a variety of ways, using his creative genius, to feed and entertain his pet. Now Friday (the dog) is no wimp, he’s learned a few canine tricks from the streets to keep himself happy too.

Like most urban cities the stray dog population is sizable and to keep a handle on them the dog catcher is not a public servant, but a villain in this picture. When Friday gets picked up, the antics begin.

After his release from the doggie compound, Friday wanders into an old, abandoned hotel and finds two unlikely residents, Lennie, weighing in at 160 pounds, and Georgia, a tiny Boston Terrier using Lennie like a shelter, but who also speaks…uh, barks for the both of them. Friday takes an immediate liking to them and decides to make the hotel his home and Lennie and Georgia his roommates.

This is where the adventure and fantasy begin. The hotel is huge, and the children decide to add other dogs, and getting other young dog lovers to help care for them. Kyla Pratt (TV’s “One on One” and “Dr. Dolittle”) joins the group in an effort to save the dogs. Pratt is literally growing up in front of the cameras, and it’s good to see her in a mainstream motion picture.

A lot of ingenuous scenarios are created that are designed to entertain the dogs, feed them, and minimize cleaning up after them. To say the least, it is a cute, fun picture that wraps around a serious subject.

Don Cheadle’s versatility as an actor stands out in this role. Not harkening to W.C. Fields warning about being upstaged by kids and animals, Cheadle holds his own and is very believable in a film that at times is pure fun and fantasy. He brings seriousness to his role that leads to two very pivotal points in the film yet, he’s very warm and likable.

Robinne Lee (“Seven Pounds,” “Deliver Us from Eva”) stars as his loving and supportive wife Carol; hopefully this very talented actress’s career will grow by leaps and bounds in 2009, we simply don’t see enough of her.

“Hotel for Dogs” has some very delightful moments but the message rings loud and clear, although they don’t beat you over the head with it. Loveable dogs like those depicted in this movie end up in shelters and die by the thousands on a daily basis. Taking the necessary steps to minimize this sad practice is not only great for the pet population, but for mankind as well.

“Hotel for Dogs” is a great ‘what if’ kind of movie. You will take delight in the little inventions featured in the film and perky personalities of some the dogs featured. And for those of you with dogs as pets, you’ll appreciate your dog even more.

“Hotel for Dogs” is in theaters Friday.

– Gail Choice can be contacted at gailchoice@strictilyhollywood.com.