Orphans Andi and Bruce have kept their dog Friday, the only family member they have left apart from themselves, a secret from every set of foster parents they've had so far. However, there have been many close calls, and on one night after they rescue Friday from the pound, they are forced to hide in an abandoned hotel after being chased by police officers, falsely accused of burglary. They discover that the hotel is already home to two dogs, and in time, they realize that the hotel makes the perfect hiding place for Friday. As a few more teens get involved with what they are doing, they decide that they will take in every stray that they find, and give them a home at the hotel for dogs.
Reception on the movie was mixed, focusing mainly on children's entertainment, and the lack of appeal to older age groups, and the strong impression of Pounds Are Animal Prisons, even having most of the animal shelter employees act in a cocky and gloating manner.
- Affably Evil: One could definitely say this about the pound employees. Though they're not technically evil, they're the closest things to antagonists this movie's got.
- Amplified Animal Aptitude: Most of the dogs behave in an above intelligent sort of way.
- Berserk Button: Don't touch Lois' stuff, or she'll sue everybody.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Carl and Lois on the surface look nice, if not a little goofy and harsh, but, really, they're assholes.
- Creative Closing Credits: Many of the cast and crew have dogs, and they take pride in appearing with them as the credits roll.
- Couple Theme Naming: Invoked. The two dogs that end up together are named Romeo and Juliet. Juliet is actually named such after Romeo shows an interest for her.
- Department of Child Disservices: This is played with, as the CPS worker, Bernie, is shown as competent and reasonable, trying his best but the homes Andi and Bruce get put in could use a bit of looking into, as, earlier, we meet Lois and Carl, who are jerkasses that lock up things to keep the kids from getting in it and, later, Bruce gets put in a home where the parents are interested in the checks.
- Dogs Are Dumb: Averted. These dogs are much more intelligent than normal dogs.
- Don't Split Us Up: Later, after Carl and Lois discovers their operations and sign them out of their care, Andi and Bruce are sent to separate foster homes.
- Happily Adopted: Andi, Bruce, and Friday, too, end up taken in by Bernie and his wife.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Georgia and Lenny, the former being a Boston Terrier and the latter being mastiff.
- Inspirationally Disadvantaged: The three-legged dog that the kids rescue.
- Kavorka Man: Mark is successful with Heather.
- Large Ham: The pound employees are quite dramatic.
- Ms. Fanservice: Heather. She's played by Kyla Pratt.
- Noodle Incident: It's not said exactly how Andi and Bruce came to lose their parents but it's implied that they passed away.
- Parental Abandonment: How Andi and Bruce ended up in foster care, playing this for some drama, when it comes to their care of Friday. It's implied that their parents have passed away and Friday is the only thing left of them.
- Pounds Are Animal Prisons: Fits this trope to a T. The group of teenagers actually goes as far to rescue dogs from the dog-catcher's van
- Reality Ensues: Sometimes, siblings in the foster care system have to be split up if available families won't take both. Bernie, Andi, and Bruce learn this the hard way.
- Towards the end, when it's found out that the dogs (or many of them) from the titular hotel are going to be put down. Unfortunately, as anyone who works in animal shelters will tell you, animals that come in may be put to sleep either because they're hard to adopt out or because there's too many to be adopted out soon enough.
- Rube Goldberg Device: many of Bruce's devices to help the dogs.
- Tragic Keepsake: Friday is a living version of this, as, besides the family photo, he's all Andi and Bruce have left of their passed on parents.
- Villainy Free Villains: The Dog-catchers, just a bunch of guys doing their jobs, but they have to be evil and jerky about it, so they can be seen as bad guys who deserve to be assaulted by the heroes for their choice of profession. Likewise, the cops are referred to as goons for doing their jobs and trying to stop the heroes' highly illegal stunts throughout the climax.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: 2, (and then more) children are able to handle the logistics of running a hotel / animal care centre, as well as training a large number of stray dogs.