The hotel promotes fostering and adopting dogs so they can help the local shelter clear out space in the kennel for more dogs to be rescued. This also helps the guest feel a little less lonely during their stay.
For people who travel a lot for work, the unfamiliarity, empty hotel rooms and the lack of social life can be daunting. Well, one hotel in Mississippi has found the perfect way to ensure their guests have an amazing stay there. Home2 Suites by Hilton Biloxi North/D'Iberville has been operating a program called Fostering Hope, and it's been running since October 2018. The hotel brings shelter dogs from the Humane Society of South Mississippi into the hotel lobby and guests are provided with the chance to foster the adorable pets in their rooms while they're staying there.
This is bound to make the hotel a crowd favorite, but the best part is that if you really hit it off with the pupper you're fostering during your stay, you can adopt them and take them back home with you! This way, more dogs have a chance at being adopted and it frees up space at the shelter. The hotel is occupied by guests who stay there for as long as a month sometimes, making it the perfect place for something like this. "They have a lot of transient guests who stay for months at a time near our army and navy bases and that's just enough time to fall in love with a dog," explains Bianca Janik, the shelter's relations manager, according to USA Today.
Teresa Johnston, the hotel's sales director, is the brainchild behind this program. So, when Janik reached the hotel, she decided this was the ideal setup for a longterm foster program. "Teresa thought they needed to set their hotel apart and this was it. She wanted to have the business more involved with the community. It was a very out-of-the-box way to find our animals new homes so we were on board," Janik says. So, if a guest at the hotel is interested to adopt a pupper after having fostered them, all they have to do is fill out an application and pay the $50 adoption fee at the hotel.
"We have a very open adoption program," Janik says. "People are trying to do the right thing by adopting. We reserve the right to deny. (We) may tell them we don’t feel comfortable, come visit our shelter tomorrow and we’ll find one that is right." The HSSM shelter takes in about 8,000 dogs a year, and out of that, a whopping 80% gets adopted as well. As is standard in rescue and shelter adoptions, each dog has been neutered or spayed, microchipped and is up to date on vaccinations and preventative heartworm medication. So far, at least 33 guests have gone home with one of the Home 2 Suites “Fostering Hope” dogs, reports Bored Panda.
Janik says the program has become such a big success all because of the shelter's careful selection process and good judgment on the part of the hotel staff. They would like to extend this to other hotels, but they're holding back because reactive dogs aren't good candidates for living in a hotel lobby. There's a lot more that goes into the whole program and it's not as easy as it seems. "Because there are live animals are in the mix, we have to be able to trust that their health and well-being are taken care of first and foremost," she says. You come alone for a purpose, but then you get to leave with a friend for (their whole) life! Now that's called a win-win.
Aloft Hotel started a dog adoption program in 2014 and they had their 100th dog adopted in 2018. “We have always been a dog-friendly hotel, and in 2014, we were thinking about a community service project to do. Fostering a dog made perfect sense for us,” says David McCartney, general manager. “When we brought the first dog in and set up a doggy playpen in the lobby, we saw the overwhelmingly positive reaction from guests. When the first dog got adopted in about three days, the staff felt like we couldn’t live without a dog. So, we got another, and it’s continued since then.” Aloft doesn’t handle the adoption process itself, but coordinates with Charlie’s Angels to schedule home visits and help the adopter complete the required paperwork.