This extended-stay hotel allows guests to adopt a dog right from the lobby with its “Fostering Hope” program
This story reminds us of the classic song – “How much is that doggie in the window?”
But at the Home 2 Suites in Biloxi, Mississippi, it’s more like “How can I adopt that doggie in the hotel lobby” – yes, it’s not as catchy, but it’s a little more heartwarming.
And let’s face it, nothing eases the feeling of loneliness quite like having a fur-baby by your side.
Since October 2018, the extended-stay hotel has hosted adoptable shelter dogs from the Humane Society of South Mississippi in Gulfport.
And get this – so far, 33 guests have given a fur-ever home to one of the hotel’s “Fostering Hope” dogs, who occupy a large kennel in the lobby – it’s a brilliant idea that connects traveling humans with a furry companion in need.
“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, who stated that a few of the new fur-parents have been service men and women.
This compassionate program was the idea of the hotel’s director of sales, Teresa Johnston, USA Today reported.
Once Janik researched the hotel, she concluded that it was an “ideal set-up” for a long-term foster program for adoptable pups.
“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.
It’s a simple process too – hotel guests who express interest in one of the fur-babies, simply fill out an application and pay a $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.”
Once the application is approved by staff, the dog can then move right into the guest’s hotel room – this then opens up room for the Humane Society to add another adoptable pup into the lobby’s kennel, USA Today reported.
This then frees up additional space at the shelter, which takes in about 8,000 dogs a year and adopts out close to 80% of them.
As a standard in shelter adoptions, each dog has been neutered or spayed, microchipped and is up to date on vaccinations and preventative heartworm medication.
Janik says the program has succeeded thanks to a careful selection process on the part of the shelter – and good judgment on the part of the hotel staff.
That’s one reason why they haven’t expanded it to other hotels yet, even though they’re open to the idea.
“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.
Another great idea that benefits all parties involved. Humans get the unconditional love and support of a fur-baby and the dogs get a fur-ever home with lots of pets – oh and of course – unconditional love as well.
Follow the Humane Society of South Mississippi on Facebook for more amazing programs to help all the fur-babies.