Over three million dogs enter US animal shelters every year, and one fourth of them are euthanized. A Biloxi, Mississippi business is reducing these stats by increasing adoptions in a unique way.
The Home2 Suites Hilton on the gulf coast of Mississippi is an extended stay hotel that offers guests an amenity they can’t find anywhere else—the chance to adopt a pet! Their “Fostering Hope” program takes in one foster dog at a time from the local animal shelter and houses the animal in their lobby. Guests and staff can interact with it, taking the dog for walks and even hanging out in their hotel room overnight.
If a guest or staff member strikes up a special bond with the animal, they can apply to adopt it right away, or opt to do a commitment-free fostering for the length of their hotel stay.
Sales Director Teresa Johnston came up with this idea in 2018, after watching lonely long-term guests. “They were missing something, I could see it,” Johnston says. “They were missing home and they were missing animals. I thought, ‘Why can’t we put the two together?'”
Working with the local Humane Society, they fashioned this successful program. The shelter carefully vets the dogs for participation, favoring calmer, friendlier ones who interact well with strangers.
Every eligible dog has been spayed or neutered, microchipped, and is up-to-date on shots and preventative medication. As well, the potential pup’s parent has to fill out an application and be accepted. When one dog gets adopted, the hotel will take in another from the shelter.
Within two years, the program has successfully found homes for more than 60 dogs. The “Fostering Hope” program has also brought positive attention to the hotel and is a win-win for all, as their temporary residents give a forever home to some unconditional furry love.
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