Traveling and staying at hotels can become lonely. So lonely even the TV and the mini-bar can’t numb the emptiness. But one hotel in Mississippi has found the perfect way to warm their guests’ lonesome hearts.
Home2 Suites by Hilton Biloxi North/D’Iberville has been operating a program called Fostering Hope. Running since October 2018, it brings shelter dogs from the Humane Society of South Mississippi to the hotel’s lobby and offers guests the chance to foster the adorable pets in their rooms while they’re staying at the facility. Moreover, if people really hit it off with their companions, they can adopt them on their way out.
This frees up space at the shelter — which takes in about 8,000 dogs a year and adopts out close to 80% of them — so more doggos can get the help they need and increases the chances for these dogs to get noticed and find their new family. And since the hotel specializes in long-term visits (many guests book a room for months at a time), it’s the perfect venue for such an initiative.
“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,” Bianca Janik, the shelter’s relations manager, told USA TODAY.
The brilliant program was the idea of Teresa Johnston, the hotel’s sales director. After Janik researched the hotel, she decided it was an “ideal set-up” for an extended 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 explained.
If guests wish to take home a dog from the program, 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 said. “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.”
So far, at least 33 guests have gone home with one of the Home 2 Suites “Fostering Hope” dogs.