From breezy car rides to snowstorms to long sunrise hikes, dogs make everything better. They also make travel better, but not everyone has a dog or can take theirs with them while away from home. One Mississippi hotel is now offering a unique adoption program to provide guests with free shelter pup companions during their stay.
The idea behind the Fostering Hope program is simple. Upon arrival at the Home2 Suites in Biloxi, Mississippi, guests will find a large kennel with a handful of shelter dogs in the lobby. Those looking for furry companionship can request to foster a pup during their stay and, if everything works out, officially adopt the dog at checkout. Lonely guests gain a travel friend, while the homeless pups find a new and loving home, so everybody wins.
The program is unconventional, but the hotel’s Sales Director Teresa Johnston wanted a way to engage better with the local community. According to the shelter’s manager, “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.”
Because the hotel caters to extended-stay guests, many spend weeks or even months on-site. The transient clientele includes military personnel and businesspeople who often have no permanent ties to the local area. Fostering a dog for the duration of their stay provides a sense of warmth and connection, and the length of a typical guests’ stay is usually long enough to form an attachment to their pooch.
It’s also a win for the Humane Society of South Mississippi, which takes in 8,000 dogs in an average year. Although it adopts out nearly 80% of those, it still needs all the help it can get. Since launching in October 2018, more than 33 hotel guests have opted to take their “rent-a-pup” home for good.
Guests at Home2 Suites Biloxi can apply and pay the $50 adoption fee at check-in. The hotel is quick to point out that not every guest is approved. The selection process is stringent with a clear focus on each dog’s long-term well-being. For approved guests, the wayward pup can move in with their new family immediately for the duration of the guests’ stay. What’s more: Every dog in the program goes home with an up-to-date medical evaluation, proper vaccinations, heartworm medication, microchipping, and spaying/neutering.
If you’re considering adopting a dog as an emotional support animal, here’s everything you need to know first.
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