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.
The brilliant program was the idea of Teresa Johnston, the hotel's sales director. "We’re an extended-stay Hilton branded property. We have a lot of extended-stay guests with Keesler Air Force Base, Ingalls Shipbuilding and other supporting industries. I could see that our guests were lonely, and I wanted to fill a void for them and at the same time help our community," she told Bored Panda.
"People love animals and we have many guest that decide to stay at the Home2 Suites by Hilton Biloxi North/D'Iberville because of this program," Johnston 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.
The Humane Society of South Mississippi say the program is very open, but they do reserve the right to deny an adoption. If that's the case, they may invite people to visit their shelter another day and find the pet that's right for them.
So far, at least 34 guests have gone home with one of the Home 2 Suites “Fostering Hope” dogs.
"We keep doing what we’re doing, our families during the summer love the program and our servicemen and women love the program all year long," Johnston said.
The hotel's sales director also added that anyone can make this program happen. "It takes a property cheerleader, a strong operations team and a commitment to the local shelter to find homes for all these animals one at a time. Love what you do!"