The Home 2 Stay suites in Biloxi, Mississippi is offering guests the opportunity to foster a dog on-site and have it accompany them in their room. Partnering with the Humane Society of South Mississippi in Gulfport, the extended-stay hotel is setting up dog kennels in the lobby for its “Fostering Hope” program.
Home 2 Suites are typically hotels that cater to extended-stay travelers, so folks can for weeks at a time. And what better way to make yourself feel more at home than with a furry companion?
“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,” said Bianca Janik, the shelter’s relations manager, to USA Today.
Hotel sales director Teresa Johnston approached the Humane Society to set up the unique 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,” said Janik.
The goal is obviously to make the guest fall head over heals with the dog and adopt, but there is no commitment required. Still, it might be hard to say goodbye to your new friend. So far, in a little over a year, 33 guests have adopted dogs based on their fostering experience.
Another positive? More room for dogs at the Humane Society’s shelter. They typically support over 8,000 dogs per year in its shelter, so the “Fostering Hope” program helps make room for more dogs. And dogs get time out of the shelter to spend with human friends.
Worried that any random guest can just waltz off with a dog? Not so fast. The shelter has the right to refuse an adoption if they see fit.
“(We) may tell them we don’t feel comfortable, come visit our shelter tomorrow and we’ll find one that is right,” said Janik. The shelter also chooses which dogs will be better for the Home 2 Suites fostering experience, selecting dogs that are less reactive and more comfortable socializing in a busy hotel.
“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,” Janik explained.
All adopted dogs are sent to their new homes spayed and neutered, microchipped, vaccinated, and with preventative heartworm medication.