By Andrea Romano
December 08, 2019
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Credit: Courtesy of The Human Society of South Mississippi

Nothing eases the loneliness of travel more than an adorable dog.

Many travelers with dogs opt for hotels that are pet-friendly so they can bring their canine companions wherever they go. But not everyone is fortunate to have a furry friend in tow.

One hotel in Mississippi is helping to change that by allowing guests to adopt a dog in their own lobby and have their new family member join them in their room, USA Today reported.

Working with the Humane Society of South Mississippi in Gulfport, a Home 2 Suites location in Biloxi has set up dog kennels in its lobby for its “Fostering Hope” program. Guests can potentially adopt or foster a new friend right on-site and have it accompany them in their room, according to USA Today. Home 2 Suites generally caters to extended-stay travelers, so staying at this hotel is a bit like having a home away from home.

Credit: Courtesy of The Human Society of South Mississippi

If the guest is unsure if they want to adopt, they can also foster the dog for the duration of their stay, no commitment required, according to USA Today. However, after an extended stay with an adorable pooch, it may be hard for guests to go home without them.

The hotel set up the program back in October 2018 and has, so far, sent home 33 guests with adopted dogs. The program was conceived by the hotel sales director, Teresa Johnston, who approached the Humane Society to set up a long-term fostering program. The Humane Society of South Mississippi typically houses over 8,000 per year in its shelter, so the “Fostering Hope” program helps to make room for more dogs in need at the shelter as well.

“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. “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.”

Credit: Courtesy of The Human Society of South Mississippi

Guests who want to adopt a dog can easily fill out an application and pay a $50 fee at the concierge desk, USA Today reported. No extra trips required. However, 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 to USA Today. The shelter also chooses which dogs will be better for housing at the Home 2 Suites, being sure to pick dogs that are calmer, less reactive, and can be comfortable in a busy hotel.

At the time of adoption, all dogs are sent home with updated medical evaluations and procedures, including spay/neutering, microchip, and up-to-date vaccinations and preventative heartworm medication.