A hotel in Mississippi has managed to find forever families for over 60 homeless dogs through its innovative Fostering Hope program, which enables guests to look after the hotel’s foster dog during their stay.
The initiative was started in 2018 by Teresa Johnston, the director of sales at Home2 Suites by Hilton in Biloxi North/D’Iberville, after she decided that having a pet at the hotel would make guests feel more at home. She partnered with the local Humane Society to transform the hotel into a canine foster home, taking on one dog at a time.
Guests interact with the foster dog, walking, feeding, and providing love and care for him or her. If one of them falls in love with the pup (and the pup with the guest), he or she can adopt the lucky canine. The hotel will then foster another dog, and the cycle continues.
“[The guests] were missing something, I could see it,” Johnston told Insider. “They were missing home, and they were missing animals. I thought, ‘why can’t we put the two together?’”
It’s not only guests who team up with the resident dogs — members of the hotel’s staff have created special bonds with the pets too.
One employee, Vincent Nargot, adopted a chihuahua named Chico through the program. After Johnston picked up the little dog from the Humane Society, she immediately contacted Nargot.
“She said ‘you better have your $50 [adoption fee] ready,'” Nargot recalls. “She walks in with the dog [and] made it two feet in the hotel and I was like, ‘Yep [he’s] mine.'”
Johnston now wishes to extend the Fostering Hope initiative to other Home2Suites hotel sites.