Some people feel bored and lonely while traveling, even at hotels that offer a variety of amenities and entertainment. But what the Mississippi Hotel has to offer is truly original and captivates guests, especially those who love animals. In doing so, they make guests feel that they are in a “home away from home” rather than a generic hotel.
The idea launched by the Home2 Suites by Hilton Biloxi North/D’Iberville was a program called Fostering Hope in October 2018, which was based on bringing shelter dogs from the Humane Society of South Mississippi to the hotel’s lobby. The guests can bring the dogs in their rooms while staying at the hotel. But that is not all, because, if the guests’ wishes, he/she will have the opportunity to adopt the dog at the checkout.
This hotel is a specialized place for long-term visits, and many guests usually stay for months, so it is an ideal place for this special project to be able to socialize with people and dogs. At the same time, this arrangement frees up space in the shelter, but also provides opportunities for more dogs to be seen and to find new families.
According to data obtained from shelters, the Humane Society of South Mississippi (HSSM) is the largest animal welfare organization in the state of Mississippi and there are about 8,000 dogs admitted annually and an adoption rate of about 80 percent. Their dream is to make South Mississippi a truly humane community where every pet lives out his/her life in a loving home.
Teresa Johnston, director of hotel sales and the main driver behind this original idea, points out:
“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 added that idea was born when she realized that people love animals and after trying it in this hotel it resulted in the intention of people to prolong the stay there because of this program.
The program includes one foster dog at a time, which is available for guests for walking, feeding, keeping it overnight during the stay in the hotel. However, when they leave the hotel they can even take the dog out. This bond between a long-term guest and a dog becomes strong, resulting in most often with a domesticated animal.
The procedure is very simple:
- Completing the application for adoption and
- Paying a fee of $ 50 at the hotel.
But the Humane Society of South Mississippi reserves the right to withhold adoption if they have any doubts, regardless of the fact that the program is very open. If anything is found that has delayed adoption, the interested guest may be invited to visit a shelter at another time to find a pet that suits them.
Since the beginning of this program, over 60 dogs have been adopted by guests staying at Home2 Suites, including hotel staff.
Johnston also stated that this is enjoyable for them to do and that their families and their servicemen and women love that program all year long.
According to Johnson, anyone can make this program happen. However, it takes a property cheerleader, a strong operations team and a commitment to the local shelter.
This is a great way to find homes for all these animals one at a time and to make people happy too.
For other accessible amenities in the Home2 Suites you can find here: www.hilton.com