Hotels and Animal Shelters Team Up to Find Dogs Homes

Analysis by Dr. Karen Shaw Becker

shelter dogs for adoption

Story at-a-glance -

  • Many hotels are partnering with local animal shelters and rescues to help dogs find homes
  • Aloft Greenville Downtown hotel houses one rescue dog at a time, who gets to hang out in a specially made doghouse near the check-in desk — the perfect spot to meet potential new owners
  • The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, California has fostered more than 100 dogs, helping each one find a new home via hotel guests
  • At other resorts, like Red Mountain Resort in Utah, guests can take shelter dogs for walks as part of their Pound Puppy Hike program
  • The Kimpton Hotel Monaco Denver offers a Prosecco + Puppies Package, which allows guests get to spend an hour with foster puppies in their room; half of the proceeds are donated to a rescue in the area

Imagine checking in to your hotel and being welcomed with a furry handshake and a puppy dog smile. For dog lovers, it can be an irresistible sight — one that's helping homeless dogs across the U.S. find their forever families.

In a step that goes beyond pet-friendly policies allowing guests to bring their own pets for an overnight stay, some hotels are partnering with local animal shelters and rescues to showcase dogs in need of homes.

Dustin Cash, general manager of the Aloft Greenville Downtown hotel in South Carolina, told the New York Times, "We are playing an active part in helping these dogs find their fur-ever home … We've had guests who live states away drive back just to adopt one of the fosters they fell in love with during their visit."1

The hotel houses one rescue dog at a time, who gets to hang out in a specially made doghouse near the check-in desk — the perfect spot to meet potential new owners. More than 130 dogs have found homes via the program, and it's only one of many like it in the U.S.2

Hotels Help Shelter Pets Find New Homes

The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, California, is another hotel that's "gone to the dogs." They've partnered with Animal Samaritans shelter and have fostered more than 100 dogs, helping each one find a new home via hotel guests.3 The Inn by the Sea, near Portland Maine, also hosts "lobby dogs" so guests can get to know them.

"We care for the dog and give it a temporary home here until somebody falls in love and adopts the dog," Rauni Kew, Inn by the Sea public relations manager, told Today. "I can't tell you how many guests have said to us, 'There's no way we would've gone to a shelter; we had decided we wouldn't have another dog.' But they've fallen in love with the dog behind the desk."4

It makes perfect sense, since dogs in shelters are often fearful and stressed, so they don't show their true personalities to potential adopters. But in a calmer environment like a small hotel lobby, their personalities can shine and they easily win over the hearts of potential adopters — even those who didn't know they were looking.

At other resorts, like Red Mountain Resort in Utah, guests can take shelter dogs for walks as part of their Pound Puppy Hike program. So far, 30 dogs have found new homes through the program, but even if they don't end up getting adopted that day, they're able to go out on a scenic walk.5

Often, however, the dogs' stay doesn't end up being too long. At the Westin Ottawa in Ontario, for instance, dogs only stay, on average, a few days to a couple of weeks before they find their forever home.6

Hotels Raise Money for Shelter Pups

While some hotels are helping by directly matching dogs with new owners, others are raising funds to donate to shelters and rescue groups. The Kimpton Hotel Monaco Denver is one such hotel, which offers a Prosecco + Puppies Package. Guests get to spend an hour with up to 10 foster puppies in their room, along with Prosecco and bites to eat. Half of the proceeds are donated to Lifeline Puppy Rescue in the area.

"This is an incredible fundraiser for the rescue. Not only does it raise much-needed funds, but it's priceless socialization for the puppies," Scott Cromer, the organization's director of outreach, told Forbes.7 The hotel also holds pop-up adoptions once a month. Kimpton hotel and restaurant group is also well known for having pet-friendly policies for their employees, who may bring their pets to work with them at the hotels.

The Asbury hotel in Asbury Park, New Jersey, is another example, which hosts adoption drives a few times a year and also donates half of the hotel's pet fees to a nearby rescue group. Similarly, Park Hyatt Chicago donates 100% of its pet fees to PAWS Chicago. The Aloft Orlando Downtown hotel also fosters pups in its lobby, where lucky visitors are welcome to play with them or sign up to take them on walks.8

Animal Adoptions on the Rise

In part due to innovative programs like these, adoptions from pet shelters and rescues are on the rise, such that adoption has become the No. 1 method of acquiring a new pet in the U.S.9 A "cultural shift" has been noted as being partly responsible for driving this change,10 and this is certainly true with hotels, which have only recently started catering to pet owners and pet lovers alike.

Hopefully more hotel chains will team up with animal shelters near them to get these pets in need more exposure. The more people who meet animals looking for homes, the more likely it will be that they'll be adopted — and more animals can ultimately be saved.

If you happen to spot a pooch up for adoption when you're on the road and are considering bringing him home, be sure he's a good fit for your lifestyle. It's easy to fall in love with a cute face, but you'll need to match personalities, too. Perhaps the pup in the hotel lobby is the perfect choice for your family, but if not, visit a shelter when you get back home to find the right pet for you.