Hotel foster dogs are helping travelers rethink the idea of  “souvenir.”

Hotel Foster Dogs
What’s the best thing you ever brought home from a trip? There are many happy reminders of trips past scattered throughout our home: a vial of teeny tiny seashells carefully collected from a Cuban beach, the enormous glass hooka we wrapped in all our clothes and oh-so-carefully carted home from Tunisia, an Indonesian sarong I use as a table cloth.

All these objects I look at and love, but none of them love me back. And while some of the vendors I have dealt with may be a bit on the questionable side, it would be more than a touch melodramatic to say I “rescued” any of the trinkets I bought.

Now some hotels are upping the game on what visitors can bring home, and rescue is just the right word!

These four loveable littles found their forever home via the foster dog adoption program at the Westin Edmonton

These four loveable littles found their forever home via the foster dog adoption program at the Westin Edmonton.

The Westin Hotel in Edmonton is taking “pet-friendly” to a whole new level. Since the summer of 2015, the Westin Edmonton has partnered with Infinite WOOFS Animal Rescue Society to be a foster home for dogs. The dogs are much like other hotel dogs: greeting guests, taking walks with staff or guests, dozing behind the desk, and generally making the lobby a nicer place to be. The wonderful twist on it is that these special dogs are up for adoption! At the time of writing, the program had been in place for 10 weeks and had already resulted in eight adoptions.

Nella Mirante, Manager of Guest Experience and chef concierge at the Westin Edmonton describes it as “bittersweet.” Of course, she loves to have the furry ambassadors and finds it hard to let go, but “but we know that each dog has made a wonderful connection with each family and found a forever home.”

Hotel Foster Dogs

Could you say no to these little faces? Three guests at the Westin Edmonton couldn’t either!

As the unabashedly obnoxious mama of two Humane Society Dogs, I am so pleased that hotels are getting in on the dog adoption game. At the Aloft Asheville Downtown (like the Westin, a Starwood hotel), they have partnered with Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue in a similar adoption scheme since January of 2014. Each adoptive family is put through a rigorous screening process that includes a home visit. If the prospective owner lives far from Asheville, North Carolina, a local partner rescue agency will perform the check. The Aloft Asheville Downtown has found even those unable to adopt a dog get quite attached, so keeps guests up to date with the dogs and their adoptive status via Facebook. When the most recent foster dog, Bandit, was adopted, there was much social media rejoicing. It was heartwarming!

It is a boon for the dogs and their rescue societies; to have the somewhat novel outlet for adoptions, but it is good for the hotel too. At the Westin, they embrace a “Move Well, Feel Well” philosophy and the dogs fit neatly into that. Hotel associates and guests are encouraged to play with the dogs and take them for walks, and the feel well…well have you ever pet a pup and not felt better?

Bringing a dog into your family is not a decision to be taken lightly, and these adorable dogs are counting on their new owners to commit to giving them a loving home for the rest of their lives. It is far more than any shot glass or fridge magnet ever demanded of you. But if you are up to it, you could bring home the best souvenir of all time: love on four feet!