Homeless Hotel Hounds

Photo Credit: Susannah Kay

Admittedly, I’m a bit biased when it comes to Asheville, North Carolina. After all, this is the fun, eclectic city that wooed me to move to the southeast. Imagine my delight when I recently learned about a hotel in Asheville that staffs its lobby with dogs in need of homes!

Enter the Aloft Hotel in downtown Asheville, and you will be greeted by a dog wearing a vest printed with, “Adopt Me.” Dogs in need of homes come to Aloft via a western North Carolina adoption program called Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue. The adoptable dogs cannot stay in guest rooms at night, but they can and do accompany patrons throughout the rest of the hotel, so long as they are on leash.

How do Aloft guests feel about the adoption program? The hotel director of sales, Christine Kavanagh’s feels that the dogs have a positive impact. She stated, “The guests love it. It shows up on guest reviews and consumer surveys.”

Caren Ferris and her husband adopted Ginger during their hotel stay. They were not intending to return home with a dog, but as Caren explained, “I got up to leave and told her goodbye. She sat up, looked me in the eye and kissed me on the lips.” Ferris and her husband filled out the necessary paperwork, paid the required fees, and following the approval process, took Ginger home to meet their other dogs. Charlie’s Angels requires a home visit before approving any of their adoptions. If the adopters are from another state, the rescue group asks a staff member from a shelter nearby to perform the check.

How has the adoption program been going? Since July 2014 when the Aloft Hotel and Charlie’s Angels began their partnership, 14 dogs have been placed in new homes. Jan Trantham and her husband found their new dog this way. During their travels from Atlanta, they fell in love with a little Shih Tzu named Jackson. Trantham described their feelings stating, “Every time we went somewhere, one of us would say, ‘Let’s go back to the hotel and see Jackson.’ I couldn’t stop thinking about this dog.”

Talk about a win-win situation! Guests at the Aloft Hotel are treated to a unique experience, and some of them just might return home with more than they brought with them. Best of all, homeless dogs are finding their forever homes. Kudos to Charlie’s Angels and Aloft Hotel for their creative collaboration that I hope will set an example in other communities.

How would you feel about staying in a hotel with adoptable dogs in the lobby?

Best wishes,

Nancy Kay, DVM

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health.   There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at www.speakingforspot.com, Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.


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15 Comments on “Homeless Hotel Hounds

  1. Any opportunity to promote adoption is wonderful. A unique opportunity for the dogs to be socialized, and for travelers to get their “dog fix” when away from their won beloved pets. I will definitely keep that hotel chain in mind the next time I travel. BTW, the cat café concept is terrific, too. We need more of both of these wonderful programs.

  2. I do not travel much, but when I do, I miss my dogs and love the chance to interact with any I meet while I am away. So dogs in the hotel would be fine with me! And if I was in a position to adopt another, what a unique way to find my new best friend. However, they must get guests who dislike the idea. After all, not everyone loves dogs.

  3. I had seen a prior brief news clip of this and am impressed with the thought that it’s something that could be implemented all across the country. I think it’s a great opportunity in this fast paced world to bring the dogs to where the people are, as the people often won’t go out of their way to go where the dogs are. It benefits the dogs, in that it provides a more open natural setting, facilitates socialization and interaction for the dogs and I would find interacting with the dogs to be a big stress reliever during my stay if I were traveling. My wife and I don’t travel as much as we use to because we now have several giant breed dogs that we love greatly and wouldn’t want to have to leave any of them behind when visiting somewhere. it is however getting easier to find lodging that does allow dogs, but still many that do allow dogs are thinking along the lines of toy to mid sized dogs and not large and giant breeds. Our giant breed Bernese Mountain Dogs are indoor dogs, well socialized, have mellow temperaments, move about inside very little and are for the most part far quieter and less hyper than many small dogs. Over all, I would enjoy very much staying in lodging such as this.

  4. What a great idea and what better way to get the dogs highly socialized and ready for adoption than to put them into an environment where they are associated with being home…great Segway for many of those who are hesitant to adopt from an animal shelter/pound or rescue organization for a variety of reasons (fear of depression seeing so many dogs in need, fear of taking home more dogs than they are ready to handle, fear of the temperament of the dog, etc.)
    Great innovative and forward thinking. I would love to hear of more of this kind adoption. Wish I could stay in a hotel…but this five rescue dogs, it’s a difficult thing. Love it!!

  5. I think this is another venue for getting dogs adopted. Even when dogs are up for adoptions through rescue assoc. there is a certain amount of risk for the adopted dog.
    Let’s just think on the positive side here and hope all these guys get a Great forever home with a loving family.
    It’s hard to get dogs out there in the public eyes. This does accomplish that.
    Let’s hope it works out for all these guys.

  6. Animals are such good therapy. Even if they don’t get adopted, they provide so much enjoyment for many. Not to mention, the animals are in a much better space than a pound. Kudos to Aloft!

  7. great idea! somewhat unusual approach to adoption,but if it works out THE IDEA SHOULD SPREAD.

  8. What a great idea. In response to Laurey Weiner’s comment from this morning, I am assuming that Charlie’s Angels, the rescue partner, is handling due diligence and follow up. If so, then I think it is a great idea — anything to get the homeless pets out in front of potential adoptees! It’s like an adoption event, only better because the guests really get to know the pets and vise verse. My only concern is followup — which I suspect is also handled by Charlie’s Angels. Because the guests, by definition, are from out of town. Making follow up much more difficult.
    Beyond that is a personal thought — I would want to bring them all home. But I guess that is why I am in rescue. Because I am a rescuer!! Keep it up — it does make me think that I shall look for an Aloft property next time I travel!!

  9. Dr. Kay, I’m pleased to see that your adopted home state is finally catching up with the rest of the country. My husband and remember back in the 70’s and 80’s when driving up and down the eastern seaboard we could not stop overnight in NC because they had a state law that prohibited dogs in hotels. We also remember in the late 90s after the law was lifted when the only hotel we could get in downtown Asheville that took dogs was a dump and we had to go several miles out on the interstate to stay overnight with our Tibetan Terriers.

  10. As long as the rescue is following its guidelines for home checks and introductions with other family members (including dogs and other animals), this is a fabulous idea to find forever homes for those who don’t have one. BRAVO to this hotel and the rescue. If I am ever in Asheville again, I already know where I will be staying.

  11. I would feel, as I do for any adoption that I encounter, guilty. I have a dog, do not want more than one, and cannot afford a second. Still, I would feel guilty and would avoid going to the hotel again.

  12. I did see this on TV last week. My first thought was “what a wonderful idea”, but the more I consider it the more I question it.
    They did mention that there is a waiting period after application. I think they said 24 hours, but and that’s a big but..who is reviewing the application and who is doing back ground checks or verification checks. Are these dogs good “matches” with the potential adopters, do these folks or can these folks offer the dogs a good home, or are they following their hearts and not heads? Even in the best adoption situations there can and are issues with placement. Hmmm jury is still out.

  13. I love the idea! And would love to see it catch on in many other areas!

  14. What a wonderful story. I always loved Asheville as I am from Knoxville but now have lived in California since ’87. Asheville has always been ahead and forward thinking. In Ca we now have 2 Cat Cafes. Here in San Diego & another up in Oakland. You can have coffee & then go visit with the cats that all need homes. What a great idea. Several have been adopted too.
    I would live to stay in a hotel that had adoptable dogs!
    Thank you.

  15. How wonderful! This unique idea certainly is thinking outside the box and having stayed at ALOFT Hotels myself I am not surprised. They are fabulous establishments. Kudos for their insight and compassion.