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A Ruff Guide to Adopting a Dog on Your Next Trip

By Miranda Smith

Jul 13, 2018

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Foster dogs at Inn by the Sea wear “adopt me” vests around the hotel until a guest falls in love and takes them home. 

Courtesy of Inn by the Sea

Foster dogs at Inn by the Sea wear “adopt me” vests around the hotel until a guest falls in love and takes them home. 

Make fetch happen. Bring home a new pet on your next trip at a hotel that’s connecting guests with animals in need.

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It’s no secret that hotels are getting better at accommodating our furry friends. According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, 60 percent of hotels were pet-friendly in 2014, a 10 percent increase from 2006, and some of these places offer toys and treats at check-in, cozy dog beds in the room, and sometimes even a doggie concierge.

Now that we’re all getting more comfortable with having pups on the property, it only makes sense that a few resorts are going a step further. For all the pet pups in the United States, there are still millions looking for a loving home.

These hotels are doing something about it.  

Just a seven-mile drive south of Portland, Maine, Inn by the Sea is an idyllic beach getaway on the Atlantic coast. The private boardwalk, a full-service spa, and a seafood restaurant with ocean views are worth the trip, but the best amenity this hotel offers is the opportunity to adopt an animal in need.

In its partnership with the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, Inn by the Sea has facilitated 118 adoptions since 2015. That’s when the first dog—Mombo, a three-year-old Bernese mountain dog—was adopted in less than 24 hours. The hotel fosters one dog from the animal shelter at a time; the staff takes care of him, and guests have the opportunity to walk and play with him—and should they fall in love, they can adopt him.

Guests are welcome to walk Inn by the Sea’s resident foster dog.
While the foster system is as fun and adorable as it sounds, it also gives animals a second chance, if a guest is ready for the responsibility and lifelong commitment. “This program really does help to save lives,” says Inn by the Sea’s public relations manager Rauni Kew. “The last few dogs we have had on property were rescues from Puerto Rico.”

“This program really does help to save lives. The last few dogs we have had on property were rescues from Puerto Rico.”

Other U.S. hotels have taken on similar programs. Longtime pet-friendly chain Aloft Hotels partnered with Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue to introduce pups in need to guests at its Asheville, North Carolina, location in 2014. The program has since expanded to Aloft’s Greenville, Wisconsin; Tallahassee; and Orlando Downtown outposts.

Fontainebleau’s front office manager, Alfred Reynoso, met his dog, Kali, through an internal adoption program.
The Fontainebleau in Miami Beach has found homes for more than 15 dogs and kittens through its new internal adoption program this year. Bleau Adopts is predominantly aimed at connecting foster pets with staff members, but that’s not to say guests won’t get to meet the pups. “The dogs do wear a harness that says ‘Adopt Me’ around the hotel, and should a guest or visitor of the hotel seriously inquire, we will allow it,” says Stepanie Giner from Fontainebleau. “After all, the goal is to find loving homes for these animals no matter what.”

Red Mountain Resort takes its guests to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, where 1,600 rescue animals live.
Red Mountain Resort in St. George, Utah—a luxury adventure resort—hosts a Puppy Pound Hike, pairing guests with dogs from the St. George Animal Shelter for a trek through the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. Since the program began in 2008, 30 animals have been adopted. The resort expanded its pet-friendly agenda in 2017 with a daylong excursion to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. Guests enjoy guided hikes through the 3,700-acre sanctuary, which is the largest no-kill animal welfare program in the country and is home to 1,600 animals.

The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in Palm Springs facilitated its 1ooth adoption in February when a California couple took the lucky pup, Lady, home. The Mediterranean-style resort has been fostering dogs through Animal Samaritans for the past three years and has sent 120 pups to their forever homes. 

“The Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa has been a blessing for our homeless shelter dogs,” Animal Samaritans CEO Tom Snyder says. “The partnership works because the staff understands that pets are family, and they are committed to providing the necessary time to feed, water, walk, and socialize the dogs we entrust to them.” 

The pups stay in a doghouse (a mini replica of the hotel) in the pet-friendly lobby so guests can meet them and take them out for walks. The resort is hosting its third puppy reunion in late August, when adopted dogs and owners come back to Palm Springs to celebrate the program. 


When beauty and fashion blogger Lara Eurdolian stayed at the Westin in 2016, she walked the resident 10-year-old Pomeranian, Charlie, every day. Charlie, the 46th dog adopted, now lives with Eurdolian in New York City and even has his own Instagram account.

“I had no plans to adopt or own a pet at the time we arrived at the Westin,” Eurdolian says. “I’m grateful every day for my best friend. Rescuing Charlie was the best decision of my life.”

>>Next: Dog-Friendly Hotels Where They Treat Your Pup Like a VIP

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