When Lolly, a Papillon-Chihuahua mix, went home to Flat Rock with the Hultin family, she became the 100th dog to find its forever home through the foster dog program at Aloft Asheville Downtown.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be Lolly’s forever family,” said Karen Hultin. “Adopting her through Aloft Asheville and working with their foster dog partner, Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue (CAAR), has been a wonderful experience. Their program helps save dogs in need and serves as a fun perk for travelers and locals visiting the hotel.”
The Aloft Asheville Downtown fosters dogs from CAAR right in the hotel, where they are cared for by the staff and given the chance to meet hotel guests who are potential adopters. Since its launch in 2014 at the dog-friendly facility, the foster dog program has been featured in national news outlets and served as a catalyst for similar programs in seven states and Canada. Three other McKibbon Hospitality properties, the Aloft Greenville Downtown, Aloft Orlando Downtown, and Aloft Tallahassee Downtown, have started similar programs. In total, more than 200 dogs have found forever homes through the four McKibbon Hospitality properties.
“It has been truly wonderful to watch so many dogs find their forever homes,” said David McCartney, General Manager of the Aloft Asheville Downtown. “In addition to making such a significant impact in Asheville, we are proud to have inspired other hotels across the country to do the same. We hope that more hotels will continue to adopt this model so that together as an industry, we can save the lives of more dogs in need.”
Through the program, Aloft Asheville Downtown partners with CAAR in Fletcher. Working together, they choose a dog they believe will be both friendly with staff and guests and comfortable in the hotel environment. The hotel fosters one dog at a time with the hope that it can be permanently adopted by hotel guests, whether visitors or locals. By taking dogs out of the traditional shelter and letting them stay at the hotel, guests can interact with the dogs in an intimate setting and get to know them before adopting.
Kim Smith, President of CAAR, said that the program has done more than find adoptive homes for dogs from the CAAR shelter. “It has been recognized nationally by the media,” Smith said, “and is now being replicated by other rescues in more than a dozen states which are also creating their own successful adoptions.”
CAAR itself has also benefitted from the Aloft foster dog program, thanks to the Petco Foundation. The organization entered an Innovation Awards competition the Petco Foundation offers, and was invited to vie with eight other rescue groups for the wild card spot. “We are proud,” Smith said, “that we are the only animal rescue in the entire state of North Carolina that was invited to compete alongside much larger rescues, most of them in the northeast.” The wild card winner was determined by public voting, and, unfortunately for CAAR, the greater number of supporters of the larger rescues outvoted the backers of the smaller Fletcher organization.
“We didn’t win the wild card spot,” Smith said, “but the Petco Foundation awarded Charlie’s Angel’s a $5,000 grant.”
According to Jerene Broadway of Asheville, who adopted Brigid, an Eskimo Spitz, in 2014, “Aloft Asheville’s foster dog program is remarkable. Being able to meet our dog in a setting outside of the traditional shelter and get to know her before the adoption made us confident we were a good match. We hope that other hotels across the country continue to add this wonderful model for dog adoptions.”