Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue (CAAR) has worked since the summer of 2014, with the management and staff of the Aloft Downtown Asheville hotel in a creative program that has the hotel fostering animals available for adoption by its guests. The results have been excellent.
In 30 months, 81 dogs have been adopted by hotel guests. Aloft General Manager David McCartney said that roughly 60% of the adopting families or individuals come from out of town, with the remaining 40% coming from Western North Carolina and other areas. He added that dogs have even been placed with families in Florida, New York and Connecticut.
McCartney said that “the happiest dogs he had seen adopted,” a closely bonded brother-sister pair, went to a family in St. Louis. Like most out-of-area adopters, they fell in love with the dogs on their first visit, initiated the adoption process, completed it at home, and then came back to Asheville to pick up the dogs. They drove the nine hours to Asheville, stayed overnight, and drove back the next day. All of the adopting individuals and families have to be vetted by CAAR. If the adopters are local, they get a home inspection visit from a CAAR volunteer and are asked to provide a reference from their veterinarian. If the adopters live at a distance, CAAR asks a favor from a rescue group in their home area to do the home inspection and get references. Once it is clear that the adopters will be able to provide a good home for the dog, they return to Asheville to take the dog to its new home.
All the dogs fostered at Aloft spend their first 24 hours in a quiet room away from the noise and activity of public spaces. That helps them acclimate to what McCartney describes as “a big family with a big home that has a lot of visitors.”
According to McCartney, most of the fostered dogs are adopted in two weeks or less. He thinks the speed record, though, is about five minutes. A newly arrived guest saw the dog in the lobby and said, “That’s the dog I’ve been looking for all my life!”
Aloft Downtown Asheville has been pet friendly since it opened in the late summer of 2012. Later this year, around the dog days of summer, the Aloft will have special events and programs commemorating its five year anniversary, including an all-out effort to have five pets adopted out of the Aloft lobby in one weekend.
McCartney and the Aloft staff are proud of their work with CAAR and that the success of their program has encouraged other hotels to be pet friendly. One new corporate relative, AC Marriot, will be opening on Broadway in late spring. It, too, will be pet friendly. But whether it will be as pet friendly as the Aloft Downtown Asheville remains to be seen.