This nationally recognized dog adoption program that started in the Westin Mission Hills lobby helps dogs find loving homes. Tom Scaramellino chats about this feel-good partnership with Animal Samaritans at Meetings Today LIVE event.
Tom Scaramellino: Well, about four years ago, the team was having a discussion about maybe perhaps having a lobby dog or something that we could have in the lobby that would be attractive to families and friends. And so, the discussion kept continuing to the point where we said, 'Well, why don't we consider doing some adoptions?'
We reached out to Animal Samaritans, which is a local nonprofit dog adoption program here in town. They partnered with us-where we created this wonderful pen in the lobby. We also made a miniature replica of our hotel as a dog pen within the dog pen, so the dog could get some rest because of the activity in the lobby. We were afraid the dog wouldn't be able to relax.
And this has been a program that's been ongoing now for four years, and we're up to 145 adoptions.
Meet Wyatt. Wyatt was number 95. Wyatt is my dog. I walked in one day to our beautiful sprawling campus here and just fell in love with him. He was so great on the leash. He was just so loving that I called the wife up and made her come in and we adopted him.
Westins are all about replacing what you leave at home and many of our guests come without their pets. We are very pet friendly, but many come without their pets and they just love to be able to connect with the pet. This is their way of connecting with their dog that they left behind.
Jim Krotz: This has gained national attention as well.
Tom: This has been all over the country. It's been on national news. We've gotten more press from this small program that how it started and it's become nationally known. It's actually recognized in the western system. Now many of our brothers and sisters are following our program. This program is now in many Westins throughout the country.
Of those 145 adoptions throughout the whole country and internationally in Canada, a large percentage of our dogs go to Canada. Many are in the East Coast. Some guests come and stay for the weekend, walk the dog and feel so bad when they get home they return back the next weekend and adopt the dog.
It is just an amazing program and it was brought such joy and love to so many families.