For the last two months, a handful of cute hounds have found new forever homes thanks to a unique partnership between the Aloft Asheville Downtown Hotel and Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue, a Fletcher-based nonprofit group.
The Aloft Asheville team, which picks four community involvement projects a year, decided to foster dogs for their third-quarter program. The hotel team linked up with Charlie’s Angels and began hosting a dog in a special area in the middle of the hotel lobby. Aloft Asheville is a pet friendly property that provides guests with a gift bag for their dogs, one that includes a squeaky toy and a dog biscuit from Three Dog Bakery in downtown Asheville.
The collaboration has been an immediate hit, resulting in happy hotel guests and quick adoptions.
“We’ve seen overwhelming support and joy from our guests. They’re just amazed that we’re doing this,” said Aloft General Manager David McCartney. He added that hotel staff members have also jumped in to care for the dogs.” “We thought each dog would be here a month or two, but they’ve been getting adopted within days of arriving,” he said. Guests often share their stories of caring for homeless pets, McCartney said, and express their gratitude for the hotel-animal group partnership.
Consider the story of Jim Lowder and his wife Jerene Broadway of Asheville. Lowder was at Aloft Asheville for a meeting when he spotted a tail-wagging Eskimo spitz. The couple had been talking about taking in a new pet following the loss last Thanksgiving of their beloved nine-year-old dog, according to Lowder. So he called his wife and asked her to check out the snow-white dog in the hotel lobby.
“I think for us it was a case of love at first sight,” Lowder said. “This dog was just really cute and incredibly friendly. We started the adoption process and were fortunate to be chosen as its new home.”
Rick Wilson, a volunteer with Charlie’s Angels has been instrumental in setting up the partnership with Aloft. He met Aloft staff member Emma Ledbetter on a plane headed to Tampa. “Remarkably, our seats were side-by-side going and coming from Asheville,” Rick said. It was during those flights that the two discovered a mutual interest in pet rescue and began to explore the idea of a partnership to foster dogs.
“I am very impressed by the Aloft and the way they are so dog friendly,” Rick continued. “The way they welcome and accommodate animals at the hotel is wonderful. Through this new partnership, Aloft is taking their care for animals to the next level. They are not only helping to find pets a good home, but they are helping us to raise awareness about Charlie’s Angels and the important work we do.”
Hotel guests who are prospective dog parents have happily entered into the formal adoption application process. As part of that effort, Charlie’s Angels requires a home inspection and maintains a relationship with similar animal rescue organizations in other cities. The partnering organizations follow up with applicants in their hometowns, complete inspections and notify Charlie’s Angels that all is in order for the pet’s new homecoming. Recently, one of the Aloft’s foster dogs traveled south to a new home in Charlotte, another to a new home in Pennsylvania.
So far, five dogs have been adopted from the Aloft with another furry guest expected soon. With a deep appreciation for the role that pets play in our lives, Aloft Asheville owner John McKibbon sees the hotel’s fostering effort as a revolutionary way for people to find and adopt dogs.
“Most of us think about visiting a shelter when we consider rescuing a pet,” said McKibbon. “It’s clear from the overwhelming response of our staff and guests, that people can fall in love with a future pet in a variety of settings, including businesses. I’m proud that the hotel can play such a unique and important role in the adoption process.”
As part of their ongoing support of Charlie’s Angels and animal rescue efforts, the hotel’s Sunday, October 26th Live@Aloft event will feature a pet costume competition just in time for Halloween. While the event is free and open to the public, donations will be accepted to support the continuing good work of Charlie’s Angels.