Rancho Mirage, CA— Westin Mission Hills 

Across the country in Southern California, the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa in Rancho Mirage runs a similar foster program called the Dog Samaritans Adoption Project in partnership with the nonprofit Animal Samaritans.

A lobby dog hangs out in a little doghouse and playpen so guests can spend time cuddling a pooch or taking them for a walk around the property.

 The program helps dogs get used to socializing with people and children, and gives guests a chance to spend time with a dog, which can be particularly meaningful if they’re missing one at home.

Raquel Wood, executive assistant to the general manager, runs the program, which has re-homed 137 dogs. Some are adopted by vacationing families, others by business travelers who take a dog for a walk between meetings and inadvertently fall in love. Eight have even moved to Canada with their new families.

“Our dogs have been adopted all over,” she told TODAY. “It’s just great to see.”

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, though Wood said there are occasional complaints from guests who are allergic to pet dander. Those people are referred to a sister property next door that doesn’t allow pets.

Every August, the hotel hosts a free reunion for people who have adopted dogs through the program, staff and volunteers from Animal Samaritans, and local residents. The chef cooks peanut butter cookies for the canine guests and bartenders mix dog-themed cocktails like “Salty Dogs” and “Frisky Chihuahua Margaritas” for pet parents during a “Yappy Hour.”

“To see the dogs thriving, it’s just such an incredible feeling,” Wood said.

 About Animal Samaritans – animalsamaritans.org
Animal Samaritans is a community-leading 501c3 Animal Welfare organization established in 1978 to improve the lives of animals and people.  They champion compassion and respect for all living creatures, with a primary focus on dogs, cats, and the humans who love them.   

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We know you have many choices when it comes to how to invest your philanthropic dollars, and Animal Samaritans takes seriously the stewardship of your investment in us.

The Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau recommends that nonprofits not spend more than 35 cents on the dollar of its budget on administration and fundraising.

At Animal Samaritans that number is, year over year, close to 10 cents on the dollar. That means the other 90 cents goes to our mission and our services.

That’s just one of the reasons that Animal Samaritans, for more than 4 decades, has been among Southern California’s most trusted animal welfare organizations.

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