Zack, my boy

Zack, our 3.5-year old Pyrenean Mountain Dog, always tugs at my heartstrings whenever he looks deep into my eyes. Yesterday was no different. I had been combing him and noticed that he had been gnawing at his right foreleg again. I had read somewhere that dogs do this for a variety of reasons: boredom, separation anxiety, or infection. I know it cannot be an infection, as there is no skin breakage or scabs. However, I did think that it could be boredom or separation anxiety.

Although we work in the house and our flatlet where the dogs live is within the house, we are not as often in the flatlet as one might suppose if there is a lot to do in the B&B. Over the past week or so, we have been very busy, and yesterday was particularly so – I had spent most of morning till night, quite literally from 7:30 am to 9:30 pm, in the guest house area. There was lots of cleaning to do, tables to set, food to prepare, laundry to wash, emails to answer, etc. In fact, I did not even manage to finish until 9:30 pm as I said, and then I still had the dogs to comb.

Now, one would have thought that Zack, having Maddi, our older Pyrenean Mountain Dog, for company, would have been quite happy lolling around with his doggy friend. Also, although I had not been able to spend much time with Zack yesterday, Hubby had taken both dogs out for walks in the morning and afternoon. Moreover, I had popped in a few times to see him too, sometimes staying for 30-60 minutes when answering emails and updating our online booking availability.

Unfortunately, this is not quite enough for Zack. He prefers human to doggy company. He likes to be patted or simply to lie by one’s side. He likes to look into one’s eyes and ‘talk’ with his eyes and gestures. When he looks into my eyes, I can see all the softness there; Hubby says Zack is in love. That’s an extraordinary statement, but I know what Hubby means. In fact, if anyone of you has an affectionate pet, you will know exactly what I mean. It sure makes one’s heart melt.

So of course I felt guilty when I found discoloured hair on Zack’s leg. I have tried to spend more time with him, and wish I could take him into the guest house proper. However, this is just not feasible when there are guests around because: 1) he is hairy and moults; 2) he is protective as befits his breed; 3) guests might be allergic to dog hair; and 4) guests might be frightened of dogs, especially large ones. In fact, we often get enquiries from people who want to holiday with their dogs at our guest house. This is not possible for all or some of the above reasons, and even though we like dogs, I always feel bad when I have to tell people that we cannot accommodate their dogs in our rooms.

Notwithstanding the above, over the past years, however, we have had guests bring their dogs with them when they have come to stay at our B&B. One couple showed up with two spaniels, which were very good and slept in their cages in the car. We do have outside water facilities and great walks are just at the back of the house, so the dogs had a good time, only being separated from their owners when they slept in the car at nights.

A panoramic far-reaching vista of Lake Windermere and its surrounding mountains taken from Brantfell, one of the viewpoints behind our guesthouse, Blenheim Lodge. What a great place for dogs to go walkies! What a treat of a view for the 'intrepid' walker! (Photo courtesy of

Zack is so desirous of company that he will wait at the top of the stair leading to the connecting door between our own accommodation and the guest house. I always feel sorry for for him when he does this, because he will sit there patiently for some while before giving up and heading down the stairs again. His faithfulness is really something to admire indeed.

So my big baby is now lying on the couch in front of the fire as I write. He took up his position when Hubby sat down to watch TV, and hasn’t moved since. In fact, he did not even twitch when I came downstairs. Meanwhile Maddi is getting ready to go out with Hubby and Zack will be next. Then it will be time to shut down for the night. Beddy-byes.

‘Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’

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