Innkeepers Ali Pitcher and Tom Dott, who describe themselves as a “50-something couple,” bought the Lamb and Lion Inn in Barnstable in 1999. They made the property pet-friendly from the outset, which tends to mean dog-friendly in practice as more guests travel with dogs than other kinds of pets. Pitcher and Dott have four diminutive dogs of their own. (Pictured below are three of them: Pomeranian Golly Miss Molly and Yorkshire terriers Cosmos and Prezza.)
Q: Why open a pet-friendly lodging on Cape Cod?
Pitcher: My previous property in the Hudson Valley was pet-friendly and we had a positive experience with it. We have more space and more common area space than we had in New York for our guests to enjoy with their pets. We were pet-friendly from the day we opened.
Q: Tell us about this property.
Dott: The main part of the inn was built in 1740 as a farmhouse. The old barn out back is now an accommodation. The rest of it was added from the 1800s up to the 1960s. It became like a compound with a central courtyard. Unlike most B&Bs, where you feel like you are staying in somebody’s house, we like guests to come and go as they please and have breakfast whenever they want. There are so many different exits and entrances that guests don’t feel like they are tiptoeing through somebody’s house with their pooch.
Q: How do you furnish a property to be luxurious yet pet-friendly?
Pitcher: You don’t want anything too precious, even if you are only dealing with adults or with families. We want people to feel that they are comfortable and just as happy as they would be at home — but with more amenities.
Dott: You have to have really nice things that if they get ruined or muddy, you’ll live with it. The only consideration is to have really good housekeeping.
Q: Is there an
extra charge for pets?
Pitcher: We charge $25 a day. We don’t want people traveling with their pet to avoid the cost of a kennel.
Q: Do you offer special pet
Dott: We give guests a package with dog sheets to cover the furniture and a towel in case the dogs get wet or get sandy feet at the beach. They get a flashlight in case they want to go for long walks at night and cookies from a local pet bakery.
In our spa we have a massage therapist who specializes in pet massage. One guest said, “I know how stressful it is for the dog to watch the house all day long.” She wanted the dog to de-stress so they ran around the beach and then the dog came back and had a massage.
Q: What other animals have you hosted?
Dott: We’ve had birds, cats, rabbits. We recently had a couple honeymooning with their 40-pound goat named Sandy. It was awesome. The wife called us and asked, “Are you really pet-friendly?” We put them in a room we could clean up. The goat was great. The goat goes everywhere with them.
Q: You have 10 guest quarters. How many pets can you accommodate at one time?
Pitcher: In the summer we don’t allow more than three dogs on the property. We are first of all an inn for people. We are happy to have people with their pets, but we don’t want to be overrun like “101 Dalmatians.”
Dott: People in the know travel with their dogs in the shoulder seasons. You can go on virtually all the beaches and it’s not too hot if you have to leave the dog in the car.
Q: What should travelers consider when choosing pet-friendly lodgings?
Dott: The biggest thing is to check for cleanliness. Then make sure that you are being hosted by people who can help you orchestrate your days with your dog. Some places are more pet-tolerant than others. You really need to know where you can go. We can tell you about our favorite pet-friendly hiking trails, beaches, and restaurants. There are pet-friendly beaches in season, but there aren’t many. You have to know how to find them.
Q: Have you had any unusual experiences with the dogs?
Dott: It’s pretty uneventful, which is good. But we had one dog that would howl at the train every time it went by. It was absolutely hysterical. All the other guests knew when the train was coming and they would go out on the deck with the dog to watch it howl.
Pitcher: He’d sit there and he’d wait. As the train would get close, he would start out “aw-oo . . . aw-oo . . .” It was very sweet.
Dott: It was joyous.Interview was edited and condensed. Patricia Harris and David Lyon can be reached at harris.lyon@
verizon.net. For more on the inn, visit www.lamb