Hey, Dogs...Stay!

The question is this: would anyone visit the Decker Creek B&B without a dog? 

“Yes, amazingly,” says Pat Rathbun, who runs the Manor rental cottage with her husband, Byron. “Forty percent of our guests last year came alone.”

Perhaps they didn’t know the Rathbuns actually run a “B&B&B,” as in “bed and breakfast and biscuit.” Dog biscuit.

“We make our own out of organic wheat flour, oats, peanut butter and garlic,” Pat says. 

Humans, meanwhile, enjoy breakfasts—including eggs, meat and produce—from such local purveyors as Tecolote Farm and Alexander Family Farm. Guests can request just about any breakfast food they have in mind, or enjoy the house special: poblano peppers stuffed with local chorizo and eggs. Meals can be delivered to the cottage or eaten at the Rathbuns’ place, in which case dogs are invited to attend.

“Really, we built the whole place with dogs in mind,” Pat says. “The cottage has windows all the way down to the floor, so they can see out. We used wood and tile, no carpet, and we have dog beds, bowls, blankets and dog wash areas inside and out. There are 51-plus acres they can tour, with a creek they can swim in.”

In short, it’s a heaven-in-a-road-trip, for dogs, and the Rathbuns designed it that way because they’d seldom been able to find anything like it on their own vacations with dogs. “I mean, you can take a dog to La Quinta,” Pat says, “but La Quinta is not a destination.”

After spending their careers in Los Angeles—Byron with the Army Corps of Engineers, and Pat as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times—the Rathbuns relocated to Manor, built their dog-friendly guest cottage (a second is in the works) and opened for business in December 2006. They have seldom had a vacancy since.

Customers arrived with up to four dogs at a time, all received with equanimity by the Rathbuns’ own dog, Matilda, a blue heeler mix. It wasn’t long before Pat was asked to arrange a dog-friendly wedding.

With the help of a minister-to-go and a homemade whipped-cream cake, the couple was happily, if a bit solitarily, married. “They didn’t bring their dog after all,” Pat says, still slightly perturbed. “Apparently, they wanted to drive their Corvette, and they didn’t have room.”

“The dogs are always friendly,” she says. “Dogs are easier than children! Children throw rocks and scratch the floors, but dogs don’t have opposable thumbs. Once in a while we get a wimpy dog, or a dog dressed in a designer outfit, but other than that, dogs are dogs.”

People? They’re welcome, too.

512-743-8835. 512-743-8090. deckercreek.com .