Nothing can spoil a trip faster than the phrase “No dogs allowed.” But if you’re traveling in Southern Arizona, you won’t hear that at Lazy Dog Ranch. Before Michael and Catherine McCormack bought the property, they had their share of frustration on the road, learning firsthand how tough it is to find lodging while traveling with a big dog as your co-pilot.
“That was our goal when we opened it: to have a dog-friendly place,” Catherine says.
Both were seasoned travelers before they married: Michael is from Ireland, and Catherine spent her childhood in Latin America while her father traveled for his job. They met in an Irish pub in New York, then moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where they got a German shepherd. Then came a nine-year stint in Maryland and a decade in Las Vegas. It was in Vegas that they decided they wanted a change of scenery, and they landed in Southern Arizona’s “sky island” country, with its mountain peaks, golden grasslands and riparian areas — the perfect place to fulfill their dream of a dog-friendly bed and breakfast.
The region is home to more than 100 species of native birds and another 250 species that migrate. The birds are drawn by features such as the San Pedro River, which runs through the ranch.
“Last week we had some repeat guests, and all they did was stay on the property,” Catherine says. Guests can relax by the pool, light a fire in the sunken fireplace, enjoy the dark skies or visit nearby attractions. “We don’t have televisions in the rooms on purpose,” Catherine adds.
The Lazy Dog is about 10 miles from Sierra Vista and 15 miles from Tombstone. It’s within striking distance of Ramsey Canyon, Bisbee, wine country and Kartchner Caverns State Park. Guests who want to venture out can leave their pets with the McCormacks, who have dogs, cats, a horse, a mule, a donkey and a pygmy goat.
Coronado National Memorial, off the beaten path and not listed on most bucket lists, is a favorite, Catherine says. The site offers stunning views of the border and surrounding countryside, hiking trails, and a visitors center that commemorates Francisco Vázquez de Coronado’s 1540 expedition.
Back at the Lazy Dog, two suites, the Casa and the Casita, each feature a private entrance and an outdoor sitting area, along with a fenced area that will keep your dog from wandering too far. Guests, however, can wander as far as they would like.
3123 N. Thistle Road
Sierra Vista, AZ