4th April 2016, Benaoján
Eduardo Perro, or Eddie the dog as he is usually known, is one of Spain’s foremost hotel-owning dogs. His charming hotel by a millstream in the hills near Ronda in Andalucía, Molino del Santo, is well known to international travellers and regularly scores extremely highly on sites such as Trip Advisor and Booking.
As a travelblogger, I had been hounding Eddie’s agent for some time for an interview, so I set straight off for Molino del Santo as soon as that call came.
As I walked in through the old wooden door, along the terracotta walkway past cascading plants, pools of Andaluz sunlight, the sound of trickling water and the scent of jasmine I was reminded of why I love this bright and peaceful atmosphere that Eddie and his two faithful seconds in command, Andy Chapell and Pauline Elkin, have created.
Eddie’s smiling personal assistant, Inma, showed me into his private office where he greeted me with a broad grin and a sniff, and I started by asking the question that has been on many lips for the past few months.
“Why have you stopped writing entries in the Molino del Santo newsletter?” I asked. “Your many followers have begun to worry about you.”
Eddie grinned again. “I thought the time had come to allow Andy and Pauline to shine in their own right,” he explained. “They do an excellent job, and seldom need much guidance from me now. However, I may contribute again soon; there are some new walks that people need my opinion about.”
“Speaking of walks, there are so many beautiful places to walk around here – do you have a favourite one?” I asked next.
Eddie thought for a moment, nonchalantly raising a leg to scratch his ear, then answered “Probably the stroll down from here, across the river then turn left; it’s pretty but short, with some amazing smells, and Andy manages to keep up with me. I’ve been trying to teach him about sticks,” he went on. “He’s taken some training, but he’s beginning to get the hang of choosing them and throwing them. He’s not very efficient at chewing them yet, but I’m working on that. As you can tell, I’m a bit of a stick dog.” A mischievous look came into Eddie’s eye, as he went on “You might call it the Bough-Wow factor…..” and he barked at his own joke.
“So, talking about your second-in-command, Andy,” I said, moving on swiftly, “Would you say you have a lot in common?”
“Well, we both appreciate the value of sleep,” he answered thoughtfully, “Being a watch dog, I have a lot of my best ideas while watching TV asleep on the sofa.” He paused a moment, then admitted “Andy has ideas occasionally too, although I sometimes wake up to find him looking as if he disapproves of the amount that I sleep.”
I’d heard rumours of Eddie’s early life, quite different from the one of privilege and hard work that he has made for himself. “I might never have acquired my position of power and influence without the wonderful work of Adana, a charity in Estepona, but my main
memory of being brought here to take up my current position was the conversation in the car in which the family was trying to discover my name. I might have ended up as Thumper or Pluto or at one point even Ariel. Fortunately I managed to chew the letter E into the boot floor and you should have seen the gratitude in their faces when they opened the door for me here and realised what my name really was. I was still becoming used to their accent at that time, but I remember their happy cries of “What a muddy animal!” – odd, because there was no mud – and “Oh, the little tugger”, presumably because they thought I had brilliantly tugged out the tufts of carpet from the boot floor to reveal my initial. Ah, happy days.”
I had noticed Andy waiting outside, and Eddie explained that they had some paperwork to discuss, so I regretfully drew my interview to a close, but not before taking a photograph of the two colleagues together sharing a joke over the latest accounts.
As I drove away I reflected on how lucky Andy and Pauline were to have established such a rappaw with their superior, and realised that I’m already looking forward to my next visit to Molino del Santo!