The owner of a refurbished dog boutique in lakeside Waterhead has promised a ‘new era’ for pet owners in Ambleside after completing a year-long restoration of the historic Victorian interior.
Caroline Denholm took over Paws by the Lake in 2021, and rebranded the premises at The Old Toll House as ‘Ambleside Pet Shop’, transforming the offering as well as the aesthetics.
Caroline said she is proud to have put Ambleside on the canine map:
“I’m from Brighton, and we’d been coming up to holiday here for a long time.
“I’d been getting involved and learning about dog training, and when this business came up for sale during lockdown, it was a no-brainer – we upped sticks and moved, and it’s wonderful here.
“It has been a pet shop since 2007 as Paws by the Lake, but it did need some fresh impetus, so I came in with lots of new ideas, and finally the shop’s fully ready.
VICTORIAN: The downstairs section, with the original 19th-century floor
“I’ve bought in a lot of new stock, like high-end accessories, gifts and treats, and I think I’m the only person in Cumbria that sells certain high-end dog foods like Orijen and Eden.
“It’s now more than just a pet shop now – I also offer things like pram hire for older dogs, I do coat and harness-fittings as some harnesses can be like the krypton factor!
“I’m about to become a qualified dog trainer, and I’m trained in first aid – I’m basically helping dogs with human problems!
“Obviously we’re a top tourist destination so we’re selling lots of pet-related things like beds, bowls, popcorn for dogs.
“I’m very hot on product knowledge – I can tell customers which leads are going to be best for their dogs, and give some individual tips for training your own dog.”
GIFTS: An example of the doggy toys for sale in the shop
Caroline said she wanted to show off the heritage of such a historic building as well as compiling a unique product range:
“The building has been here since 1874, and all the outside has been painted, and we’ve taken the floors back to the 120-year-old Victorian original, so it’s a really attractive shop over 2 floors.
“In the shop itself I’ve got lots of old images of when it was the County Bell hotel in the 1930s, and the Rayrigg Post Office, so I’ve added Waterhead history into the shop too.