Ihave two memories that involve the same dog bed. One makes me giggle and the other pulls at my heartstrings. The dog bed in question is the classic Orvis doughnut-shaped or bolster dog nest, which I ordered in olive green to match my decor (of course!). The bed was for an extra-large dog, my hairy soulmate Tiny Tim (more of him in a minute). In the case of my first memory, it was for my eighteen-year-old niece, Arielle.
Arielle had asked if she and a couple of her high school friends could use my apartment while Tiny Tim and I were visiting family in Ohio. Being the cool “guncle,” I said yes and stocked the fridge with healthy snacks and sodas. As it turns out, Arielle ended up having a much larger group of friends come and they all ended up staying overnight due to a snow storm in the area. When it came time to crash, Ari’s friends grabbed the bed and the couch, leaving her no choice but to curl up in Tiny Tim’s dog bed. I still smile every time this memory surfaces, thinking of my dear niece tucked up in Tim’s favorite napping spot.
The other memory involving this bed is a bit tougher. Tiny Tim, my beloved three legged rescue, was diagnosed with lymphoma at the age of nine years old. Tim and I had had eight years together and he was indeed my hairy soulmate. After fruitless attempts to treat the cancer, I decided to end all treatments and allow nature to run its course. Tiny Tim spent his last days curled up in the dog bed that his human niece Arielle had also used, and when it came time to take him down to the vet to say goodbye, my late husband and I packed up our other dogs and Tim’s doughnut-shaped Orvis bed and tearfully headed downtown to the vet’s office. Once at the vet, the examination table was lowered to the floor and I placed Tiny Tim’s bed on it. He jumped into the bed with his last burst of energy and nestled in as if to take a nap. After he was comfortable, Tiny Tim picked up his head and proceeded to look each one of his humans and dog siblings in the eye, one by one, and then he laid his head on my lap, ready to journey onwards.
When Tim was gone, I decided to leave the bed with my vet and asked her to please pass it along to another dog in need. She promised to wash it and donate it to the local shelter where I had met Tim. It felt good to pass along a beautiful and sturdy bed that held so many wonderful and tender memories, and hopefully that Orvis bed is still giving comfort to dogs and teenagers to this day. By the way, shelters are always in need of dog beds and towels and blankets.
Dogs are den animals who seek an oasis to rest and disconnect. They spend up to sixteen hours a day sleeping and deserve to have a good spot to dream. I have dog beds strewn throughout my house—at one time, I think I had up to seven different ones situated in closets or behind doors or next to my bed for my canine companions to claim and enjoy. I am partial to dog beds that complement my decor. I am not one for over-designed or novelty printed dog beds. I like them best when they are neutral in color and blend in with my interior design aesthetic. Although, I will, as a fashion designer, allow a leopard print or camouflage dog bed into the house periodically. Dogs deserve a fashionista moment here and there, right?
One of my latest dog bed obsessions is from a company called The Foggy Dog, an American company that uses 100% recycled fiber to stuff the beds. They also donate dog food back to local shelters as part of their charitable arm. Produced in the States, the beds come in decor-friendly patterns and use fabrics like upcycled denim, which for me is a very important asset.
Another American-made bed that I also love is from Animals Matter. They do an awesome animal print “donut” shaped bed that is super chic, cruelty-free, vegan, and perfect for my three-legged chihuahua, Rudy. Animals Matter supports a no-kill philosophy, and they put their money where their proverbial mouth is. Proceeds from their wide array of products help to fund compassionate efforts like Dogs Playing for Life, a nationwide program that helps shelters incorporate play as a therapy and socialization tool.
A good friend of mine is an interior decorator whose home is filled not only with gorgeous furniture, but also houses the perfect interior-design-fanatic dog bed which he found on Etsy. It is from a brand called Hunting Pony from Belarus. Each bed is an exquisite hand-made creation, and I’m especially in love with the Kolosony braided style.
Dog beds not only hold and caress our best friends, but they create beautiful memories that, I, for one will forever cherish. When possible, please always consider supporting a brand that is cruelty-free, vegan and gives back to those dogs in need. No matter the style of the bed, giving back always looks good.