My big dog, Darla, has always had her own bed. Though she enjoys napping on top of my bed during the day, she’s just too big to sleep there at night. When she came to live with me, I invested in a large, sturdy, “miracle foam” dog bed. I positioned it close to the stove for warmth, and central to the household activity so that she wouldn’t feel left out.
Over the years, the mattress compressed and flattened. The washable cover developed tears in the surface that allowed the foam to poke through. Eventually the washing cycle, even with products specifically made for combatting pet odors, did not remove the “doggy smell.” The mattress, which was not washable, picked up the odor, too. It was definitely time for a new dog bed.
I went to the on-line shop for Sierra, which deals in closeouts of sporting goods and outdoor gear at extreme discounts. I found a good quality (orthopedic foam; soft, brushed corduroy cover, removable for washing; size Large) dog bed for only $29.00! I ordered it (along with two new sweatshirts for myself, and a new toy for Darla) immediately. I did not measure the old bed. That, it turned out, was a big problem.
When the new bed arrived, I put the dog bed cover in the trash, and leaned the old mattress against the back of the house outside, until I had a chance to load it into the car. I swept the floor, and put the new bed down. Obviously, it was smaller, though by a very few inches. Clearly, it was a big problem with Darla.
She sniffed the new bed, nudged it with her nose, and gave me a look that said, “Now where am I supposed to sleep?”
Darla continued, throughout the day, to display her displeasure. She gazed wistfully at her old mattress, outside in the snow. She walked a wide path around the new bed, refusing to even step onto it. That night, she slept on the floor, rather than on her new bed. The next day, I ordered a second, identical bed. It was a big concession, on my part.
I have a small house. Darla’s old bed was 32 x 48 inches, which demanded a good portion of floor space. The new bed was 30 x 40 inches in size. It was plenty large enough, for my big dog. I’ve seen her curl onto a tiny (18″ x 24″) rug, if it happens to be where she wants to lay, and she often curls up onto the seat of my armchair, a 19 x 22 inch space. Still, she held her stance. In the days and nights while we waited for the second bed to arrive, Darla slept on the floor, or on the chair. Once, in either a huge compromise on her part, or another attempt at showing me how put out she felt by the situation, she slept with her body half on the bed, the other half sprawled across the floor. Emphasizing the fact that the bed was just too small.
When the second bed arrived, I put it down beside the first one. Combined, the dog-sleeping area now commands 40 x 60 inches of floor space. Darla is happy, though. With the two mattresses side-by-side, Darla immediately went to the bed and stretched out, a big contented grin on her face. And, she has happily slept there, without grievance, every night since. I want to note, though, that when she sleeps there, she only sleeps on one half!