I blame myself, really. I’m the one who spent $65 on a sack full of foam.
Our dog, Bo, is blameless. He never actually lobbied for a dog bed, nor did he indicate by any overt gesture that he craved one.
However, I became convinced, with some legitimacy, that our big old half-golden-retriever-half-malamute would welcome a dog bed. For one thing, this 8-year-old dog had taken to flopping his hairy body down onto our hardwood floors with an audible sigh, as if to say, “Oh, these weary old (in dog years) bones.”
Actually, the only thing he said was, “Buuurrp,” accompanied by a faint odor of Purina. Yet this can be interpreted in many ways.
Meanwhile, I had been looking longingly at our L.L. Bean and Orvis catalogs, wishing I could buy the poor miserable mutt one of those big comfy “Dog Nests.” These big fabric sacks are filled with foam and decorated with hunting scenes or sprightly tartan plaids. But they were so expensive. The little bitty ones weren’t too costly, if you happen to own a subcompact dog. However, our dog is more like a Chevy Suburban of a dog, or maybe an extended-cab half-ton Ford pickup of a dog, so we required one of the jumbo models, which go for upwards of $80.
So, I put it out of my head, and the poor dog spent the ensuing months and years stretched out on the cold, hard parquet.
Two events changed my mind. First, I came into a financial windfall of upwards of three figures which left me feeling uncharacteristically magnanimous. Even after taking the family out to The Onion, I still had a bit left over for an impulse purchase.
Should I use it on the dog, or on the children’s college education? Tough call.
Then, the dog took to napping on the living room couch.
Now, this is not the kind of dog that can snuggle up in the armrest of a couch. When this dog sleeps on a couch, his head hangs over one side, and his tail hangs over the other. This is also the kind of dog who, even after being ordered off of the couch, leaves behind enough fur to conceal several throw pillows.
So to heck with college educations. I decided to go buy a dog bed.
“Are you sure he’ll use it?” asked my wife, Carol.
“Yes,” I said confidently as the dog eyed me suspiciously from the couch. “He craves comfort as he gets older. He’ll spend the whole day there. We’ll have to drag him off it.”
So, I went to the local pet store (no catalog surcharges for me) and bought the finest dog bed they had. This bed not only sports an attractive waterfowl print on a plaid background, but it actually has cedar chips in the stuffing for odor and flea control.
I came home, arranged the bed attractively by the fireplace, and, just as I predicted, the dog walked right over. He sniffed it with interest and flopped down on the floor next to it.
“He just needs to get used to it,” I said.
Oh, he got used to it all right - he got so used to it, he didn’t even bother to sniff it anymore. He just ignored it entirely.
We spent the next week inventing ways to coax him on to his bed. Some of these methods weren’t very dignified.
“Hey, Bo,” I would say. “I sure am comfortable, lying on this nice comfy dog bed. Come on over here and relax with me for a while.”
Bo, an accommodating sort of dog, would always join me. After about 10 seconds, he’d wander off and collapse on the floor again.
The final straw came when we returned home one day and found him lying sheepishly on the couch. He had actually taken the trouble to climb laboriously up onto the sofa, a mere two feet away from a perfectly comfortable floor-level dog bed.
I’m not saying the bed never gets used. Sometimes, one of the kids will sprawl across it and read a magazine. The dog, however, has not touched it in a month.
So now we have a very attractive sack of polyester foam taking up approximately one-fourth of our living room floor. When guests come, we pretend it’s a Moroccan floor cushion, from the part of Morocco famous for plaid.
Still, I am considering another use for it. It should fit just right in the back of my pickup. It’ll make a perfect camp bed. It’s really quite comfortable and - this is a definite plus - it hardly has any dog hair on it.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.