We lost our Australian Shepherd about four years ago. We rescued him from a home that was going to put him down about six years before that, so we lived some great years with him while the kids were growing up.
That’s him in the picture to the right, laying on the carpet at the top of the stairs. We didn’t realize he didn’t have many more months before he stopped coming upstairs but I’ll cover that below. No one told us, and it didn’t occur to us to research memory foam dog beds for large dogs or any dogs for that matter.
Why Kramer Needed One
Kramer’s hips were going on him, meaning he now had hip dysplasia. Laying down anywhere and getting up were becoming difficult and even painful for him. Like most dogs, he was always brave about it and would wag his tail as if to say, “I’m okay as long as you’re here with me.”
Every night he used to follow us upstairs and stay all night. A bit of a humorous side note: for a big dog he always thought it was totally fine to hop up on the bed and stretch out between my wife and I. As I went to bed second, I would usually scratch behind his ears until his pleasurable groaning became a bit too loud. After a few minutes, he would hop down and lay on the blanket in front of our closet.
But over time, and as his hips became worse and worse, he eventually stopped following us up to bed. Sometimes a dog just knows, right? Our neighbor’s dog didn’t and he actually fell down the stairs and broke his spine. Sad but true. Kramer knew better and just stopped coming upstairs of his own volition. He whined for a bit when he first started and we could hear him, but he never tried coming up again.
However, even when downstairs with his people he needed a proper bed – and we didn’t invest the money to get him one. We actually had no idea about memory foam dog beds and likely would have jumped at it if we had known.
What Did He Have?
I’m almost ashamed to say it but Kramer had an inexpensive foam bed on the main floor of the house. And oftentimes it would be taken over by one of our other dogs, and he was too polite to say anything although he was the biggest of the three of them.
Just because our dogs “look comfortable” on the hardwood floor, or any floor for that matter, doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for them. We invest a lot of our time and money in our dogs and a bed should have been at the top of our priority list for Kramer. And growing up “old school” is not an excuse either. Just because we didn’t have dog beds when I was a kid didn’t mean I should carry on with that tradition.
The Difference A Memory Foam Bed Would Have Made
Not knowing about orthopedic dog beds is not a good reason to not do my homework. We’re surrounded by family members and friends who have dogs and have bought them appropriate beds.
We do care about and love our dogs (don’t get me wrong about that) and have always had at least one dog since getting married 23 years ago but for a couple of fairly intelligent people, we could have done better for Kramer. We would have been so pleased knowing that we had invested in his comfort. And as I’m sure you know, his eyes would have confirmed that to us every time he looked at us.
Another bit of an aside: if Kramer had a memory foam bed, we’d now have it for our Lab. He’s not in dire straights right now but at eight years old he should have one already. Yes, yes, time to go buy a large memory foam dog bed, I know.
He Would Have Been Comfortable Towards The End
While a memory foam bed wouldn’t have necessarily prolonged Kramer’s life it would have made him more comfortable towards the end. And we could have shooed the other dogs off of it so he was the one who benefited.
We were actually prepared to put him to sleep earlier than we did but our son was insistent that there was more that we should try to do – and there was. The vet helped with medication and other recommendations but at no time did we consider a memory foam bed as part of the treatment.
And I think that’s one of the most important thing all of us dog owners need to remember: a proper bed for the proper dog. They spend so much of their time laying down when in the house that I think we can all agree that having their own bed targeting their own needs is important.
My Final Thoughts
My wife, daughter, and son went with me when it was time to put him to sleep (sounds better than putting him down). It became a true bonding moment for all of us as we sat on the floor around him and stroked him as he took his last breath.
But lesson learned, if you have a dog then do all you can to take care of the dog, including his comfort at home. And this actually starts earlier in their lives than when we did. Kramer would have been a “happy puppy” with the right bed at the right time. Thanks for reading.