Story and Photos: Ode to a Dog Bed

Written by Brian McClintock

Boru test drives his new memory foam bed, bought soon after his tenth birthday.
All photos by Brian McClintock 

Some years ago, my friends were going to Colorado for the holidays, and I quickly volunteered to take their one-year-old yellow Lab, Sampson, to my parents’ house in Pennsylvania for a few days. We grew up with a yellow Lab that we had lost just a few years earlier, so everyone was excited to have a dog back in the house for a few days. Then came the bed.

Picking Sampson up,I knew that, as a properly spoiled pup, he would come with plenty of accessories. The one problem was where to put his dog bed. It was an extra-large Orvis Comfort Couch that took up the entire backseat of the crew cab of my pickup truck. I shoved the bed in, squeezed Sampson into this plush cocoon, and we drove the four hours from Washington, D.C., to central Pennsylvania, where we rearranged some furniture to make sure Sam would have his bed.

Boru shares his bed with Hudson, 4, during some TV time in 2013.

Fast-forward a little more than a year, and I was looking for a new place to live in Washington, D.C., with my one-year-old black Lab, Boru. As luck would have it, so were my friends. We settled on a house with a nice, fenced-in backyard, where our boys could run. The first thing to move in was the dog bed.

Over the next two years, the Orvis dog bed became a place of comfort for everyone in what was affectionately known as the “Dog House” among our friends. We always seemed to have an extra dog or two in the house, even gained another roommate and her dog. The extra-large Comfort Couch always had space for all our pups, or for any of their human counterparts, who, somehow also made their way into the bed for some extra snuggles. It was the centerpiece of the house, where our nieces and nephews played with the dogs, where we curled up to take a midday nap with our pups, and where all our four-footed friends were welcome if they needed a place to stay for a few days.

Dogpile: (left to right) Cali, Boru, and Sampson pile in for their midday nap.

In 2013, I moved back to Pennsylvania for a new job, and, later that year, my former roommates were again going to Colorado for the holidays. They decided to bring Sampson up to my house, so that he could spend Christmas with his pal, Boru. With them came the dog bed. Sampson had upgraded his bed to an Orvis Memory Foam Bolster Dog Bed, so, along with my only other piece of furniture, a hand-me-down love seat, Boru had his own hand-me-down to fill an otherwise empty new house.

For almost seven years, the dog bed has been a fixture in my house, typically shared with Boru’s toys, and, occasionally a friend or two – both human and canine. With Boru’s tenth birthday approaching, I started thinking about upgrading to a new bed, but was dragging my feet. The Comfort Couch still has a lot of life in it, it’s been used hard, and I was afraid that Boru wouldn’t like a new bed. He’s test-driven the Memory Foam Bolster bed on trips to visit Sampson and their new yellow Lab, Isabeau, but I kept delaying the decision on whether or not to get him an upgrade.

Boru cuddles with his new Christmas toy in 2017.

The day after Boru’s birthday, I had to take him to the vet for what was diagnosed as a pinched nerve. He was in pain and couldn’t get comfortable anywhere, not even his dog bed, for a couple of days. I guilt-ordered his own Orvis Memory Foam Bolster Dog Bed the next day, hoping the upgrade will be welcomed throughout his senior years.

It will take us a while to break in this new bed, and I can already envision a lot of curled up cuddles with room for plenty of friends. But it will never be able to replace the Comfort Couch, which is currently looking for a new home, where it can continue to be a place of comfort for a new family.

A sports communications professional, Brian McClintock grew up hunting, fishing, and stocking trout in local streams with his family in rural Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in Field & StreamMen’s JournalMen’s Health, Popular Mechanics, and more. He currently resides in central Pennsylvania with his black lab, Boru.  

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