5 Reasons Why My Dog Makes the Best Pillow

My dog Riggins is the perfect cuddle buddy, whether I'm using him as a pillow or as a white-noise machine -- or both!


I consider myself a master sleeper and napper. I didn’t always have this skill, but with a little bit of focus and a lot of practice, I’ve really mastered the art. I’m also a connoisseur of pillows. A life goal is to own one of those $100-plus ones, but based on my inability to mentally approve spending that much on a pillow, it is almost unachievable. I’m doomed to rest my head on a couple of discount pillows from my local superstore.

Lucky for me, though, I do have access to the best pillow in the world. Riggins! My dog.

Riggins on HIS pillow on MY bed. (All photos by Wendy Newell unless otherwise noted.)

Riggins is a nine-year-old half-Samoyed and half-German Shorthair Pointer. When he was younger, he HATED being a cuddle buddy. In fact, one way I kept him off the human bed was by throwing my arms around him and spooning when he came up. He hated it so much, he would jump off and shake as if to say, “Geez mom! Enough is enough already.”

He has mellowed with age and now is perfectly happy to plop down next to me and be tortured with my hugs and attention. Riggins hit his perfect pillow age the same time I hit my perfect napping age, which means we are the best cuddle couple!

Here are a few reasons my dog makes the perfect pillow:

1. Warmth and comfort

Riggins, you don’t mind if I just lay my head right here and take a nap, do you?

It gets cold here during the long Los Angeles nights. Okay. Not true. It’s much too warm most of the time. I think I’ve had to run my air conditioning 10 months over the past year. It’s not so much the actual “fighting against cold” warmth I’m talking about. It’s more the “warm and fuzzy” warmth.

It’s so comforting to lay your head on or up next to a warm, fluffy dog. Riggins has gotten me through some tough times, and having him to cuddle with or even cry into has helped me over the years.

Dogs are wonderful caregivers, and Riggins is the best. He knows when I need comfort and will let me lay my head on him for warmth and comfort.

2. Body pillow option

My brother-in-law utilizes Riggins’ body pillow option.

I’ve never been one to embrace (literally) body pillows. I find that there is something just a tad pathetic about a single woman wrapping her body around a giant pillow. Seems like a cry for help.

There is a loophole in my “no body pillow” rule, though. Use your dog instead. Riggins is the perfect size for this task. He is the Goldilocks of dog body pillows: not to big and not to small. He fits easily on my bed and will happily lay his head on the pillow next to mine in the perfect hugging position. He is hefty enough that I don’t feel like I am crushing him when I wrap my arms around him. In fact, we fit perfectly with my arm slipping under his so that I can rub his chest while we cuddle.

The body pillow option is also a great reason to cave and let Riggins sleep in the human bed with me.

3. Rhythmic white noise

A quick selfie before a nap.

I usually listen to the Adam Carolla podcast when I head to bed. Something about his nasal, whining tone (I say that with the utmost respect as a fan) lulls me to sleep fast. My days are usually long, active, and nonstop. White noise helps turn off my brain so I can rest.

When I’m using Riggins as a pillow, I don’t need Mr. Carolla. I have a built-in white noise machine in the form of my dog’s rhythmic breathing. There is comfort in hearing the in and out of his breath as my head goes up and down, on his chest in unison.

4. Portability

Shadow enjoys her Riggins pillow on the way home from a hike.

I told you I’m a good napper. I’m so good I can nap almost everywhere, but I don’t take a pillow with me everywhere I go. Luckily I often take Riggins!

Right this second, he is curled up on my office floor. If I wanted to catch some zzz’s, I wouldn’t have to walk into my bedroom and find a pillow. Nope! I could just roll off my chair onto the ground, army crawl to where Riggins is, and plop my head down on him.

As it turns out, I’m not the only one who likes this quality in Riggins. One of his doggie BFFs, Shadow, takes advantage of his cuddly and portable nature, too. Whenever I have the two of them in the back of the car, heading back from a hike, you can guarantee that Shadow is stretched out so her head can be on top of Riggins.

5. Love included

My sweet baby boy! (Photo by Lori Fusaro of Fusaro Photography)

The absolute best thing about using Riggins as a pillow is the built-in love I get. He will often look up and over at me, checking on me and licking my hand. His love is unconditional and unquestioning. The perfect kind of love.

Let’s see you get all of that from a plain ol’ regular pillow!

Do you snuggle with your dog? Does he or she make a great pillow? Share in the comments!

Read more about life with Riggins by Wendy Newell:

About the author: Wendy Newell is a former VP of Sales turned Grade A Dog Sitter. After years of stress, she decided to leave the world of “always be closing” to one of tail wags and licks. Wendy’s new career keeps her busy hiking, being a dog chauffeur, picking up poo, sacrificing her bed, and other fur-filled activities. Wendy and her dog, Riggins, take their always-changing pack of pups on adventures throughout the Los Angeles area, where they live together in a cozy, happy home. You can learn more about Wendy, Riggins, and their adventures on Facebook and Instagram.

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