A Decorator Dog Demolishes his Digs

Myrescued pit bullLazarus loves hanging out in bed, but he has a problem with pillows. He basically feels these stuffed menaces need to be eradicated....

Myrescued pit bullLazarus loves hanging out in bed, but he has a problem with pillows. He basically feels these stuffed menaces need to be eradicated. In fact, any objectthat contains stuffing, in this dog’s opinion, must be torn apart, its fluffy white contents shredded beyond recognition and strewn all over the place.

This would be difficult enough if Laz limited his deconstructive efforts to pillows. But no. Like so many dogs, Laz is a decorator with a minimal and no-nonsense style signature. Hisdesign visiondoesn’t embrace overstuffed pillows or dog beds – it’s pared-downall the way.

Therehave beentoo many nights when, having forgotten to stow the pillows in a safe, high place for the day, I entered my bedroom hoping for a night’s rest only to find that there was nothing softon which tolay myhead. And after several hours of reclining without proper neck support, Iran crying in pain to my chiropractor.

What’s more,Lazarus perceives anything with stuffing as a pillow – and the stuffing itself as something just made for him to pull apart like cotton candy, making it stretch as far as it will go and scatteringthe voluminous white stuffall over the floors and furniture, and even devouring some for good measure.

He’s destroyed many a dog bed; happily, theones that have managed to survive are my favorite ones by Crypton (pictured in the photo). So I’ve taken to using these as bed cushions – they look smart and do double duty as a sort of headboard. Laz hasn’t destroyed one yet!

Alas, some of my larger home furnishings have fallen victim to my dog’s instinct to un-stuff anything cushioned. I no longer have any usable quilts, because Laz pulled the fiberfill stuffing out of them. My sofa has suffered severely, and now so has my mattress. The latter was a TempurPedic, only ayear old,but Laz soon discovered that this marvel of sleep technology, this memory-foam monument, was basically one giant, spongeypillow.

After that,the TempurPediccould not possibly survive; Lazarus had its number, and that number was up. The other day, I enteredmy bedroom to find squishy pieces of yellow polyurethane foam all over the floor. Laz had chewed off an entire corner of the mattress!

Considering the fact that Laz – like all my dogs – enjoys a good snooze on the master bed, I found it odd that he would breach the actual mattress, which of course madeour communalcotconsiderably less cozy.

Then I remembered: Dogs are natural-born decorators. I’ve written often about this phenomenon -canine companionstellus in no uncertain terms what works and what doesn’t, decoratively speaking, by voting with their feet (and their teeth).

In my books, I advocate on behalf of animals by suggesting that if something doesn’t survive in an animal house, it’s time to lose that item of furniture – not the dog that chewed it up. But in the TempurPedic affair, Iconfess I wassorely tempted to stuffsweetLazarusmyself.

Happily, I was able to replace the TempurPedic with a custom mattress made of mostly natural materials. This nice, densebed,fabricated for me byBond Bedding(highly recommended by the talented architect Michael Davis) is just the ticket for a multiple-dog household such as mine, where the dogs all happen to be large and muscular. (Looking back, I’m not sure what I was thinking of when I acquired that TempurPedic anyhow – it was one of my more idiotic design decisions.)

Now, as it turns out, there’s evidence to indicate that sleeping on memory foamcan bedetrimental to one’s health.Lab analysishas revealed the presence of 61 chemicals in memory foam, including the carcinogens benzene and naphthalene.So Lazarus, ever the faithful friend and protector, was actually exhibiting far superiordecorating and nesting instincts than I had. By shredding all that foam and stuffing, he tried to send me a loud-and-clear message: Get rid of the toxic chemicals offgassing in our bedroom! I’m glad I finally caught his drift.

Now, how do I plan to protectmy lovely new, non-toxicmattress from dog depredation? First, I’m arming it against liquid attack with a Crypton Mattress Protector; and second, I’mforgoing fiber-fill quilts in favor of matelasse bed spreads, which are so tightly quilted, they survive daily pouncing. Plus, they’re heavy, so they’re more difficult for Laz to un-tuck and pull off the bed. Matelasse covers don’t have to be plain; I hadmy white onecustom tie-dyed by Kris Ogden in a vibrant shade of hot pink (see photo).

How do youprolong the life ofyour mattress? Please tell us about it in the comments.

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