My dog, Piggy, is a gorgeous American bulldog mix, and she has the sweetest spirit of any dog I have ever known. She is 2 years old, white with black spots, and she weighs about 60 pounds. I rescued Piggy when she was a pup. She is deaf, and she lives with me and many other dogs and cats at my animal rescue and sanctuary. To know Piggy is to love her, and it’s impossible to be in a bad mood when you spend time with her. Piggy’s joy is contagious!
After Piggy had been at the sanctuary for about a year, she developed a limp. I suspected it was caused by a mild injury or overexertion, so I treated her accordingly. But within a couple weeks, it became obvious that Piggy was getting worse, not better, and I soon got the sad diagnosis. Piggy had hip dysplasia in her left hip. The condition is common in American bulldogs.
Determined to give Piggy a better life, I researched relentlessly. Eventually, I found a combination of nutritional supplements that really helped. Piggy’s limp was barely noticeable at times, and most days she was able to enjoy activities with the other dogs. She still had some bad days with her hip, especially when she played too hard. And she still struggled in the mornings because she was stiff. But in general, her hip dysplasia was under control.
Finding a good bed for Piggy was a challenge, though. She needed a bed that was soft enough to keep pressure off her joints but firm enough to allow her to get up out of bed when her joints were tired and stiff.
I couldn’t find a quality bed that worked for her size and her hip problem, and I would get really upset at times. All the so-called experts were telling me to buy Piggy memory foam, so I did. But it did not support her weight any better than a fleece blanket thrown on the floor. When she slept on memory foam, she would sink into it. Not only did that put pressure on her joints, but I was having to help her out of bed by pulling her back end up out of bed for her every morning. And it took time every morning for her to “warm up.” Even though the nutritional supplements helped tremendously, she still got stiff and limped after she rested.
I came to know the Big Barker team through a working relationship, and they were a receptive audience to my endless supply of rescue stories. When they found out about Piggy and her hip problem, they generously offered to donate a Big Barker dog bed to my rescue!
I was so excited! A quality bed for Piggy was more important to me than a bed for myself! As I awaited the delivery of Piggy’s new bed, I checked out the Big Barker website. I was shocked! This was the dog bed of my dreams! The design appeared to address all of my frustrations with the other beds I had tried, so I hoped that the bed would meet my extremely high standards.
When the bed arrived, I unwrapped it before I let Piggy enter the room. As soon as she saw it, I don’t know how, but she knew it was hers! She flopped down on the bed and relaxed her head on the headrest. She rolled around all over the bed with plenty of room to spare. She had a big grin on her face, and she could not stop giving me kisses. She turned around and around and tried every position she could on her new bed.
I cried like a baby. Seeing Piggy, the light of my life, in such a state of pure joy touched me so deeply. In that moment I felt so proud that I could give my Piggy such a fine bed, and so honored by the generosity of the Big Barker team. I still tear up when I think about it.
Piggy’s exploring her new bed continued for an hour. She could not stop wagging and moving around all over that bed. In every picture I have from the first night, her tail is a blur because she literally never stopped wagging it. I also noticed when she stretched out with her head on the headrest that her spine seemed to be in a natural, elongated position. I was intrigued by that.
Piggy was limping particularly badly that night, so I tucked her into her new bed early. The next morning Piggy was still passed out in bed. And the next afternoon Piggy was still passed out in bed. I started to get worried. Piggy had never slept so long! I was afraid she would be too stiff to walk, but because of the new bed, I decided to let her rest. I wanted to see what would happen. That very first night, she slept 18 hours straight!!! 18 HOURS! What was going on with my Piggy?
When she finally woke up, she was well rested, obviously. She popped up out of bed and onto her feet with no problem whatsoever. I was shocked! We went outside, and she was absolutely obnoxious. She had so much energy that she kept playfully running after the other dogs and nipping at them and me. The funny part was that she was able to catch them for a change. Piggy is not really built for speed, and the other dogs know it doesn’t take much to outrun her. But not that day! You should have seen the surprised looks on their faces when Piggy caught up with them!
During our evening exercise session, Piggy continued to amaze me. She had more energy and speed than I had ever seen in her! And then it hit me. All this time, my poor Piggy had been sleep deprived. She had not been comfortable in bed so she had not been getting enough rest!
It opened my eyes to a whole new aspect of animal health. Think about it though—doesn’t it make sense? I know how big a difference one good night’s sleep or one bad night’s sleep makes in my life, and I bet you do too. Well, it had never occurred to me that sleep was just as important for the good health of my animals until I witnessed Piggy during that first 24 hours after getting her Big Barker dog bed.
She’s had her bed for about a month now, and it has been nothing short of life-changing for us both. Her health and daily life have improved in ways I never thought possible, and I have the benefit of enjoying a healthy Piggy. I often find myself feeling jealous of how well she sleeps, and I am still astonished by her energy, flexibility, and mobility.
Author: Melissa Mazzeo
Melissa is the Managing Editor at Big Barker. She is best friend to Phoebe (pictured) and Finian, both rescued Chihuahua mixes.