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Teddy’s Tales: In Search of a (Perfect) Dog Bed

I started dreaming about the day we would get rid of Teddy’s cumbersome, injection-moulded, white plastic crate about five minutes after it arrived in our kitchen. Nine months later and it’s still with us. According to Kevin-the-Trainer, and just about every dog training book, apparently it’s best not to rush these things.
So, I’ve had a whole lot of time to research a dog bed that will suit both Teddy and me. And the upshot is that I’m suffering from dog bed over-load. There are an awful lot out there, from minimalist pods, scaled-down day beds, and ornate Louis IV lookalikes to squashy donuts (the doggy equivalent of a Lazy Boy), plush bean bags and, probably best and simplest of all, the basic, large rectangular cushion.
It could have been remarkably easy: a smart preppy striped pillow from Harry Barker would do the job nicely, but we live in a draughty London house. Teddy spent a lot of last winter (his first) jammed-up against radiators. What he really requires is one of those porter’s chairs that you see in grand old country piles; buttoned leather, with large side wings to deflect the chills – no doubt there is a doggy version out there somewhere. Failing that, it’s some kind of raised dog bed that he needs.
When I found that two of the most nonchalantly stylish women I know both bought their trad wicker dog beds from the same store, I thought I was onto something. I tracked them down only to find they were no longer in production.
But the seed was planted. I bought a couple of chocolate brown sheepskins (See Teddy Loves: A Sheepskin) in an effort to lure Teddy away from his plastic crib while I set out to find perfection in wicker dog bed form.
Typically, I got side-tracked on my Internet quest and discovered Orvis: America’s oldest mail order outfitter and my new favourite find. Go straight to the dog section and you’ll find a variety of no-nonsense canine kit. Their simple rectangular dog beds come in various fabrics – some chew-resistant, some outdoor-friendly – and just about all are available in mud-friendly, low-key browns and greys. I plumped for the Futon Dog Bed in chocolate microsuede and fleece and then focused on my next step.
For a raised bed that fits where I want it to go, it appears that only bespoke will do.
I discovered a husband and wife team who have been weaving willow for the past 25 years. I emailed Teddy’s requirements, discussed the options and five weeks and £97 (the discontinued ones from the store cost more than twice that) later, Teddy’s new raised wicker bed arrived, beautifully woven just for him in buff willow. With the Orvis cushion as mattress and a brown sheepskin on top, my 7-year-old boy says that he’d like one, too.

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