In the Dog Bed

06 Jun In the Dog Bed

First published in the NZ Woman’s Weekly 6.6.22


You know what would go really well with this magazine you’re reading? A super comfy place to curl up, like maybe your very own dog bed. Hear me out.

I’ve been reading about a couple of Canadian university students who have designed what might be the world’s first dog bed for humans. The “Plufl”, for that is what it’s called, is engineered to “maximise comfort and foster a sense of security, delivering relief for those who have ADHD, stress, and anxiety-related issues.”

Think the full bed equivalent of a weighted blanket, with a lot of memory foam and an oval shape designed for sleeping in a foetal position – “the optimal napping experience”.

It sounds dreamy, but let’s stay awake long enough to ponder the evolution of this concept. At some point in recent history, we looked at our dogs and thought, We love you so much we’ve decided you deserve what humans have – your own special comfy bed for napping in as though you were a person.

Next minute, we’re looking at our dogs and thinking, By golly, I could do with what dogs have, my own special comfy bed for napping in – as though I was a dog who had a bed just like a person.

So to recap: the Human Bed was redesigned for dogs, and then that Dog Bed was redesigned for humans. Are we all seeing what is going on here? It turns round in a circle a bit like a dog getting ready for a nap.

Makes you wonder what else our pets have that we might want. I could fancy one of those little tartan coats we put on terriers in winter. And there are days I wouldn’t mind a rich lady carrying me around in her handbag.

But – here’s the thing – it is not actually our pets’ accoutrements that we covet – it’s their lifestyle. We want the nap, not the bed.

All this has got me thinking about our devotion to (obsession with?) our fur babies. Though let me say I don’t like that phrase – “fur baby” immediately makes me picture a human child with excessive body hair, and it takes a moment to replace that mental image with a kitten in a bonnet. But I digress.

Some would have it we devote ourselves to fur babies instead of having children, or after our children leave, or as a preferred alternative to the kids we ended up with.

We dote on our cats and dogs, let them get away with stuff no one else could (chewing shoes, pooing in a box in the laundry), give them the best spot closest to the fire and pat them for no special reason. I look at my cat and think, That’s a nice life. I would like that life. I wish I was a cat.

See what I’m getting at? They are not our children, they are us. We are giving them the life we would like to have. Sure, we’d draw the line at having to lick ourselves clean, and I’m less keen on rat, but we are treating them the way we would love to be treated. Kept warm and safe, well-fed, pat-patted, much loved.

Our “fur baby” is really our “fur me” – we just find it easier to lavish that kind of care on someone outside of ourselves. But we all deserve our own version of a Plufl.

Though when you’re in it, you’d hope no-one comes and rubs your tummy. That would be weird.