Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer Gear Geek-Out, Part One

I've been trying to figure out the best dog bed setup for our cabin in New Hampshire for a few years now. Everything bedding-like has to be stored in trunks over the winter so that mice don't use it as supply for their own bedding. This means that Vida doesn't get the usual cushy donut bed while she's here. Most of you would think that in the summer it wouldn't be a big deal, but our place is in the woods, near a mountain, and it can get chilly at night, especially when the wind kicks up. Even if we're not sleeping on the porch as we do most of the time, my shorthaired Cali dog needs something of her own to cuddle in. She has actually wound up shivering under the covers of my bed in the past, and neither of us really likes that...

I learned a couple of years ago to bring a jacket for her. This year I brought what I call her sleeping coat, made by RC Pet. It's a loose"horse blanket" style that covers her back, which prevents "Wind" (the Traditional Chinese Medicine definition as well as the actual wind) from getting in. She's worn it on a couple windy nights this summer, though as usual needed convincing to put it on ("it always gets colder later," the human advises).

My big find this summer was this Perla bed. It's plastic, so while not mouse-chew-proof, is not mouse-desirable, so it can be left out for the winter no problem. It's raised slightly of the ground, with vents in the bottom. I saw these on the British edition of It's Me Or The Dog and thought they were brilliant.

To this I added a Molly Mutt Dog Duvet. Now of course you could just add blankets from your trunk, but with this bed it saves you having to wash all the dog hair off them. This bed comes empty. It's designed to be filled with reused stuffing, blankets, whatever you have. It even has an inner net bag to make changing the cover easier. I put some wool blankets and cotton coverlets. I used it by itself last year, but the cotton got a bit damp being bare on the porch, and she was always falling off the edge. It was easy to store in the trunks, though, so I knew it was a keeper.This year, Voila! It fits perfectly into the Perla.

The finishing touch is the West Paw Blanket. This is the same blanket I use for my acupressure clients, and it's versatile during road trips (covering the cooler in the car, tossed on the floor in the hotel).I invest in the big size that can be folded or spread out as needed. It washes up easy as pie.

While the previous photos show the outer edge of the porch, the final placement is 
between my bed and the building, so she's less exposed to weather and woods ("what was that!?"). So far so good!
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