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Insider Story: Hanging with Big Dogs

· Article

Insider Story: Hanging with Big Dogs

Andrea Starn’s current dog, a Saint Bernard named Bogie, is a bit small compared to some of his predecessors—he’s a mere 160 pounds. Before Bogie, an English Mastiff named Strider, was 175 pounds, and might have hit 200 if not for some health issues, and Peanut, who was the runt of her litter, yet still grew up to be 180 pounds. Andrea and her husband, Jonathan, have had several dogs over the years, all of them large, most of them rescues. They started “sort of by accident,” Andrea says, “but then we fell in love with helping these dogs, the more we learned about it. We’ve had dogs that have been abused and dogs with health issues or behavioral issues.”


Andrea and Jonathan got their first dog together, an English Mastiff named Petunia— “very small, around 125 pounds”—in 2004, right around the time they got their first Sleep Number bed. Petunia loved getting on the bed, but when Strider came along, he took over the whole space. “He was the one who taught us that we can’t have these big dogs in our bed as much as we’d like to. Because he’d lay down in the middle and then he’d roll on his side and stretch, and he’d literally push us off both sides of the bed because he was so tall.”


“When you have a human-sized dog, of course they’re going to love a big, supportive bed,” Andrea says with a chuckle. “Although, when you have more than one, there’s no way—three big dogs won’t fit on there.”


Andrea is an ordained Lutheran minister with a specialty in conflict work; Jonathan is a judge. They’ve been such fans of their Sleep Number bed—particularly appreciating its adjustability—that they also got Sleep Number beds for their two kids, one in college and the other in high school. “It’s been good to help them get the sleep that they need while they’re growing,” Andrea says.


Bogie is the only canine member of the family these days, a nine-year-old “loveable, grumpy old man,” as Andrea describes him. He’s good with kids, and Andrea says that, despite their intimidating size, large dogs tend to be great for families— “they’re gentle and mellow; they’re mostly big speed bumps.” Of course, for anyone interested in getting a large dog, Andrea advises doing research. Some are harder to train or may not have the right temperament for first-time dog owners. Andrea also recommends rescue organizations: “There are a lot of dogs that can use some TLC,” she says. “We’ve had such a great experience with them.”


If you could sleep anywhere, where would it be? Tahiti, in a little beach house, on my Sleep Number bed. Or Grand Cayman. Or Kelly’s Island in Lake Erie—that’s probably the most realistic. We love to go there. It’s isolated but it’s absolutely gorgeous. If we were to move anywhere, that would be our dream spot.


What is your Sleep Number setting? Andrea’s is 60 and Jonathan’s is 35.



Like diet and exercise, quality sleep is essential for optimal health and performance. Because everyone’s sleep needs are different, Sleep Number 360® smart beds, with SleepIQ® technology inside, sense your movements and automatically adjust firmness, comfort and support to keep you both sleeping comfortably. Find your Sleep Number®setting for your best possible night’s sleep.

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