What Happens When a Shelter Dog Gets a Bed? It’s Magic!

Ayres Memorial Shelter

Being abandoned by the family you thought loved you is tragic. It’s a tragedy compounded by the fact that instead of sleeping on the family bed, or on a warm blanket inside, now you are sleeping in a cold, drafty kennel on a rock-hard concrete floor.

That is the reality for most shelter dogs. Some dogs sleep right on the

A dog at Helping Hounds Rescue

concrete. Some have newspaper to shield them a bit from the cold of the solid floor. Other shelters may provide a blanket, but even a thick blanket provides little protection from the chill that emanates from unheated concrete.

Shelters must clean the kennels daily. That involves using liquid cleaners and lots of water. Blankets get wet, and must be washed. It isn’t practical for many shelters with lots of occupied kennels. So the dogs make do with sleeping on the hard floor.

Matt and Julie Ambrose decided that they wanted to change that. A little over a year ago, their dog Bubba died. Matt Ambrose told Shelter Me:

“We wanted to honor him. He was an abused dog from New Jersey. No one wanted him.” Ambrose chuckled, “We were terrified of him for the first few weeks. Now I understand him, but he needed to trust us. We got his trust and had him from 2003 until 2015. He just missed his 14th birthday. He was awesome.”

“Because of the abuse, he had lots of arthritis in his spine, and his last year his back legs stopped working. He would scoot around on his front legs. His sight went, too. He was very special, and we wanted to do something for him. We decided to donate Kuranda beds — we knew they were good beds, sturdy, chewproof — and we decided to have a bowling event.”

A dog gets a bed at Wanderers Rest Humane Society

While the couple had wanted to donate ten beds, the bowling event they hosted ended up raising $2300 for beds, and they were able to buy 28 beds. They donated the dog beds to the Stevens Swan Humane Society in Utica, New York. It was the closest shelter to them. The beds were delivered there, and the Ambroses put them together.



Matt Ambrose told Shelter Me:

“We went to the Stevens Swan Humane Society, we gave them 28 beds, and on the way out I saw 14 dogs without beds. Before we walked out the door, I told my wife — we are going to raise more money and get the rest of the dogs beds.”

And they did.

The couple knew that they needed to be a nonprofit so they could raise more money for beds for shelter dogs. They created Bubba’s Beds for Shelter Friends and began working to get beds for all the dogs in local shelters.

Why beds instead of other things? Matt explains:

“It’s one of the greatest feelings that I’ve ever had — putting the beds in there and seeing the dogs get on. I’ve done many things as a fireman, but nothing matches that feeling. This is one of the greatest joys is seeing the dogs off of the concrete floor.”

The trailer filled and almost ready to go

They are on an ambitious trip. They are traveling around New York bringing beds to various shelters along the way. They have a trailer for which they raised money using friends and local businesses who advertise on the four sides of the trailer.

They are taking their dogs with them for the journey. Four shelters are receiving beds the first day and three the second day. Fetch a Friend Rescue is one of the shelters that will receive beds on this trip. They will end up in Schuyler County, where one of their dogs came from. The shelter is excited to see “their” dog again.


Kerry Roemer, a volunteer at the Humane Society of Rome in New York shared a story with Shelter Me.

“This is a shelter “tail” about a ginormous lab named Ranger who didn’t quite “fit in.” In the summer of 2016, Ranger was abandoned by his family on one of the hottest days of the year. Despite this upheaval, the 100 lb. teddy bear remained cheerful and loving towards everyone he met. He loved the shelter staff, volunteers, visitors and other dogs. He even liked the veterinarian. But Ranger still couldn’t quite fit in at the humane society…literally. Ranger was just too large for his shelter bed! Luckily, when the local group, Bubba’s Beds For Shelter Friends heard about Ranger’s dilemma, they delivered an extra large Kuranda bed the very next day. And less than a week later, Ranger was adopted by a loving family. The extra large Kuranda bed that put a smile on Ranger’s face last summer is still being enjoyed by shelter dogs today.”

Donations can be made to Bubba’s Beds for Shelter Friends’ YouCaring page.

Pamela Kramer

​Animal lover and rescuer. Lives with 4 cats, 4 dogs, 1 bird, 2 frogs and usually one foster animal (and very understanding husband). Reviews books (especially about animals) and educates children about compassion toward animals. Former household animals include rabbits, rats, and other assorted creatures. Also writes at pamelakramer.com


  1. Carol Grandmougin says:

    We applaud the dedication that Matt & Julie have to take time out of their lives to raise funds, build beds and personally deliver comfortable Kuranda beds to dogs sleep on cold shelter floors is extraordinary! — not to mention homemade vegan cookies for the dogs to enjoy on their new beds! We are happy to send 10 more beds to them for free to help continue their efforts of giving a shelter dog a soft off the floor place to wait for their forever family!

    1. Pamela Kramer says:

      That’s wonderful! Thank you, Carol!!

  2. val says:

    OMG is there a pekingese at this rescue? I have already one over here in France, and would love to be able to afford to have this one flown over

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