More Energy For Matrix

Dogs make the best companions. They provide us comfort and are there for us during all our major milestones in life. Heather Mickelson can tell you this firsthand. Her dog, Matrix, is a 10.5-year-old German Shepherd, who Heather adopted at only 9 weeks old. Matrix has been through all of the Mickelson's major life accomplishments such as watching his parents get engaged, purchase their first home, and be a part of their wedding!

Matrix with his family

Unfortunately, when he was around 2-3 years old, Matrix contracted Giardia and the vet told them anyone else would have put him down for how sick he was. Not the Mickelson Family! They knew Matrix picked them for a reason with all his health issues. Any dog kibble would make him sick; the only thing Matrix could eat was boiled chicken and sweet potatoes. They bought chicken and sweet potatoes in bulk monthly, bought Matrix his own freezer, and had monthly boil parties to prepare his meals for 30-45 days. After about 9 months, their vet recommended trying Natural Balance Sweet Potato and Chicken. They started off with very little and worked up to just kibble.   

Shortly after this illness, Heather noticed he was awkwardly stretching when getting up from laying down and his back leg kept dragging a little. After speaking with the vet and discussing the possibility of arthritis, they started him on Fish Oil and Cosequin daily. He loves his ball and playing outside so they wanted to make sure they kept his joints moving daily.  

Matrix sitting on some wood outside

In 2016, Heather saw the Big Barker on social media. She did a ton of research on beds and watched the scientific videos on the Big Barker website. At first, she was shocked by the price. However, quickly after the bed arrived, she saw the relief and improvement it made for Matrix. To her, that meant the bed was now priceless.

Did you know? Big Barker beds are specially engineered to help dogs with joint conditions like arthritis. Click here to learn more.


Within a few weeks of having the bed, Matrix had more energy and got up more easily. He no longer has to stretch his legs out; he just gets up and is ready to take on the day.

Smiling Matrix on His Big Barker bed

In May of 2021 Matrix was having issues with his back leg dragging, having a hard time getting around and doing stairs, and his back end was getting worse.  After X-rays it was determined he had Arthritis and Degenerative Joint Disease. The vet recommended a rehab facility. Heather scheduled the appointment; they asked what medicine he takes and what kind of bed they have. She told them his list of non-prescription and prescription meds he takes daily and that he sleeps on a Big Barker. The rehab team was pleased to hear everything they had been doing over the years to protect his joints. They were given daily exercises to do twice a day, a continuation of his meds, and have him continue sleeping on his Big Barker and add swimming if possible.  

Matrix going for a swim

Once they left the Veterinarian office, Heather and her husband discussed moving the Big Barker to their bedroom. However, Matrix spends most of the day waiting in the kitchen waiting for them to come home, so they decided to purchase two more Big Barker beds. This way, Matrix could have the relief on his body and joints during the day as well.

Matrix’s Big Barker is now part of his daily health routine. It gives him something to support his joints, hips, and provide him comfort. He no longer gets out of his bed awkwardly stretching or moving. He gets up with ease and more energy.

"Big Barker is worth every penny. Us as humans have a bed that make us comfortable and gives us a good night’s rests to wake up feeling refreshed and not sore or having aches. Wouldn’t you want the same for your fur babies?"  

Matrix sleeping on his Big Barker bed

"Ask yourself, all those beds laying around from $5 to $50, would you sleep the entire night in it or even an hour and feel good? Most likely not so why should your dog sleep in discomfort? Why not spend the money and own a dog bed that is scientifically proven to help with their hips, joints, and overall health? And bonus, a dog bed that you would actually be able to take a nap with your dog!" - Heather M

Thank you to the Mickelson Family & Matrix for sharing your story with us!

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