Things 1&2 like the idea of dogs, but they've never had a dog, so the reality of a dog was a little difficult for them before. Thing 2 especially would freak out when a dog ran up to him playfully, and his reaction would freak the dog out, which led to more freak outs, and you get the idea. So I thought that an older dog would be perfect for a first dog for them. And so far, it looks good! They love her!
But an older dog tends to have joint issues - arthritis, weak legs, etc. So a good bed to lay on is an absolute must. However, my bank account really shuddered at the thought of buying a good one. For a good, thick dog bed for a larger dog, you will pay easily over $100. Depending on how thick you want the foam, it can approach $200. Not in my budget.
Instead, I took the advice of a colleague and bought 2-inch foam at JAF, enough to make two layers. The white poly-foam was cheaper than the green NuFoam, and more importantly, it was wider. So I bought that to avoid having to seam widths together. I cut the foam to the exact measurements of the bottom of the crate, and I used a doll/soft sculpture needle and upholstery thread to stitch the foam layers together. The foam is 28 inches wide, and I stitched three columns of stitches to hold it together. Those foam layers are not going to shift! I then stitched a permanent cover for it from muslin.
At The Husband's suggestion, I also made a waterproof cover from white PUL I bought at JAF (with a 40% off coupon, of course!). I used an invisible zipper in one of the short sides, so that I can remove it. It shouldn't be taking much abuse, so I didn't figure the type of zipper would matter much for this cover. But for the outer cover, which is also washable, I used a stretch suede/moleskin/I don't know what. I bought it for probably $1-2/yard at WM, at least 5 years ago. It feels nice, and it was in the stash and had no other use anytime soon. There is a 28-inch separating zipper in a short end, allowing easy on/off for washing. The Husband looked at it and said, "Why'd you use a dark color? That's going to grab all the hair!" Hmmm....stash equals free, right?
Total cost: Will have to see if I can find all the receipts, but I'm estimating $50-60. But to get this commercially, I would have to spend three times that much, barring an awesome sale.