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The Stuffed Animal That Transformed the Way Kids Sleep — Whatever Happened to the Pillow Pet?

Hi, my name is Tyler, I’m turning 25 in just a few days and I’ve got a confession to make. Every single night, I sleep with my Pillow Pet.

He doesn’t have a name or anything. I don’t know when I got him. He is, in fact, a dog and all I know is that I’ve been sleeping by his side for years now. All through elementary school to middle school to high school to my college dorm to my off-campus apartment and now my current digs in Brooklyn. My Pillow Pet is my friend. He is a staple to my bed. A must-have in lazy Snapchats I send on the reg. Without him, I’d be nothing.

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My Pillow Pet chilling out as I work from home, waiting for me to go to sleep. Courtesy of Tyler Schoeber

But, it’s recently come to my attention that a lot of people have no idea what Pillow Pets are. And it’s not like it’s just millennials or baby boomers that are the confused ones. Gen Z barely even knows what Pillow Pets are. It’s spiraled me into a mini existential crisis. Did I make Pillow Pets up? Do they actually exist? Did I dream them? Who is this imposter I lay next to every night?

Low and behold, Pillow Pets do exist — they just took off at a really niche time for a very specific generation gap. Mainly for those who find themselves in a weird spot between Gen Z and millennial culture. People around my age.

Pillow Pets became an idea when mother-of-two, Jennifer Telfer of San Diego, noticed her son had flattened out his stuffed animal so he could create a cozy pillow to sleep with. She then created the “Snuggly Puppy” Pillow Pet (the one I actually have and can concur to its snuggliness) in 2003, which originally sold in random mall kiosks until that infamous jingle was created in 2009. If you know Pillow Pets, you know the jingle.

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“It’s a pillow, it’s a pet, it’s a Pillow Pet!”

A song as old as time.

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Courtesy of Pillow Pets

This is when Pillow Pets began to pop off in the retail scene. Pillow Pets were everywhere. I’ll never forget the commercials on Nickelodeon, the overbearing Pillow Pet collection at Target, the sopping wet pyramid that stared me down when my mom would get gas at the gas station.

I had to have one. So, I got one. And it’s been a joy ever since.

Similar to the fidget spinner, Silly Bandz, the hoverboard and more recently, NFTs, the trend died down shortly after its initial beginning. Yeah, Pillow Pets released a few expansions to their collection of product after 2010 that included night lights and Glow Pets (Pillow Pets that, you guessed it, glow), but they never took off the way Pillow Pets did after those jingly commercials. This left Pillow Pets in a weird 2009 to 2010 purgatory that my brain forced itself to forget about.

This made me wonder, do Pillow Pets even still exist today?

In short, yeah, they do.

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Courtesy of Pillow Pets

Much to my surprise, you can get Pillow Pets just about anywhere nowadays. Amazon, Target, Walmart, QVC, Kohl’s, buy buy BABY, Bed Bath & Beyond, the official Pillow Pets website — the list only goes on.

Are they doing as well as they were? Realistically, probably not. But, they should be.

Pillow Pets are a forever treasure that parents simply need to buy their kids growing up. Take it from me, I’ve had mine for well over 10 years at this point and I still sleep with it every night. Am I ashamed? Hell no.

All I have to say from here? Don’t let this dying trend die completely. Pillow Pets are alive and well and it needs to stay that way.