Coco is shedding her winter coat in great, black clumps that
glob onto the living room carpet and blow like tumbleweeds under the kitchen’s
ceiling fan. Twice a day now, we are
vacuuming our rugs, emptying the canister between runs, watching matted dog hair
and dirt drift into the kitchen trash.
In the evenings, after work, I change into old clothes and
call her out onto the front porch. We
both sit on the wooden floorboards and I pull our dollar store pet brush slowly
through her wooly black curls.
It’s satisfying and soothing all at once, the way I imagine
brushing a horse must be. When the brush
is full, I pull the clumps off, gathering a growing pile to mark my progress,
my accumulated success.
Tonight, I cornered our tomcat, Blackie in the green grass and
gave him a good brushing too. He took it
with equal parts purring and complaint.
A friend admitted awhile back, after her elderly dog died,
that she was elated to be freed from the extra mess – she would not be getting
another dog. I know, for a lot of people,
pet hair is reason enough to refrain from ownership. My own mother battled dog hair with a broom
and dust pan, like she was battling the devil itself.
It does bother me – the hair, the dirt, not to mention the
litter box’s stinking mess. But, still, I
know those few minutes each evening are some of the best of my day – some of
the purest, the simplest – stroking and gathering, shedding what no longer serves.