Dogs shed winter coats — and then some

Don’t start with me about having no seasons out here. This year, even Southern Californians could tell when it was winter. I had to actually scrape ice off my windshield three times. Harsh.
Oh sure, I wasn’t standing in 10 degrees with a wind chill factor while I did it, but still, for these parts, it was a very nippy winter. Even without the ice, I had several clear indications. First, I am already through two-thirds of the cord of firewood we bought in mid-December. Second, I’m afraid to open my gas and electric bill. Third, I am sick to death of every sweater I own.
My fourth clear signal actually doubled as one of the first bellwhethers of spring. I didn’t really notice my dogs putting on an even thicker coat of fur to cope with the unusually cold temperatures, until this week. Along with the serene sound of the first mourning doves, the beasts began to shed. Suddenly, all the black wool I have been wearing became mohair. I was wading through six-inch drifts of dog fur. I went through six lint rollers in a week and still couldn’t get out the door unfluffed.
On Saturday, I lost it. I flew into a multi-pronged cleaning frenzy. In desperation mode, I bathed both dogs, only to find this released more hair. I spent an extra 15 minutes per dog, just scraping off excess fur while they were still wet and soapy, scooping up pile after pile from the drain cover. 
My foolish sense of victory lasted until the next morning, when my golden retriever brushed against my bathrobe, leaving a solid mat of hair. I dropped everything and gave them both another 10 minutes with the brush. The results were identical to the shower. I truly expected to hit bare dog skin. Once that was done, I broke out the vacuum, and the real madness began. Everywhere I looked, I found dog hair, which led to a progressive vacuuming of the entire house, furniture, pillows, rugs, over, under and into every crevice I could find.
As these things always go, while vacuuming, I spotted a disgustingly sticky coffee table, dirt and dog hair in the sliding glass doors, a fireplace overflowing with ashes and a heap of wet towels from yesterday’s dog baths. This led to additional wiping down, shoveling, scraping, sweeping and scrubbing, plus three loads of laundry. And not just any laundry, but the sloppy towel laundry that always goes off center when the spin cycle hits. I spent hours redistributing soggy towels seeking centrifugal perfection.
Were I truly resourceful, I would have spent all that energy on figuring out a way to make dog hair into fireplace logs.


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