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.