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. 

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