Posted on March 30, 2014
My So-Called Hairy Life
Red, brown and white are the predominant colors of my wardrobe these days. Trust me, this is not an intentional fashion statement. My horses’ shedding season has begun in earnest, and the colors of their hair coats (chestnut, bay and gray) dictate the hues that will adorn my clothing for the next several weeks. Try as I might to keep my horsin’ around clothes separate from my other garments, that horse hair is very sneaky. It manages to find its way into everything! By the way, here’s a tip for the uninitiated. While in the midst of a horse grooming session, the most effective way to remove horsehair from one’s mouth is via spitting. Trying to remove it with one’s fingers (bound to be laden with hair) simply replaces a couple of hairs with a dozen others. Those of you with horses know exactly what I’m talking about.
All that horsehair does have some redeeming qualities. It keeps my 1,000 pound babies nice and warm all winter, and provides awesome nest building material this time of year. What I appreciate most about my horses’ hair coats is their ability to accurately predict the weather. This past fall, their coats grew to the plushness level of a wooly mammoth, and their recent shedding spree has gotten off to a very late start. This all makes perfect sense given the severity and duration of the winter we’ve just experienced. For my money, a horse’s hair coat is just as good, if not better, than any Farmer’s Almanac.
Then there’s the matter of the dog hair. How is it that my eleven-pound Nellie sheds just as much as a 60-pound Labrador? Her hair is white and bristly and impossible to miss, particularly on my new couches. Technically speaking, Nellie is not “allowed” on this new furniture but, because we don’t patrol at night, she manages to “couch surf” most every evening (this in spite of the fact that we have more than a dozen cushy, comfy dog beds scattered around throughout our home). Quinn sheds a whole lot less than his lil’ sis, but his hair coat is of that super fine variety, and the hairs cling steadfastly to everything they contact.
Why is it that manufacturers of vacuum cleaners and lint rollers haven’t figured out how to identify and hit on fur balls like me? I should be easy to “profile” based on my online activities: shopping for pet supplies, reading horse and dog training blogs, and marathon You Tube sessions watching only cute animal videos. Someone really should tell these companies they are missing out on a lucrative opportunity!
I sometimes wonder what it would be like to wear a sweatshirt devoid of animal hair. How many times have my kids heard me say, “It’s an excellent source of protein,” after finding a pet hair on their dinner plate? Do my yoga instructors know that I’m the reason they must spend extra time sweeping after class? These are the kinds of questions that cross this animal lover’s mind.
Would I consider a life without animals in exchange for a lifestyle devoid of pet hair? Not in a million years!
Can you relate to any of this? I sure hope so because, as that old saying goes, “Misery loves company!”
Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
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Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at www.speakingforspot.com, Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.