I’ll admit it, I’ve got a problem.
I wake up each morning, brain sluggish and throat dry. I’m not thinking straight, but I know one thing for certain: I’ll need a drink to get through the day.
Although “the hair of the dog” is precisely my problem, booze has nothing to do with it. I need coffee every morning, and lots of it, to face the fact that the dog is shedding.
I didn’t believe those who warned us.
“You’re getting a lab?” they said in disbelief. “You know labs shed, right?”
Yeah, yeah. Whatever.
Back in March, when I first set eyes on our then eight-week old yellow lab puppy, people could’ve warned me that he would grow up to have poisonous tentacles, razor sharp claws, and skunk-like scent sacs. I simply didn’t care. He looked just like one of those impossibly adorable LL Bean catalog puppies, and nothing, including common sense, was going to stop me from taking him home.
Throughout the spring, our new dog “Moby” shed a hair here and there, but we were too busy dealing with other puppy-related issues such as potty training and needle teeth wound care to notice.
But then, summer came. Moby turned six months old a week ago, and to celebrate, his follicles have apparently decided to take a vacation. Accordingly, his stiff little yellow hairs have been granted their freedom to explore every nook and cranny of our household.
It all happened quite suddenly. One day, to praise Moby for returning the pair of underwear he had stolen from my son’s room, I reached down to stroke his back. He gave me several licks to the face before I noticed that I had a veritable catcher’s mitt of dog hair covering my hand.
Since then, dog hair has permeated every aspect of our lives.
First thing in the morning, my scratchy throat is the sure sign that I’ve inhaled several hairs in the middle of the night, triggering sudden coughing fits. When I shake the covers to make our bed, puffs of hair become airborne, creating a cyclone of dog hair that glows visibly in the morning light, before gently drifting back down to settle on our bedspread, ready to be inhaled another night.
I often find a hair floating in my morning coffee and have to fish it out with a finger. If I miss, it ends up on my tongue. Strangely, I can feel it, but somehow can’t seem to find it. Eventually, I swallow and hope that dog hair doesn’t have too many carbs.
The rest of the day, I find mats of hair in the lint trap, tumbleweeds of hair drifting down the hallway, tufts of hair on the upholstery, balls of hair on the bathroom rug, blankets of hair in the vacuum filter, tangles of hair on the fan blades, and a generous sprinkling of hair on carpets, furniture and fixtures.
Also, thanks to my unfortunate mistake of allowing Moby to ride along in the minivan to drop my teenage daughter off at her summer job, anyone who enters our vehicle gets out looking like Chewbacca.
I didn’t think it was canine-ly possible for a dog to shed so much hair, much less for it to end up on top of our refrigerator, baked into the meatloaf, or woven into my toothbrush bristles. In a strange and incredibly annoying sort of way, dog shedding is quite miraculous.
In fact, it will be a miracle if I survive this process without hacking up a hairball myself. But in the meantime, I guess I have no choice but to love every hair on … or off … Moby’s adorable little head.