I’d like to start a grassroots campaign to make fur fashionable.
No, no, no, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean stylish in the form of skinning unlucky animals that happen to be born with lovely coats so that I can wear their pelts in the mistaken belief the fur looks better on me than the creature that started out with it. Rather the profusion of fur that I deal with on a daily basis. I’d like to change it from my nemesis to my ally, something I don’t have to do battle with on a minute-by-minute basis. And the only way I can see achieving this is by persuading the rest of the population that a fur-filled home--and fur-coated clothing--is actually a good thing, and not a sign that you’ve given up on battling the stuff.
Fur, you see, plays a huge part in my life. I wear it (against my will) on most every article of clothing I don. It decorates every quadrant of my house in the form of gargantuan tumbleweeds that take on a life of their own when the furnace or air conditioner blows. The rugs of my car are coated in dog fur simply from being continually tracked from the house via the soles of our shoes. It gets in every nook and cranny of our furniture. Fur, it seems is inevitable. So why not make it enjoyable?
For years I’d been inured to the fur problem. With two dogs, a cat, a parrot, and now a rabbit, fur (and feathers) just seemed a fait accomplis, like leaves falling from the trees each autumn. Only instead of seasonally, daily. And indoors. And tainting everything you own with it. But then my kids hit middle school age and image mattered and all of a sudden everyone in my house was scrambling for a lint brush (none of which can ever be found when you need them).
Still, I’d resigned myself to fur being a reality of life, something you just have to accept and move on with. I continued to not bother with the lint-brush ritual. Why bother? You spend ten minutes un-sticking it from your black pants only to have the white dog come up and walk between your legs, applying a new layer anyhow. After all, I enjoy the upside of the stuff, when it’s still on the animal. Who doesn’t love to pet a soft, happy dog, or scratch an obliging cat despite the fur flying while you do so?
I grew up with Black Labradors. I’d go away to college for months at a time and still find black fur on articles of clothing. So when my family chose our first dog, we opted for yellow lab, thinking the fur would blend better. Not so much. Then we ended up with a blends-with-nature mutt in varying shades of beige, brown and red. While her fur hides quite nicely with our hardwood floors, it shows on anything we wear. Don’t let me even rant about the parrot feathers and parrot dust that cling to everything, including my white dog’s wet black nose, the telltale sign that she’s been scarfing up dropped food and, er, droppings, from around the parrot’s zone. Not a day goes by that my white Labrador doesn’t have a feather stuck to her nose.
When you think about it, after your pet shih-tzu passes, then you sorta want the fur to linger. Like the smell of a familiar loved one who has gone away, you retreat to the comfort of their presence, however you may find it.
So why can’t we designate those clumps of shed fur gathering momentum on your hardwood floors as decorative puff balls rather than nuisance filth accruing and showing proof of your housekeeping neglect?
I sometimes wonder why an older person invests in a new pet after theirs pass on. A new kitten, for instance, is potentially a 20+ year commitment. When you’re 80, can you plan to be there for that cat for two decades? But overriding that is the pleasure that pets provide. The unconditional love, the camaraderie. It’s hard to turn your back on that, no matter your age. With our kids older and some in college, downsizing is likely on the horizon in the next couple of years for us. When pets become the main demand in your life might make sense to be the time to not include more pets once the older ones pass on.
Yet despite their mess, their hole-digging and their less-than-choice selections of what they ingest, a pet-free life is unfathomable to me. Because despite their one-sided needs and their sometimes impetuous demands, they provide so much love, so much understanding, so much unconditionality, it's impossible to conceptualize life without my furry friends.
Now if only I can figure out how to make their byproduct more desirable, I’d be good to go.Sleeping with Ward Cleaver
Slim to None
Anywhere But Here
Winging It: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who's Determined to Kill Me
Accidentally on Purpose (written as Erin Delany)
Compromising Positions (written as Erin Delany)
I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in this Relationship (I'm a contributor)
And these shorts:
Idol Worship: A Lost Week with the Weirdos and Wannabes at American Idol Auditions
The Gall of It All: And None of the Three F's Rhymes with Duck
Naked Man On Main Street
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