Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lest ye think I exaggerate...

About a year and a half ago I posted a photographic example of my ongoing dog-hair problem. There's hair on the floor, hair in the air, and hair constantly falling off the dogs as they walk through the house. It mostly collects itself into tumbleweed-like puff balls and hides under furniture, so it isn't as if I have to kick a path through it. And I don't consider it dirty, exactly, because if the hair were still on the dogs, I'd have no objection to hugging them. It just gets a little overwhelming, that's all.

It would be easier to manage if I could just vacuum up the hair, but there's too much of it. It fills up more than one vacuum cleaner bag, and at five dollars a bag, I can't afford to use more than one per session. So I sweep before I vacuum. I pile all the hair into a corner, sweep the pile onto an open sheet of newspaper, then fold up the paper and put it in the trash.

You can imagine the volume of hair that accumulates if I get behind in the sweeping and vacuuming. Say I'm busy with a barbecue one weekend, a birthday dinner the next, then I get involved in a really, really good book, and then, just when I'm finally getting around to tackling chores, I get invited to trek through a nature preserve instead. Time flies by sometimes; what're you gonna do?

Today, I made up my mind, was no-nonsense day. I got Kadi and Butch both down and brushed them vigorously, determined to get every loose hair off of them before I began sweeping. Then I made a deal with myself.

Sweeping hurts my back, so I decided I'd sweep for 15 minutes, then do something I enjoy for the next 15, alternating until the job was done. I watched TV and drank a Diet Coke after the first 15 minutes, then picked up the broom again. As I swept, my mind began focusing on the possibility of a new creative project, something I've never seen anybody else do.

The timer rang and I got started. First, I needed a spray bottle of water to make my sculpture medium pliable enough to hold shape. After five minutes, I had just what I wanted, so the next step was to photograph it. It took about a minute to get the right shot, then another three or four minutes to get the photo loaded onto my computer. With five minutes left, I opened the photo file into the Paint program and went to work "painting" little facial features. Done, just in the nick of time.

This is supposed to be a vacuuming period, but I'm so pleased with the results of my art project that I couldn't wait to show it to you. Do you know how many times I've joked with people that there's enough dog hair in my house to make a whole 'nother dog? Maybe now they'll believe me.

I think I'll name this one Fluffy (may she rest in peace).


  1. Fluffy is awfully cute. Maybe I can find a use for all the cat hair in my apartment after all.

  2. Hi, Schmutzie, it's nice to see you again. And I'm glad you see the potential here. No vet bills, no feeding, no walking, no poop to dispose of. Just an occasional spritz with the water bottle, and this kind of pet stays right where you want it.

  3. I think this is something all dog owners joke about... but you actually proved it! Wow! What did Butch and Kadi have to say about this critter?

    Oh, the dog hair problem is the reason I switched to bagless vacuums years ago. It's the only way to go!

  4. Creekhiker, the eyes and nose are only on the photo, not on the pile of hair that's on the floor, so Butch and Kadi aren't paying it any attention. All they know is that they'll get fussed at if they scatter it and that the broom will clatter to the floor if they bump it.

  5. Way too cute! I used to have collies and would brush grocery bags full of hair off them. Hoorah for greyhounds! Carmon

  6. If you only could have heard how hard that made me laugh, borderline hysterical!

    I too have the same dog hair problems...but I never thought of being so creative.

    Bagless vacuums are the only way to go!


  7. Oh, my dog! That is so funny!! I'm going to see what I can make out of the hair I get off of Spot. But I'm lacking in creativity-the most I've ever thought of in the past is a Tribble.

  8. Carmon, do greyhounds not shed, or do they just shed way less than collies? Shedding is going to be a consideration if I ever get another dog.

    Maxngabbie and Holly, do you have any recommendations about bagless vacuums? As in which ones are worth the money and which ones aren't?

    Janet, I'm Star Wars challenged and didn't know what a Tribble was. Now that I've googled it, I can see why that idea has occurred to you. I hope you will make something out of Spot hair once you've collected enough. It would be fun to see it.

  9. That is very cute and a heck of a lot of hair!! My goodness. I have to say between Cap and the girls the hair is sometimes overwhelming. I agree that bagless is the way to go. I fell in love with my Mr. Bissel a few years ago. I have to say though I vacuum then twenty minutes later I vacuum again because I know the first time I've rustled up the hair and it needs to settle in order to be picked up. Vacuum in the AM and the PM is what keeps the hair under control in this house. If I used a bag I'd have to manually empty it then put it back on because I'd go through too many bags. ... admission. I use to do that. I use to empty the bag and put it right back on there.

    Fluffy seems so well behaved.

  10. Oh, my goodness, I thought my dirt was a problem. That is a bunch of dog hair. I wish I had it to put around my garden as it will keep the deer away. They smell the dog and take off. If I were nearer, I might pay for a bag of your discard.

  11. Austin, I'd rather have all my teeth pulled -- without anesthesia -- than vacuum twice a day. And Fluffy was indeed well-behaved during her short life. I told her to stay and she didn't move a hair.

    Sister-Three, I wish you had the dog hair to put in your garden, too. You wouldn't have to pay, but it would be nice if you'd bring your broom to collect it.

    Patsy, do you find enough loose feathers to make a chicken?

  12. Oh my gosh! Velvet, that's hysterical! I had the same problem when I had the cat and two dogs. There is this stuff by Arm and Hammer - pet hair release something or other. You spray it on carpet or furniture, let it dry and the hair comes right up.

  13. Kat, thanks for the tip on the pet hair release product. I've never been able to understand why hair that falls so freely off the dogs sticks like glue to my clothes.

  14. I know exactly what you are talking about regarding the hair...I swear, my two dogs should be hairless by now! There should not be a hair left on their bodies, by the volume of it I sweep or vacuum every day.

    But your 'puppy' is the most creative use I have ever seen for those great amounts of hair. With Hallowe'en coming up, maybe I will find a use for the dog hair.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. Marion, the wicked part of me thinks it might be fun to place a little "hair puppy" just inside the door where the kiddies could see it, then suck it up with the vacuum hose right in front of their eyes. That could scar some kid for life, couldn't it?

  16. You've got to be kidding me, Velvet!

  17. Annie, I'm not kidding. This much hair would probably compress to the size of a grapefruit -- maybe even a baseball -- but it's loose and fluffy as it gathers for meetings under my dining table.

  18. I know it's way late to be posting to this blog post, but people who love birds and try to attract them to their yards not only put out seeds and water, they also put out dog hair in one of those netting type bags and hang it in the tree alongside the seeds along about nesting time.


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