Dogs have a way to comfort us without words
It's Bat Dog!

Joy, Furry Dogs & Why I Love Laundry Day

Today is laundry day. It's a big deal in my home because not only do I have laundry for my husband and I, but it means I'm tackling everything that has been used by a very large Siberian Husky and German Shepherd blended dog. She has multiple beds and bedding. She naps anywhere she can find a comfortable surface. She is blind and old. We have replaced bedding that was too thick for her to manage. Her dander manages to reach every surface no matter how high. You would be correct, if you guessed that cleaning and dusting days follow laundry day around here.

There are days when I clean out the dryer filter and find enough linty fur to build a bird's nest. I could make a lush Santa Claus beard from what I collect. How Cleo can generate so much fur and remain as fluffy as a plush toy is beyond me. She's also a dog with allergies and prone to hot spots. She balds under her chin annually, yet still manages to generate more replacement hair. Watch her walk down the hallway, and she "crop dusts" from one end of the house to the other.  

On the carpet with Cleo

She generates a constant cloud of dander that migrates from room to room, leaving behind layers of blond hair on every surface. I mean every surface. She manages to get hair on shelves I need a ladder to reach. Her hair can adhere to the walls, turn itself into dust bunnies, or make its way into spider webs on the downstairs sliding glass door track. Her dander has super powers. It can cling to stainless steel appliances, twenty foot clerestory windows and cabinet doors. When she was younger and able to get into the backyard, we would brush her, letting the hair tumble out into the shrubs for the Crows, Jays, Finches and Robins that we knew would be foraging for nesting material that spring.

Six months ago she became too unstable to negotiate the bed that was five inches thick and five inches short for her length. Her wobbly skinny legs could no longer handle the height and dense material. The same material that made sleeping comfy for her was now causing her to stumble each time she stood up to adjust her body. As an older dog she moves frequently to resettle her bones. As a dog with poor eyesight she easily trips. We replaced this bed with a low version that was easier for her mobility and size. It is made up of layers of blankets we can wash.

I enjoy laundry day because I view it as a diary or scrapbook of my dog. Cleo is part of my life and our home. Her fur and hair is everywhere and likely embedded in everything now. It will be a blessing to run across her hair on a sweater or pillowcase years into the future. I already believe Cleo is part of me on the inside. It's comforting to find that no amount of laundry or cleaning can remove her presence from inside the house. Honestly I don't want to.

What I also find oddly reassuring is the coating of fur on our carpets. It reminds me of a calling card, like a graffitied "Cleo was here" only spelled out in dog hair. It doesn't bother me when I do yoga and dog hair covers me. I'm not Lucy van Pelt. We clean and launder but you know we live with a dog. Her hair and snot mark my clothes. She uses my pant legs like a napkin. In the morning she uses my pajama lap to wipe the sleep from her eyes. I'm a human paper towel and I don't mind, not really. I love Cleo. At least my clothes can be washed during laundry day.

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