, , , ,

Since I was about 15, I’ve seldom been without a pet. Mostly dogs, but I added cats to the mix quite a few years ago, and find them just as endearing.

I also hate pets. Cats seem to spend their days looking for new places to throw up. It’s especially nice to step in in the middle of the night.

Cats jump on your stomach full strength in the middle of the night, walk across you to the other side of the bed, and calming jump down, just because.

Dogs collect every burr known to man and then some and spend the evening pulling them out. They are mighty nice to step on in the night as well.

We don’t take vacations because of our pets. Another downer.

Ours are getting old now. Our dogs are aroundish 13 and 12 respectively. For large dogs that’s a lot, and is testimony to the stress free, healthy life style then enjoy. Our cats are slightly younger but not much. Probably the twin orange boys are around 9-ish.

That cats seem devoted to keeping themselves clean and to cleaning up each other. Mostly. Hobbes has the roughest fur and I work a wide toothed comb through him to get mats out of his hind quarters. I take a pound of hair out of him and his brother Calvin. Kate and Spencer (notice the themes please!), don’t seem to be plagued with much undercoat. They just throw up all the time. Always have. No matter what we feed ’em.

The dogs, well they are both long hairs. They are a freakin’ mess. Both have mats over mats over mats. They then get out in the weeds and collect all manner of burrs and sticky vines and come in looking like they are camouflaging for combat. And then try, mostly unsuccessfully to pull them out.

Did I say that it’s best not to walk in my house shoeless? That should be obvious.

It’s not that we don’t try to help them out. But Bear growls and gets snappish if you try. And Brandy starts to cry.  We’ve tried all manner of clippers, scissors, and combs, mostly to no avail. Neither has been cut or pinched yet; still they are terrified of the process and squirm and wiggle and snarl and whine so much that it is exhausting.

But things have gotten to a bad place. Both are very uncomfortable carrying mostly two coats around. There are burrs inside the mats, and frankly certain bodily functions are now being impeded, and THAT is no fun to deal with.

We are ashamed to take them to a professional who would no doubt charge us at least $100 a piece which we can’t afford.

So, we took my best fabric shears and started whacking. We had some success. We think maybe the clippers need new blades, so that is on the agenda if we ever get the danged brakes fixed. (two trips to Bill’s and two trips back, since he is still backed up and the Contrarian must wait for the fix.)

Meanwhile these two dogs continue to make my house look like a barn. Bear paces a lot, trying to find a comfortable way to sleep, but always manages. They still wag their tails. They seem better now that we got some neck hair and rear mats removed. They are sound asleep now, awaiting dinner. I love them madly I truly do. I think often that we won’t have them long now. They are slowing down. They don’t run the lane like they used to. One trip does them in. But few dogs have had their life of fun. They are never hungry and always have access to a dry and warm place.

People often say that our pets will get us in or out of heaven depending. I suspect there is some truth to that. As the Contrarian says, they ask for so little and give so much.

They give all in truth. They love fully. They love blindly. They never stop. And as time-consuming and irritating as they can be at times, I am going to miss them, every one of them, when they leave us. And God willing we will get others.

They hold up a mirror to us, and invite us to our highest, best, self. And then have no clue they are doing it. They just are. Until the very last moment they trust us, as we seldom trust ourselves.

And that’s why they drive me mad with love.

**PS: if anybody has a good solution to cleaning out badly matted dogs, give a yak at me! lol..