Every dog owner can tell you that dog hair seems to have a life of its own.
Breed, color, age, coat-length and type, there’s always one commonality: the fur gets everywhere. In some cases, it even seems as though there’s more of the stuff on the floors and furniture than can be found on the actual dog. Even on the no-shed varieties of canines.
The stuff congregates in corners and bunches under beds. During certain seasons, you can brush enough of it off your canine companion to form his or her doppelganger out of the discarded fibers.
Own a dog long enough, or have enough dogs trotting through your home with drooling jowls and wagging tails, and you begin to wonder if maybe you’ve got it wrong. Maybe the dogs are really naked, and their coats – so lovely to touch, so accursedly painful when you get a dog-hair splinter in your foot on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night – aren’t just an adaptation to protect their soft parts and keep them warm.
“What if,” you muse aloud while your husband is forwarding through yet another commercial during the latest episode of The Flash, “dog hair doesn’t grow on the dog? What if it’s really a symbiotic life form, bent on taking over the planet?”
“Are you writing another story?” he asks. “Because that’s an interesting premise.”
“No, I’m completely serious,” you say. “I mean, consider: it ends up everywhere, it seems to multiply like crazy, and we don’t perceive it as a threat unless we’re allergic to the dander. And what about those allergies. Maybe they’re not just allergies! Maybe it’s a toxin released by this alien life form! Maybe these creatures are the reason dogs have comparatively short lifespans!”
“Or maybe you’re just annoyed because I haven’t swept the floor in three days,” your husband says, not without affection. “Can we finish this episode now?”
“Go for it.”
Your chihuahua jumps up onto the couch, and a single piece of his fur separates from the rest and spirals into your tea, but you don’t realize it until you take a sip and begin to choke.
At the funeral, everyone says you look amazing, and so natural, and how appropriate that even in death there’s dog hair clinging to your blouse.
Fur by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.