Sunday, April 12, 2009

10 things about having multiple dogs: Part 3

It dawned on me today as I spent almost half an hour vacuming an area approximatley 10ft x 3 ft that really the value of having carpet decreases in an inverse proportion to the number of resident canines. Below are my estimates:

First of all we used only to have one dog at a time and for about eight years we had Tim, who is a long haired feathery furball, double coated collie - he tends to drop the soft fluffy under coat, which tends to gather in fluffy clumps along the skirting board or any wool or dark clothing it can get at. Lots of hair, but not that clingy. However, Timmie gets over this by having the endearing habit of very thoroughly rubbing himself sideways, nose first, tail last, along the couch, ensuring that any hair he drops is nicely embedded into the upholstery, followed by a procedure where he lies flat on his belly, and draws himself along the floor with his front paws while his back legs are stretched out behind him, which nicely embeds his superfluous white hair into the carpet. No mean feat for an old dog - if I'm that flexible when I'm in my early eighties (he is about that in dog years), I'll be laughing - or in a home for the bewildered. He also has a great interest in carefully re-arranging his bed in such a way that the stuffing comes out, and then distributing it artistically about the room.

When Tim was about 5 years old an executive decision was made to replace the carpet in downstairs reception rooms and replace with wood/laminate flooring.

Collie 1 : Carpet -1

Then Chloe arrived - black and white, smooth haired, you would think not much hair to drop, but oh boy, how wrong can you be. Chloe is blessed with 3 types of hair: a black, glossy topcoat, soft downy blackish red undercoat, and white points.

First there is the downy undercoat - the sneakiest most insidiuos dog hair I've ever encountered. It is really short, less than 1/4" long. When brushing her, it sticks to the hairbrush and comes out in solid clumps. When it gets near any fabric, it burrows into the weave and takes up permanent residence.

Chloe (or more correctly, whoever is cleaning up after her) suffers from a thing called "stress alopecia" (the vet gave me the nice technical name for this) Stress alopecia occurs when Chloe is wound up, excited or annoyed, what happens is she develops the supercanine ability to effectively squirt white hair in every direction, mainly in your face and onto any wool or dark clothing in the vicinity. Chloe is very excitable - at her last visit to the vet I went into the consulting room with a black velvet jacket (I'm an optimist) and came out with a white fun fur job.

Two years ago the carpet in the bedrooms came up and an executive decision was made to keep the nice natural wood floorboards exposed. But we thought it would be nice to keep the carpet on the hall, stairs and landing to reduce disturbance from footsteps clumping and paws clicking as the residents went about their business. And such a small amount of carpeting couldn't be too hard to maintain, right?

Collie 1 : Carpet -1
Collie plus smooth haired designer original 10 : Carpet -50

Then the arrival of #3 - Izzy, an Old English Sheepdog. All I'm going to say about the Dulux dog, running romantically through meadows and sitting perfectly in beautifully decorated rooms, is that advertising executives are clearly living in an alternate universe. Izzy is another multiple coat dog, long (almost six inches in places, coarse bluish grey hair which looks lovely when brushed (for about a nanosecond) the requisite soft downy undercoat that joins Tim's in random clumping sessions on the perimeters of the room, and the long silky (supposed to be) white head and leg hair. The thing is that Izzy has a penchant for taking mudbaths (or dustbaths, depending on the weather) and decorating herself with random twigs, straw, leafs and whatever other debris might be available. When it rains, she turns into a sort of monochrome rastafarian. All the additional material attached to her coat makes her itchy, so she likes to scratch her back and rump against the radiators, and, of course, the couch. She also has copious hair around her paws and between her pads, ideal for collecting mud, grass, moss and, on one memorable occasion, beetles. Izzy is an enthusiastic supporter of Tim's bed customising and has proved herself to be a star apprentice.

Collie 1 : Carpet -1
Collie plus smooth haired designer original 10 : Carpet -50
Collie plus smooth haired designer original plus Old English Sheepdog 1,000,000 : Carpet forget it...I'm going to have hall and landing tiled, any suggestions about what to do with the stairs?

No comments:

Post a Comment