When spring comes, all of us who
own pets are faced with the problem of shedding, clumps of hair sticking
to the couch, the bed, and the carpet, the car seats, and the sometimes
unpleasant (for your pet) task of brushing all of that excess fur, hair,
and undercoat from your pet in an attempt to "get it" before it
(naturally) gets onto all the places you don't want it to get to.
For all its trouble (for you), pet grooming makes your dog or cat more
comfortable as the warm weather arrives, and is best done when the pet's
coat just dries after a nice bath. This maximizes the "yield" of hair
and fur when brushing, and makes the hair much easier to clean up.
To make your job easier, and to make the experience of grooming more
pleasant for your pet, using the right tool is very important. Over the
years, I have found the best tool to use for dog grooming, and after you
use the FURminator
(see below), you'll throw all of those
wire bristle brushes, the mittens with the rubber nubs, and all of those
other "pet hair brush" inventions in the trash.
The week after the
Pennsylvania ground hog predicted an early spring (2013), I brushed
my dog Ninja with my 4-inch
FURminator. I swear that after 10 minutes of gentle brushing (which she
enjoyed), I took enough fur off of her to make another dog. The
FURminator really does an efficient job of
getting all of the loose fur and undercoat (Black Labs have very little,
if any undercoat).
Now.... once you have a 10 pound ball of fur in a paper bag, what do YOU
do with it? Most people throw it in the trash. My father taught me what
to do with all of that fur, and when you read this, it will make perfect
sense. Ready for this?
I put the fur out into the yard for the birds. As spring comes, birds
are searching for nesting material to build their nests. In the Lord's
infinite wisdom, the nature He created
wastes nothing; everything gets recycled. In "the wild", birds will pick
up whatever is "warm and fuzzy" (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) to
line their nests for the coming little birdies. Dog or cat fur is ideal
bedding material, and it shouldn't go to waste buried in a landfill when
birds have a use for it.
If your pet hair is dark-colored, throw it out on a light surface such
as a sidewalk. If it is light-colored, throw the clump of hair onto a
bare patch of dirt or blacktop. You could even use it as "spring tinsel"
by draping it over a hedge or bush. The idea is to make it easy for
birds to find it.
When birds find nesting material easy to find, they naturally gravitate
to the area, just as they will come to a hanging bird feeder full of
"bird seed". Your discarded pet hair provides a valuable resource that
birds are looking for in the spring, and you will discover that you have
many more birds nesting in your area as a result.
When you have many birds, there will be pleasant birdsong all day long.
As a consequence of increased local bird population, you encourage the
growth of wild plant life, as birds eat seeds, and pass them in their
droppings (this is nature's "fertilizer"). More plants means more
wildlife of every kind, and a more "natural" environment to live in (for
you). After a few years of doing this, you may notice wildflowers
growing where you least expect them (or where they've never grown
before). Your tomato and squash garden will benefit as pollinating bees
are attracted to flowers and the new plant growth.