She had needed a bath. Her gold was glistening less, matted, tangled, flecked with grass and mulch and remnants of frosted mini-wheats. The night before, I had dragged her to the indecency of a hose-down on the lawn, hurling herself writhing into the grass as soon as I let loose my grip on her neck, rubbing off the coconut-clean.

She had careened from one corner of the yard to the next, as if with speed she could dry herself. At last, she collapsed against the bricks, sulking at me as I chuckled from the hammock.

The next morning, while the kids splashed in the inflated pool and mixed soups of grass clippings, sticks, mulch, and creeping jenny, I cornered her again, deshedding tool in hand. I ran it through her fur once, then stood looking at the handful of golden warmth in my hand.

There must be a better way. How can I get this fur to stay in one place instead of sticking to me and everything around me?

I freed the dog and wrangled my husband’s wet-dry vac out to the deck, feeling rather smug at my creative solution. I fixed the wide-open attachment to the hose, laid it at my side next to the dog’s back, and powered up the machine.

Brush. Flick into the vacuum. Fur disappears.

Brush. Flick. Gone.

Perfect. I am a genius.

I gently, firmly pulled the tool through, working each side, then laying her down to get her belly. This required me to move the vacuum and adjust the hose.

That’s when I saw it.

Clouds of fur.



Settling into the pool.  

My eyes traced the stream of fur upstream to its source.  

It was blowing out the vacuum’s “out” side. All over the deck.

So much for my genius plan.