My long-haired beagle-spaniel has entered into that time of year that we call The Big Shed. Every summer he grows what must be an entirely new coat, and for a brief while his fur becomes as soft and dense as an otter’s. Then the old coat falls out and I begin to follow him around with a comb. The first year I witnessed this process it was startling. Now I know that I have to be diligent–even annoying–during The Big Shed, or dog hair will become so much more than a mere condiment.
My dog tries to be tolerant, but he hates to be messed with. For the next few months he will regard me with suspicion: Is she hiding a comb? Is she going to pick at my fur again? Finally, The Big Shed will move from his haunches to his back to his ruff and be over. And then we will be free to be ourselves again.