Is It Possible To Keep A Clean House With Pets?

By Leslie Garrett

My brother hates fur.

You could dine on his kitchen floor. Wear head-to-toe black in his home and pick up nary a stray strand of pet hair. He keeps his home free of four-legged furry pets and that’s the way he likes it.

At my home, he picks stray fur off his toddler’s pants. Pulls the occasional strand from his preschooler’s mouth. And shakes his head in thinly disguised disgust at the odd bit of dog or cat fur that makes its way into my meals. He does, however, continue to accept dinner invitations.

I, on the other hand, don’t necessarily embrace the dog fur that seems to blanket every surface of my home so much as accept its inevitability.

I recently made cookies for an event. I pride myself on my cookies—a skill honed from a childhood of baking and a love of eating raw dough. And my own kids think nothing of a cookie held together by a bit of fur.

Other people? Not so much.

And though I try valiantly to ensure that the cookies I make for public consumption are fur-free—vacuuming my kitchen, scrubbing my counters, banishing the pets from the room until I’m done—it seems inevitable that one cookie, most likely the one selected by the most dedicated dog-hater, will contain fur.

Sigh.

Last year, when Polar, our three-legged bone-cancer survivor, was undergoing chemo, we were knee deep in fur. Polar would run/hop to greet me at the door—his white fur literally flying—and I would enter what felt like a snow globe. One that had just been given a mighty shake.

Polar is shedding slightly less now that chemo is over. But that’s like saying the economy is slightly less volatile than it was. It’s a matter of infinitesimal degrees.

And so we select our dinner guests carefully, invited as much for their ability to tolerate dog fur in their food as for their warmth, wit, and charm.

I choose my menu equally thoughtfully, given to casseroles that better disguise the occasional bit of fur.

I gave up cleanliness for dogliness. And I’m okay with that.

Mostly.

Leslie may have thrown in the (hair-covered) towel with her dogs, but how about you? Share any tips you have for hair-free cooking and cleaning in the comments section below.


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