With Brutie I could have made sweaters

Commentary by Ward Degler

My dog, Brutie, has just gone into full molt. There is fur everywhere. He does this twice a year, and considering that he is 85 percent fur to start with, we are dealing with a lot of fur.

In the kitchen pouring coffee, I spot something resembling a floating mouse scooting across the floor by the fridge – a clump of airborne Brutie fur. In the far-blown corners of every room (and there are 12 of them), fluffy little mounds of black and white fur accumulate and undulate in the breeze.

Every morning I grab my handy square fur sponge (designed specifically for removing pet fur from carpets), and rub up a full pound of fur in the living room and hall. I comb him vigorously with a doodad that resembles a tiny garden rake and gather great handfuls of fur. Another gizmo called a Furminator yields a fur ball the size of a basketball.

All this fur reminds me of a young woman who manned a booth selling beautiful sweaters at the Renaissance Fair in Minnesota years ago. They were soft and downy, luxuriant by any standard. I asked her what the material was.

“Dog,” she said, matter-of-factly. “I comb out old Shep every day, accumulate his wool and spin it into yarn.” When I pressed her for more information, she led me to the back of her booth and showed me her honest-to-God spinning wheel. Old Shep wandered by showing off his heavy fleece and wagging a friendly tail.

“This is my source,” the woman said. “Shep is an ample provider.”

Oh, how I wish I’d had Brutie back then. Think of the beautiful sweaters I could have had. Lamentably, I didn’t get the woman’s name or address. And I don’t have a spinning wheel.