Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Hair of the Dog

Barkley's hair is the perfect shade of blonde, with lovely lighter highlights and nice body with just enough curl, and a thick and shiny mane. He never has to wash it (well, maybe twice a year), can brush it a couple of times a week, sleep on it, take a run, do some yard work and it still looks fab! He's got what I pay my hair dresser a small fortune to conjure up on my own head every 8-10 weeks. The only bad thing about Barkley's hair is the frequency and volume which it falls . . . yes, Barkley is our family's golden retriever, a true shedding machine.

On a recycling kick, I searched for some ideas of what could be done with his hair, short of taking it to a custom wig maker. I could probably scoop up enough fur in a week to restuff the down cushions on our couch. In a month, the quantity of fur shed could fill my very large car. In a year . . . eew, I don't even want to think about it.

Believe it or not (I didn't), there are people and companies that recycle pet fur. (Just give it a google to see.) I found three somewhat reasonable things to do with all this fur:

1. Spin the fur into yarn and knit a sweater, afghan or keepsake. Perhaps even a coat for your dog from his own fur. There are a number of companies that take care of the spinning for you (the story of Rumpelstiltskin comes to mind everytime I think of spinning yarn) including one in Nebraska called The Fuzzy Farm. Too, Martha Stewart, had the fur of her beloved chow-chow spun by VIP Fibers in California into keepsakes.

2. Add it to your composter. Dog (and cat) fur will break down naturally with other waste in your composter, but without any smell or odor. Bonus, red wriggler worms aren't needed!

3. Use the fur in garden beds to protect tender seedlings, to deter slimy creatures like slugs and snails who won't like the texture, or to fend off raccoons or other critters with the dog's scent (smelly dog hair required). Birds will find and use the fur to line their nests.

I don't knit, and fear trying to handle foot-long sharp needles. But my soon-to-be sister-in-law has just started and I know has time on her hands for such useless projects. As soon as she's finished with her lime green wool blend overalls, men's size XL, I'm going to send her a spool of Barkley fur and see how creative she can be!


  1. I am not sure that the world is ready for a "Slider Shrug"!!! Although she and I would love FAB-U-LOUS! Great job on the blog! Party on Caroline!!!!

  2. Welcome to the blogging world, Caroline! Nicely done, and a great corner of the world to cover.

  3. Sharon from Garden ClubMay 6, 2009 at 10:34 PM

    A few years ago the rabbits sheared my new, rather pricey malampodium plants to the ground. I went to the nursery and they suggested $50 worth of spray-on repellant. Instead, I brushed my very hairy Australian Shephard, Dundee, and covered the stumps of the plants, making them look like little hedgehogs. My plants came back and thrived--they looked a little hairy all summer.
    Sharon, from Garden Club