The Puppiness Project – You Can Hate and Love Something at the Same Time

Gretchen Rubin wrote in The Happiness Project about the year she spent “test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happy.” The Puppiness Project is my attempt to learn the same from Honey, my Golden Retriever.

The fine line between love and hate

Golden Retriever with metal dog sculpture at Cass Park

You keep threatening to replace me with a dog that doesn't shed (like this one). But I know you'd never do it.

After brushing my teeth, I apply a little lip balm and crawl under the comforter. Within seconds, my mouth is coated with dog hair and every word I speak comes out fuzzy.

In the morning, I grab my slacks from the closet. As the hems touch the ground, they pick up dog hair faster than a greyhound on amphetamines.

When I make my lunch, I find  a stray gold hair on the plate I take out of the cupboard.

I hate dog hair.

And yet every dog I bring home has a thick, double coat. I just love beautiful dogs with luxuriant fur.

I love dogs that shed as much as I hate dog hair.

Living with something you hate to get something you love

As we head into winter, I’m preparing my survival kit: long underwear, boxes of my favorite tea, the space heater that fits under my desk, and lots and lots of rum.

We’re heading into a dark and gloomy season and it takes all my reserves to get through the ever shorter days.

Every once in a while my husband threatens to move me to Florida. I say, “no way.”

Somehow I don’t think I’d experience near the joy of summer if I didn’t have to survive such a long winter to get to it.

When we finally get an 80 degree day, I can’t stop smiling. My face turns up to the sun like a sunflower. I can’t bear to be indoors. I’m determined to enjoy every moment of warm weather before heading back into autumn and winter.

The upside of dog hair

Yes, the price I pay for having a beautiful dog with a floofie tail and soft furry coat is dog hair condiments and hairball rhinos under the bed (they’ve long since grown past the bunny stage). And it’s worth every stray hair.

But the upside? A five minute vacuum job makes my house look like something out of House and Garden even if I haven’t cleaned another thing.

Skating over a thick veneer of dog hair for days at a time makes those five seconds of hair-free floors look beautiful. At least to me.


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  1. Oh how we can relate in THIS house!

  2. Like putting up with Canadian winters to get socialized medicine. 😉

    Nothing in life is perfect. Tell Mike that the summer humidity in Florida would make you just as grouchy. I don’t drink alcohol, so I don’t stockpile rum for the winter, I just count down the days ’til summer.

    As for the fur, many dog owners have one word for that: DYSON. :)

  3. I hear you on this one! Even if the clean carpet only lasts for 1 hour, I had that 1 hour of happiness and I know that it is possible:)

  4. It doesn’t seem to matter how much I clean, there is still dog hair and my dogs have short hair! LOL But I don’t mind in the least because they bring so much joy.

  5. I love hot weather and many years ago moved to a region where it seldom gets below 40 as a daytime high. But I pretty much hibernate when it gets that cold.
    I can remember a place where 20 degrees felt balmy. It’s all relative. I’m ready for our spring to begin in February.

  6. LOL. I hear you. As much as I adore my dog there are some days… Like when she is whining at the gate at the top of the stairs at six am on a Sunday morning… Oddly, the fur doesn’t bother me as much as that pre-dawn wake up call.

    My next dog better be lazy!

    Thanks for the tip about the rum. 😉

  7. I’m the opposite – I’m looking forward to the cold weather my mountain dog coat was made for! But I do hear the humans complain about the extra carpets of hair and mud that I cause all over the house!:o)

  8. All I have to say is . . 3 cats and one dog – I have given up on having a perfectly clean house and no longer wear fleece (the embed hair doesn’t wash out!!) I love that I am not the only one that needs the winter to make me appreciate the beautiful sunny days! I grew up in San Diego where every day is 70 and sunny and you end up taking it for granted. Now I truly appreciate a sunny day, even if it is 40! (oh, and we tried living in South Carolina – YUCK, I don’t like humidity . . I’d rather be cold!!)

  9. Ha ha ha! I warned hubby when we added a German Shepherd to the house that he was going to have to vacuum every day. He still gripes about the hair, but that Dyson sure gets a work out. The price I pay is minimal to have something I love here in the house, though. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

  10. Oh, the dog hair! It’s in my clothes, it’s in my cupboards, I’ve even found it on my tooth brush – but I wouldn’t trade these crazy pooches for anything. I’ve convinced myself that coping with the dog hair builds character – I mean, no one will ever again accuse me of being a perfectionist, right?

  11. As much as I loathe vacuuming, I can’t think of anything more satisfying than the sight of fur tumbleweeds being wooed toward the glorious suction and then – POOF – gone forever. :) Makes waiting over a week between a full-house vacuum SO worth it! I am so serious.

    I would still be imprisoned by my neat freaky ways without my two fur fountains.

    I don’t like rum, but Bailey’s is a fine substitute – every now and then. 😉

  12. Having had my family of Shelties I know exactly where you’re coming from. There’s nothing like a dog with a gorgeous, long, shiny, well groomed coat. But I got to a stage where I decided looks weren’t everything. It wasn’t the constant house cleaning but more the constant, continuous, never ending dog grooming that got to me. I’ve successfully managed to channel my love for long coated dogs into a love for short coated dogs.

    We’re still having dark and gloomy days, I’m really going to appreciate Summer if it ever gets here. I think Spring lasted about 2 weeks before we got another 6 week dose of Winter.