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A few years back I offered to do my mother a favor by returning an unwanted item to a big-box bookstore. Donning Dalmatian scrubs and a paw-print tote, I couldn’t have looked more like an animal lover. Unfortunately, that wasn’t a winning look for the store manager. She sized me up with a scowl and asked if I’d realized the item I was returning had some pet hair on it.
“Pet hair? Oh, my God, no! Not pet hair!”
OK, so maybe I overplayed it a bit. But how was I supposed to respond? I mean, I wear pet hair every single day of my life like it’s a fashion statement. Such is the nature of my profession. And in this case, the item had hair on it because I had hair on me. In fact, it had acquired the offending material only after I’d removed it — with an apparent poof of pet fuzz — from its pristine plastic sack.
In the end, the manager was forced to relent (albeit with an expression befitting someone who has just detected a foul odor nearby). After all, the item was in perfect condition — but for a wee bit of inoffensive pet hair.
“Inoffensive,” that is, for the vast majority of pet-loving humans — last weekend’s brunch-time fiasco notwithstanding.
At that inauspicious event, one of Miami’s most heavily trafficked brunch spots (in large part because it caters to the canine set) was the scene of yet another hair-raising confrontation on the subject of wayward fur when my Frenchie, Vincent, shook off his excess.
Turning to me with a curled upper lip, a diner at a nearby table expressed her contempt with a snarl: “So you know, I have three dogs, and I leave them at home.” To which I replied: “I have four, and this one likes brunch.”
Thankfully, she left within minutes, uttering the word “disgusting” under her breath. Which got me to thinking that pet ownership alone is no qualification for the kind of attitude I seek in my preferred fellow humans.
After all, I consider the acceptance of pet hair not only an inevitable fact of life, but a badge of honor and welcome byproduct of my animals’ adoration, too. So it is that I often say — cheekily — that those who can’t tolerate a little pet hair on their person are not to be trusted.
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