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I would always fall back into my usual ways. With each passing day, dirt would begin to creep its way back into my home. Because dirt happens, especially living with dogs. We’ve hired various cleaning com-

panies over the years - some with more than one maid running about, shaping the toilet paper with a perfectly pointed “V” for victory, no doubt. More often though, it would be a husband and wife team, usually older than me. Now, admittedly I suffer with the guilt of hav- ing someone else do something I should be doing myself, like cleaning my home. So, these working arrangements never lasted long. Yes, I’m one of those women who pre-cleans before the cleaning crew arrives, which means I have to take a day off work which totally negates the pur- pose of hiring help. And then I help them. And then I pay them. Of course, any mental health pro-

fessional would point out how this entire thought process is destined for failure. But, I am hear to tell you, these cleaning events did occur often enough over the years. So much so, that I am currently suffering from clean-o-phobia indifferentia - an inertia to dirt, or to the art of cleaning. Depending on your point of view, while sitting in my home. Thankfully, out of necessity, my atti-

tude about cleaning has changed. I’ve lightened up a bit. It helps to have less than stellar eyesight so as not to see the dust build-up. And I am grateful that all of my friends have multiple pets, so their understanding, and (as a result) their presence is welcomed. On the occasion that I do tackle the

task of cleaning, everyone still runs the other way. My pas de deux with the vacuum cleaner looks more like something from Les Ballets Trockadero. I have come to the conclusion

that investing in good equipment and the right cleaning aids are essential to getting the job done, and doing so with the least amount of physical exertion possible. Nothing is more frustrating than scrubbing, only to have poor results, both visually and odoriferously. We have accepted the fact that liv-

ing with dogs means there will be acci- dents. And as a pet parent, I take full responsibility for those accidents. They are completely my fault, not the fault of

the dogs. All of our dogs are good at letting us know when they need to go outside, or when they’re about to throw up. I just have to be better at recogniz- ing the telltale signs. Our home is about 50 percent tile and wood and 50 percent carpet. Invariably, the dogs always find their way to the carpet. THE CLEAN-UP. IT’S SIMPLE. Someone has pooped, puked or

peed. The first thing to do is to pick up and then soak up the debris and liquid. Do not attempt to clean/rub in or add any cleaning aids before doing this step first. This may sound obvious to some of you, but to the rest of us who are doyennes of the domestically-chal- lenged, this information is thoroughly enlightening. If you are able to do this immedi-

ately, take a dry, clean paper towel, and soak up as much of that urine as possi- ble by blotting - until it feels almost dry to the touch. My preferred next step is to use a combination of water and a bit of white vinegar to attack the soiled area. (I do not like soap for the simple reason that it leaves residue and only seems to mask leftover odors. I never seem to be able to get out all of the suds). After the water and vinegar step, again, blot the area dry with another clean paper towel. Then, place a paper towel over the spot to soak up remnant debris and liquid, and to mark the prob- lem area for the smell test later. I know you know the smell test.

Assume the position on your hands and knees, nose to floor and start sniffing. It is a good idea to do this when no one else is around. Your dogs will think you are in play mode, and will most likely join you. If another human walks in on you, simply raise your head, eyes closed, breath in and pretend you’re doing yoga exercises. After said human is gone, resume the smell test position. Then, by dogness, attack that smelly area with all the vengeance you have, using all the cleaning utensils, liquids and elbow grease in your arsenal. Or stick with one tried and true remedy. The 180XT Stain, Odor

And Pheromone Remover by Earth’s Balance. We discovered this gem of a product at the Global Pet Expo Industry Trade Show earlier this year.

(Continued) g Spring ~ 2014 THE NEW BARKER 55

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