When we kept the dog of my parents-in-law, we thought we did a really good job keeping his normal pottying problems to a minimum. He was basically dumped at my MIL’s business partner’s daughter’s house out in the country, which is crazy but I have a whole lifetime of blogging to talk about my opinions on responsible companion animal stewardship and today is not the day for that. The PILs adopted him and have given him all the love and care that he needs to be a really wonderful dog. He is a sweetie pie, and he gets along great with our doggie, which makes us love him even more. He had a rough start in life what with being dumped and all, and he probably came from a puppy mill originally since he’s a designer breed (Yorkipoo), but was unaltered and fully grown when the PILs adopted him. Because of his early life neglect, he never learned the difference between pooping and peeing inside vs. outside. The PILs have struggled with this because it is really difficult to potty train a puppy mill dog. When he came to visit our house, we asked that the PILs also bring his crate so that we could use that for containment and to eliminate the possibility of elimination problems in our house. He would go into the crate when asked by the end of the weekend (he’s also super smart). He never once had an accident while he was in his crate for the entire four days that he was at our house, and I thought we did pretty great with him. A few weeks after he went home, however, I kept getting a whiff of pee from somewhere in the living room. We had a cheap, but visually pleasing and serviceable off-white area rug on the floor in the living room (you can actually see it in the doggie photo above), and I I have an especially sensitive nose, a fact Hubs always bemoans. In this case, though, it really came in handy because I sniffed that whole rug and eventually found the pee spot. To be fair, I’m not positive that the PILs’ dog did it; it could have been Tonks, but the existence of a smellable pee spot was undeniable. So I got out the Nature’s Miracle and tried cleaning the rug. Unfortunately, it started to disintegrate, which was probably due to its less than quality construction and the fact that we’d been using it for ~2 years at that point. We picked it up and threw it away, feeling good about getting two years out of a free rug.
Fast forward to November of 2010 and we started to get really cold in our living room. Granted, the temperature of our house is always a bit of a talking point, since I have a thing for saving energy/money and grew up in a house where if you were cold, you put on more clothes or carried around a blanket. Hubs would rather be warmer, and he likes the house to be warmer, so that he can brew beer (if the yeast gets too cold, it doesn’t make alcohol so well). In spite of the normal chilly temperature that I am used to, I started to want to turn up the thermostat more often, which got us to thinking. It turns out that our house probably doesn’t have much insulation in between the crawl space and the floor, and though the old rug wasn’t the greatest, it did protect us from two winters of drafty floors. So I remembered my MIL mentioning once or twice that they had a rug that they were hesitant to continue using because originally, they had come to their pup having peed on the rug in a few places and because they didn’t really notice it right away or because the volume of pee was so great, it soaked through the rug and made big spots on their newly refinished hardwood floors. Though they could have had the rug cleaned, they couldn’t be certain that they wouldn’t have this same problem again, so they had offered the rug to us. When we realized that we would really like to have a rug again, I spoke to MIL about the rug and asked her to please bring it over, which she very kindly did after asking if I was sure that I wanted it (Of course I did; I wasn’t sure why she was even double checking, but I think you’ll soon find out).
Hubs and I rolled the rug out and I was really excited about how good it looked and how big it was. Upon closer examination, though, it turned out that the pup-in-law had not just peed in one place, but had most likely doused the rug on numerous occasions with high volumes of urine. Being the go-getter that I am, and taken in by having the opportunity to have a very beautiful rug insulating our floor, I set out to clean the rug myself. My MIL stopped by at some point during this process and said something along the lines of, “I sure hope you can get it clean,” to which I replied, “Oh, I definitely can.” You’re supposed to use Nature’s Miracle by soaking the affected area with the liquid, then letting it dry; presumably, when the treated area is dry, the smell will be gone. Once I started cleaning, I realized I was going to need more cleaner, so I went to Whole Foods and bought EVERY BOTTLE THEY HAD. At this point, I really still thought that I was going to get the damn thing clean myself. So I worked for probably another two and a half hours drenching it with cleaner. As I worked, I realized that, by wetting the urine again, I was in effect aerosolizing the smell into the entire downstairs of our house. And the rug wasn’t drying because it was so wet. And the smell was sort of starting to soak into the floor below. And we had a friend coming to stay with us for a job interview in two days. And I was hosting book club in three days. The next morning Hubs was convinced by a coworker that professional rug cleaning was the way to go. I made a call and the cleaning folks said they could pick up the rug the day after our friend left (probably he would be understanding) and the morning of book club (so eight women wouldn’t have to smell pee for three hours). The only caveat was that the rug had to be dry, which basically meant operation prop the rug up on boxes and borrow tons of fans. It worked and they took the rug away. The cleaning man and his wife were very nice and assured me that they were “confident” they could get the smell out and they had “seen much worse.”
So now you’ve been brought up almost to the present day. Shortly after the start of the new year, we got a call from the cleaners that the rug was ready and were we available the next morning to have it dropped off. Yes we were! The morning came and instead of a rug, I got a phone call saying that the rug wasn’t quite ready because as they were putting it in the truck that morning, they noticed that one corner of the rug still smelled a little bit and so they treated it again for us without adding any extra charges to our bill (well, thanks). And then this past Thursday, they dropped the rug off. He asked if I wanted to unroll it, but the floor was a total mess from the salt that was all over the roads and sidewalks due to our recent bout of winter weather, so I thanked him and paid him. On Saturday, Hubs and I unrolled the rug and gave it a good sniff. As mentioned above, my sensitive nose can be a problem, so if I smell something and Hubs doesn’t, we usually ignore it (or at least I do my very best to ignore it). I immediately smelled pee and Hubs did, too. I was super frustrated, but was encouraged by my very rational husband to call and see if there was anything the rug cleaners could do. I just hung up the phone with them, and there is nothing else to be done.
The moral of the story is: sometimes you can’t fix everything, and in the case of pet urine it might be better not to try.