If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably accepted that a life with pets equates to a life without “nice things.” We often substitute the fancy for the practical: dog friendly fabrics, an excessive collection of candles to hide the ‘pet smell’ and ultimately a living space that caters to the small, furry creatures we share our lives with. As someone who lives with a pack seemingly large enough to start training for the iditarod, I can completely relate to the stress and anxiety that comes with having people over.
I’ve asked local Richmond resident and home owner, Carmen Sullo, what her tips and tricks are for coexisting and thriving with an upcoming instagram star, Mousse. Dark like chocolate and big as a moose, this valedictorian of puppy school is everything you could ask for in a companion. As a poodle, he is naturally fluffy, intelligent and per Carmen, has always been a good boy. Interestingly enough, poodles do shed (as do all dogs) and release dander but are not as likely to trigger allergies as compared to other breeds. For Carmen, the minor amount of shedding from Mousse is the least of her concerns. “I have two kittens (they turn one next month), Mousse, three kids and exactly zero nice things.”
So what do you do with all of these creatures when trying to sell a home? For Carmen and her crew, “number one with pets has always been getting the pets out of the house before a showing. This is quickly followed by making a home seem like pets never lived there. Especially cats – I find that even the perception of cat smell is a deterrent to buyers. For the puppy (who is still potty training) I use an enzymatic cleaner – Nature’s Miracle spray or carpet foam. And anything else I use vinegar and water soaks.”
Each and every pet owner sacrifices something. I often toy with the idea of throw pillows but who am I kidding – they never last more than a few days. For Carmen and her pack, “…it’s sight lines and ‘grown up living space’ which is basically a broad term for everything even remotely Pinteresting. Looking out into my living room and seeing a giant kitty condo and a dog crate and animal toys strewn about (commingling with kid toys and my own mess…), scratched leather and a gouge in the hardwood from a vase the cat knocked over… tends to generate some stress for me.” I’m sure all of us can admit that when we visit the homes of friends or family without pets, or even furniture stores (hello beautiful clean furniture), the thought of ‘oh, so this is life without pets’ crosses all of our minds.
The return for rolling with the furry punches? “Joy. Mousse in particular has an extremely calming effect. I notice my heart rate lower when my hand touches his cloud-like fluff. The kittens are comic geniuses. They play and bounce and entertain. And they teach my children and me about responsibility, unconditional love and, of course, we get many a science lesson in enzymatic cleansers. I could go on and on. Honestly, the rewards just build on themselves.” With every tail wag, meow or other charming and adorable/heart melting/’squeeeee’ of a moment – this is the life we have accepted.
Pet friendly is just the realty for some of us. I look forward to sharing some helpful tips and tricks in addition to featuring other Richmond pets and their packs.