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Getting a Dirty Dog Clean Without Water

My foster dog had a poop accident right when the water was cut in my building.

Julia Szabo  |  Nov 8th 2010

This past weekend was certainly eventful. On Saturday morning, the hot water in my apartment building cut out. That night,my bathroom sink decided to make matters worse: the faucet began dripping uncontrollably, while the drain stayed stubbornly clogged. This unfortunate combination of developments necessitated my bailing water out of the sink (with — what else? — a stainless-steel dog bowl) and tossing it into the toilet. What a glamorous way to spend Saturday night.

To stanch the flow of water, I turned off the water valve, yet the faucet continued to drip as if possessed. Halloween had come and gone, but I had a poltergeist in my bathroom, and it wasn’t going to give me a break. My building superintendent was out of town until Sunday, so I called an emergency plumber. The cost for weekend emergency service would be $286 to show up at the doorplus $286 per additional hour thereafter. Aargh. Not in the budget.

I decided to ruff it without running water until my super’s return Sunday morning. Rest assured, it was a very long night.

And wouldn’t you know,in the middle of all this is when Frieda, my fetching foster dog, had a spectacular accident in her crate. Naturally, it was my fault; what with all the water-bailing and running around after the other dogs (not to mention the cats), I was late getting her outside, despite her loud cries for help. I was also late cleaning up the mess – which began in solid state, but got liquefied by the overturning of Frieda’s water bowl.

The clusterf**k only got more complicated by poor Frieda’s abject posture. Mortified, the little darling was lying down in her own filth, anticipating the worst and worriedly wagging her tail.

Emergency cleanup in such a case is difficult even when hot water is available, so this was going to be a doozy. Frieda has kennel cough, so the last thing I wanted to do was turn on the water valve to give her a cold bath when the weather outside is even colder. She was going to need a thorough dry-cleaning, pronto. But how, and with what?

Happily, I’d purchased a canister of CleanWell All-Natural Hand Sanitizing Wipes the day before. I’m a big fan of this brand’s hand sanitizer, because it contains no alcohol or toxic Triclosan, so I’d been vigorously spritzing my hands with the stuff ever since lastTuesday (when Frieda entered my life), to help prevent her highly contagious kennel cough from spreading to my other dogs. I probably wouldn’t have thought to try the wipes, except I was intrigued by their Orange Vanilla scent and the product’s claim that it was gentle enough to use on the face.

I’m lucky I picked up that canister of CleanWell, because those wipes are what got us through. No time like an emergency to gear-test a new product!

First, I got the canister open and pulled out the first wipe. It was just the right degree of moist: not too dry or too gooey-wet. Next I coaxed Frieda out of her crate, attempting to steer her onto the paper towels I’d carefully placed on the floor (naturally, I’d forgotten newspapers in my haste; memo to self for next time).

Of course, Frieda promptly side-stepped the paper towels, so I worked fast, quickly wiping each of her paw-pads before she could stomp molten excrement all over the floor. Then I wiped the tops of her feet, each of her legs, and her tail (twice), then her underbelly, then her neck. She submitted to this wacky, waterless bath with admirable patience.

The sweet,orange-vanilla scent not only performed emergency aromatherapy on me through this admittedly onerous chore, I suspect it also helped calm my terrified dog. It certainly made Frieda downright fragrant. By the time she was fully wiped down, she smelled like a Creamsicle!

After the last wipe was used up and tossed out – we must’ve gone through at least half of the canister-little Frieda was positively prancing around the room. Dogs may not love the process of getting a bath, with water or without, but I dare anyone tosay they don’t like that clean feeling. I would actually venture to say they love it. (While Frieda was enjoying post-bath bliss, I cleaned up her crate with PawSafe Multi-Surface cleaner.)

Those CleanWell wipes are going to be a mainstay of my animal house cleaning kit. I won’t leave myself without at least two canisters at any given time. Do you have a crisis cleanup story? Please share it in the comments!

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