I have a confession: the townhouse we’re renting has not been professionally cleaned since I moved in a year and a half ago. Sure, I vacuum every week, swipe the kitchen counters after dinner and clean the bathrooms if I have a spare moment. But those “spare moments” have become consistently less and less frequent between a newborn, a puppy and part-time work.
Ok, fine. The baby is closer to one and the dog is a manageable two-year-old. But still! Finding a few hours to get the dog out of the house for a cleaner to come through while adhering to my daughter’s nap schedule is no easy feat. In fact, for our family, it’s proven impossible. Which is why I was delighted to learn of House and Hound, a cleaning service specializing in households with four-legged friends.
My rescue diva Daisy was all wiggles and wags when founder Amy Jean graciously dropped in a few weeks ago. She entered with a warm smile and her hands full of everything she’d need to get down and dirty: a bucket of sprays and powders, paper towels and scrubs, even an impressive mechanic mop machine (which is going on my Christmas list next year).
“All of the cleaning products,” she immediately assured me, “are dog-safe.”
It was heartening that she was looking out for the safety of my family because, in that moment, I was too focused on my own relief. Someone had walked through the door, and I didn’t have to worry about keeping my sweet, rambunctious, people-loving dog from jumping all over her.
There is a tremendous difference between dog people and everyone else, and that difference is paramount when bringing someone into your home. Jean instinctively knew how to greet Daisy – a firm hand to keep her from jumping, some sweet, high-pitched words and a dip down to her level so she could get a solid lick in – and I could sense immediately we were in good hands.
Not surprisingly, Jean was raised with dogs. Her family was active in the American Kennel Club and bred show dogs throughout her childhood. She went on to practice criminal law before pivoting to collections law. It was then, in the thick of adulthood with a big, albeit stressful, job, that she had a revelation.
“My mom got sick, and I decided it was time to change my life,” said Jean. “I started House and Hound. I just did it. I woke up one morning and said, ‘No more. Life is too short.’”
So she quit and returned to her roots, working with the creatures she’s always loved. She decided to pair her dog-walking services with housecleaning because, as she explained, there’s a hole in the market: you can hire someone to walk your dog and someone to clean your house, but not someone who can do both.
And both she does. Her services range depending on your needs, from a general cleaning to a deep, moving-out kind of expunge. This can then be combined with a dog service, such as a walk or playtime at the house. She dog-sits and even hotel-sits, if you’re from out of town and want a night out without worrying about the pooch. She also offers the dog services without the cleaning. The bottom line here is flexibility. She works with you and your dog to ensure everyone is happy.
As she worked through my kitchen spraying, wiping and showing me a trick to clean the microwave in a cinch, it was clear she loves what she does. Her contentment with where she is and what she does show in the positive light she carries into the room. When Daisy wouldn’t stop following her around, sitting on her feet and being a general glutton for attention, Jean didn’t view her as an annoyance or an inconvenience or something to be avoided.
It is Daisy and all the dogs like her that drive her forward. And that makes all the difference.