Clean Floors for Dirty Paws: Tradeoffs in a Life With Dogs

I’ve heard it said that cleaning with dogs in your house is like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos. Indeed, it is an exercise in futility. I can prove it.  Below is a photo of my floor less than two hours after it received a good sweep, vacuum, and mop:

Dirty Floor and Lazy Dog

“You have no proof it was me.” — Moose

Why, oh why, did we opt for the Brazilian Koa laminate instead of a splotchy dark brown carpet with a doggie footprint pattern? It seems that would’ve been the safer way to go. It would’ve been the way for people with OCFD (Obsessive Clean Floor Disorder) to go. If you haven’t heard of it (and I’m guessing you haven’t since I just made it up), OCFD is a genetic disorder passed down from mother to daughter. The chief symptom of this disorder is fretting about the state of your floors, especially when the sun shines on them just right so that every speck and dust particle screams out, “Here I am! Look at me!!”

You see, to a person with OCFD, a clean floor symbolizes order amid chaos. There is nothing like a clean floor to make the whole room look cleaner. Everything at desk and counter height can be in a shambles but if the floor is clean, the room is clean. This keeps our anxiety to levels not requiring measured breathing into paper bags.

Clean Floor

A clean floor lover’s dream.

Living with dogs, however, I have learned to let some things go. For example, I no longer think twice about why there are blankets and soft cushions spread out on the floors like we’re planning to turn our home into an opium den. And, instead of evenings with candles, soft music, and a glass of wine, I have outdoor walks in all weather followed by daily doodie duty.

And, I only have clean floors for about 15 minutes a week.

I know that admission will make the “dirt should be outside” people cringe, and I do feel that pain, but trading in clean floors for life with loving, entertaining, hilarious, chaotic, sweet, sometimes knuckle-headed companions is no sacrifice. Like people with human children who have swapped carefree lives for nightly readings of Thomas the Tank Engine and cuddling with their young ones, I have also swapped my previous life of a dirt-free abode for one of snuggles, tummy rubs, and unconditional love. I have traded order for chaos, a beautiful chaos. Sure, I may have dirty floors, but my heart is full thanks to my four-legged family members. They make me laugh, smile, and lift my spirits on the dreariest of days. They are my confidants and my therapists. For that, I can overlook the dirtiest of floors.

Wipe Your Paws Floor Mat

If only the dogs could read!


If you suffer from OCFD, I recommend contacting your nearest animal shelter and adopting a dog. This will make your floors the least of your concerns. Alternatively, you may reach out to me and come clean my floors. I pay in dog treats and cookies.








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4 Responses to Clean Floors for Dirty Paws: Tradeoffs in a Life With Dogs

  1. Gwen says:

    So true!! In the overall scheme of things – it is just a little dirt!! That can be cleaned up – Living in a way that feeds your soul is what is important. They are lucky dogs to be in such a comfortable and loving home!! And, like you said they fill your spirit. As much as you may like your clean floors – I can’t imagine what it would be like to live in a ‘sterile home’ that you see in those home decorating magazines! No life!!! Gwen

  2. Nancy L. says:

    Hahaha, I love this! I say…let the floors go to the dogs. Another great life observance put into a picture of words we can all see.
    Cesar Milan says God gives us the dog (or cats?) we need, to teach us what we need to learn. Clearly, my friend…you need to let go of your OCFD, LOL.
    Hugs to you and your teachers 😉
    From me and mine 😉

  3. sherry says:

    This is great ,so funny ,and so true !!

    • Leanna Widgren says:

      Thank you! Suzy showed me a product where you put little booties on your dog’s paws. I wonder how many of 5 seconds those would stay on our kiddos!