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Photograph: Jason Little
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Secrets of a Housekeeper at a Pet-Friendly Hotel

Mariaines Valdez, Housekeeping Manager at Virgin Hotels Chicago

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Photograph: Jason Little

One guest stayed in a suite with his bulldog. He didn’t want us to service the room during his stay, and after he checked out, we went in and the carpets were covered with poop and pee and the fabric walls were peed on and ripped. We had to put the room out of service for three days and replace the wall covers and carpet.

A guest called us crying. She had returned to her room after it was serviced and noticed one of her two cats was missing. She was worried we left the door open and the cat got out. We checked all the linen carts to make sure he hadn’t gotten mixed up in the linens. No signs of the cat. No one had spotted him wandering around either. Finally, our director went to the room. He noticed the cat had scratched out the bottom of the futon and had been hiding in there the entire time.

One night, a room attendant called me while she was servicing a room because she thought there was a mouse in the bathroom. I went in to scope it out, and there was a tiny puppy — maybe 4 weeks old — hiding underneath the toilet.

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We have had guests bring big breeds like Great Danes and ask for an extra bed. We don’t have pet beds that big.

To get pee out of carpets, first we use an extractor machine to deep clean, then we disinfect, then we extract again until it’s gone. You can buy a small extractor machine on Amazon. The one we use is a Puzzi. Otherwise, let the pee dry before you clean it, because you don’t want to put liquid right on top of liquid. For stains, we use a special urine spot cleaner from Matrix.

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