I have great understanding, experience and knowledge in dealing with hoarding. What I fail to have is the same understanding, experience and knowledge in dealing with squalor syndrome. Very similar issues yet totally different conditions!
I have to admit all compassion, love and understanding went out the window on this job! Because it was an eviction, I did not meet the family responsible for living in the gross filth. And because I saw the anger and disgust from the landlord, I had a different perspective, I was already on his side.
We walk into the house to begin the eviction process and at first I think – oh I’ve seen this type of home before… no problem! But as we start to “dig” out I realized I have not seen this before. I have never seen anything this bad, ever! The years and years of living in filth had caused the debris to smash down and turn into compost. Imagine things such as blankets, clothes, toys, boxes, newspaper, dirty dishes covering every inch of the floor and then mix it up with dirt, rotten food, rodent and cat feces and then step on it, pile more on it, step on it and repeat. Continue this cycle for 20 years!
The smell is maddening and the sight is unbearable. When I see the toys and the little pink blankets, I realize there were children in this place! I can’t wrap by mind around this one! One of my crew finds a driver’s license lying on top of the pile of junk. I have to admit we look at it, look at each other and think this guy is one crazy mother trucker.. how did he let this go on?
We trample through to the back room, and I can push the door open only about one foot. The room is dark but I can see bunk beds, a desk and some boxes of junk. As I scan the room, I look down and I realize I am standing on 2 feet piled high of cat crap! The crap encompasses the ENTIRE room and is packed down. It was the largest litter box ever! I have never seen anything like this. One of my crew jolts out of the room saying “ I can’t take it anymore..I don’t feel good, I HAVE to leave”! I myself am freaking out, trying not to think about what I am looking at.
At some point in the process we all shut our minds off, put our masks on, grab a pitch fork and a shovel and get busy working. No more judging, no more wondering why or how, no more freaking out, we have a job to do and it is simply get this sh1t out of this house as fast as possible!