• http://www.fillechaude.net Emily

    I can’t even begin to imagine the hysterics I would go into if my dog got lost. I am so relieved you got Chuck back. A Chuckless world is not a world worth living in.

  • RzDrms

    i actually wondered why she had jon wearing a dress in the above picture (because you know that’s not dooce). i guess jon must be a cross-dresser or something.

  • http://dooce.com Jennifer in Ohio

    I had no idea Chuck was so petite. He only weighs 3 pounds more than my daughter! I’m so glad your story has a happy ending. I’d feel the same way if one of our cats got out: horrified, panicked, and sort of numb.

  • Postmodern Sass

    Thank god. I thought I wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight. I couldn’t stand it if anything happened to Chuck. Seriously. I just love that goofy dog, man.

  • Kath :-)

    I cried thru your whole post.

    Thrilled beyond words that your family is complete once more.

  • http://johnsthing.blgospot.com John

    Can I ask why you had Jon decapitated in the above pictured car crash?

  • http://eyeflashes.com/blog Heather

    Next time, please put the happy ending first so that I can read the rest of the entry without a huge lump in my throat.

    Welcome home, Chuck!

  • http://imperfectsymmetry.wordpress.com/ LadyBug

    Oh, Heather, I’m SO glad you guys found him.

    P.S. This was a beautiful post. Seriously.

  • http://fiddley.com Pete Dunn

    Good to have you back, Chuckles.

    Heather, you should know that all it would take is a simple post and all of us in the greater Morgidor would have mobilized the Home Teachers (or some shit) and been out there looking for the Chuckster. We’d have gone all Elizabeth Smart on his ass.

  • http://www.snarkypants.com LisaWech10

    Oh my goodness! Like just about everyone here, I had to scroll to the bottom to see if Chuck made it. My mom passed away last week and I took it reasonably well (all considered) but when my doggie got out and I thought something had happened, I almost had a meltdown. So, I understand totally about chuckles.

    YEY for finding him!! I am so glad. Dooce wouldn’t be the same without him.

  • http://megs81.blogspot.com Megan

    Just remember, “To err is human; to forgive, canine…” Dogs don’t hold grudges, and that is just one of the reasons why they’re so wonderful. I’m glad the Former Congressman made it home safe and sound. Give him some love for me!

  • http://deannietime.blogspot.com deannie

    I am so glad you took that breath. And that Chuck didn’t get that tattoo. It would Soooo have messed up the calendar for me next year.

    Glad you are both safe and sound.

  • Katie

    THANK YOU for not posting this until you had found him…cause otherwise I would have been sitting in MD in my own spiral, wondering where Chuck might be and why there was nothing I could do a gazillion miles away. And it IS all about me.

    I’m so happy you found him!

  • ecileh

    Okay. I’ll admit it. I am ridiculously attached to Chuck. So much so, in fact, that I was more worried about him as I read this than I was over the prospect that my (indoor) cat might have gone missing twenty minutes before we left for five days of Thanksgiving Hell.

    I’m very relieved that he is home safe and sound. Give him a scritch for me. And I’ll hug my dogs for you all, too.

  • http://modadimagno.blogspot.com/ FashMags

    I’m so happy he’s home!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!! Badcat & T-Bone send their love!

  • heathabee

    Heather, I am so happy that Chuck is home safe and sound, and thank you for sharing the story with us! I had to stop and scroll down to the bottom to make sure that it all turned out ok; I couldn’t take the suspense! But what a happy ending! It’s so hard to just “Let it go” and “give it up” and I’m glad that you were able to do so and that you saw the benefits of it.

    Oprah tells a story along the same lines, about wanting that role in the Colour Purple so badly, and begging for it, and obsessing about it and making phone calls, and praying about it… it took over her life. While she was running around a track at some ‘fat camp’, she was thinking about how she couldn’t MAKE the director give her the part, and so she let it go, and gave it up to God and almost instantly, someone (from wherever she was) came down to the track and told her that she had a phone call. And it was Stephen Spielberg telling her to check out of the fat camp, because the character she was going to be playing needed to be that over-weight ‘Mami’ figure. She got the part.

    Anyway, after that long story/schpeel, I just wanted to validate that what you did and tell you, GOOD FOR YOU. Giving it up, letting it go is a great and powerful thing to do, and I hope you find that you are able to do it more in order to escape your anxiety. I hope you find much comfort in your new anxiety-free life! :) best of luck to you!

  • http://theadventuresofsuperwife.com SuperWife

    i’m glad chuck is okay. losing your dog twice in one year doesn’t at all sound crazy to someone who also has a dog with an actual mind of their own… i think my dog plans her escape attempts, and then mocks me when i see her dashing through the parking lot out my own window.

    anyway, i have that same reoccurring nightmare about spitting out my teeth. i always thought it was god punishing me for being vain.

  • melinda

    whoa! I just had that happen 2 weeks ago when my dog broke his tie-out. The one other time he did that, he showed up about the time I noticed he was gone. I only had about 45 minutes of anxiety before he showed up, compared to your hours, but it was ETERNITY! So glad Chuck made it home ok and sans tattoos :-P

  • Allison

    I must agree with the many commentors who believe this is one of your best posts ever.

    Once again, your honesty in your post is unbelieveable. I have to say as a sometimes writer, I look up to you majorly and this post has just reiterated that.

    Thank you for sharing your life with us and not sugar-coating it. I know someday when I’m a mother and a wife and I’m super-worried or can’t stop crying or incredibly depressed, I’ll look back and think of you and maybe I won’t freak out about my behavior being abnormal (at least not as much). Thanks for changing what the face of a modern-day mother looks like. I appreciate your ability to stand up and say, “This is me, and I’m not perfect.”

  • liznboys

    This was not good timing for me…we had to put our dog of 14 years down on Wednesday…over the years she has escaped and I remember well the panic that would ensue (she was actually, quite the Houdini, always able to escape when a rabbit or squirrel teased her once too often). I cried when I read this post b/c it reminds me of my furry baby….the house is oddly quiet w/o a dog.
    I am so glad Chuck had a safe night out on the town and was returned promptly. (our next dog is going to microchipped). Give him an extra cuddle for me.

  • JessicaP

    welcome home Chuck.

  • http://eyesaverted.blogspot.com/ Wicked H

    I am so happy all of you are reunited.

    If you will excuse me, I have to g and wash my face, damn tears!

  • Megan Garnhum

    According to Dreammoods.com dreaming that your teeth are falling out are the most common dreams.

    One theory is that dreams about your teeth reflect your anxiety about your appearance and how others perceive you.

    Another rationalization for these falling teeth dream may be rooted in your fear of being embarrassed or making a fool of yourself in some specific situation. These dreams are an over-exaggeration of your worries and anxiety.

    Teeth are used to bite, tear, chew and gnaw. In this regard, teeth represent power. And the loss of teeth in your dream may be from a sense of powerlessness.

    Traditionally, it was thought that dreaming that you did not have teeth, represent malnutrition which may be applicable to some dreamers.

    Other Perspectives

    A scriptural interpretation for bad or falling teeth indicate that you are putting your faith, trust, and beliefs in what man thinks rather than in the word of God. The bible says that God speaks once, yea twice in a dream or a vision in order to hide pride from us, to keep us back from the pit, to open our ears (spiritually) and to instruct and correct us.

    In the Greek culture, when you dream about loose, rotten, or missing teeth, it indicates that a family member or close friend is very sick or even near death.

    According to the Chinese, there is a saying that your teeth will fall out if your are telling lies.

    It has also been said that if you dream of your teeth falling out, then it symbolizes money. This is based on the old tooth fairy story. If you lose a tooth and leave it under the pillow, a tooth fairy would bring you money.


  • swmcd

    So the chip failed (probably). Go back to the vet and get it replaced. Now you have to test it. Get a wand; hear it go beep. But that’s not enough: you have to test it regularly, say, once a month. And people can’t remember to do things like that.

    So…you get a wand and mount it on the front door frame. Now it goes beep every time Chuck goes through the door. But beeps are boring. Wire an MP3 player into the wand, and now it can play a ringtone. For example
    - the Halleluah Chorus, in celebration that you still have a dog
    - the dum-dum-dum-dum from Jaws, to remind you of the peril that lurks without.
    - a tape loop of Chuck barking, although that might get confusing

  • Daydreamerme

    As someone who struggles with anxiety too, I can’t imagine how you got through it. Well done for letting go and relaxing into it, I’ve tried that – tried being rational and not letting my mind turn every little thing into a gargantuant crisis that leaves me gasping for breath, but I just cant do it. Well done!! Congrats on getting Chuck back – would you believe I exhaled a great big breath of sweet relief when you found him? I dont know you or you’re dog, but dammit, I care. Hope you dangled some spaghetti on his head, just so he feels at home.

  • Meggleberry

    Oh Heather, how glad I am that the Congressman has turned up safe and sound. With a husband that has serious allergy issues, Chuck is the closest I will come to having a dog of my own. And what a dog! There are days after seeing or reading about the exploits of Chuck the Wonder Dog that have me seriously contemplating trading in the husband for just such a dog.

    Please understand that I do not for one single second recommend that your loyal readers try what worked for me but I present it here purely for the amusement of all. My childhood and teen years were dominated and/or destroyed by various evil manifestations of The Spiral and only cured when I gave myself electric shock therapy via accidental electrocution administered by a Sunbeam Mixmaster during the making of a chocolate cake. Please kiddies, just to reiterate – don’t try this for yourself at home, but getting that close to DEATH, the scariest thing I could imagine and the logical outcome of every spiral journey I had taken, only to find that I was not scared for a single second of the whole near death experience cleared my mind of the obsessing and made me thankful for every single day that I am not dead.

    And also left me determined that I would never again put myself in the position where I might be killed by a domestic household appliance.

    Big smooch for Chuck.

  • http://wackymommy.org/ Wacky Mommy

    Chuck, what the hell, Chuck? What would we have done without you? Signed, Your Fan Club

  • aly

    oh thank god you found him! yay! no one deserves a lost dog– i dont care how many 2nd grade math tests you bombed– although, i bet chuck had the time of his life. maybe you should train him to respond to pop tarts though? or maybe licorce?

  • http://surlyascats.blogspot.com SurlyRide

    Aiyee. Glad the dawg’s OK.

    So glad my cat is too fat and unmovtivated to go outside. He occasionally sniffs the outdoors but then realizes the moment he does, the ground will turn to lava.

  • http://tatter-de-mallion.blogspot.com/ feather

    Do you read your comments? I don’t know, but for the first time in months of reading your website, I feel compelled to leave one anyway.

    First: I know how you feel, regarding both The Spiral and the lost dog. I did something similar just last week, except it wasn’t my dog that I lost out of my own stupidity: it was a friend’s three dogs. For about half of one awful night I wanted to die. I was so worried and horrified that it hurt physically. We found the dogs that evening, thankfully, but I am still haunted by guilt. I can just imagine how devastated I would be if it had been my dog, and I was almost in tears of worry and empathy as I read this entry.

    Needless to say, I am very glad that Chuck is alright.

    Second: Good luck dealing with The Spiral. From my brief encounters with the very awesome cognitive behavioural therapy, I know it’s incredibly hard to change thought patterns, especially ones that have become integral parts of your life. Focusing on changing faulty thought patterns does wonders for depression, though. Or so I’m told.

    Last: I kind of want Maggie to be my new life coach.

  • Molly

    Girl, I did the SAME THING a couple weeks ago (not a week after my little girl had gotten out at my mother’s house–one section of the yard is unfenced–and we spent a borderline hysterical hour looking for her before she showed back up at the door). Yeah, so, you know, a week later, I did the same thing, left my dog outside while absentmindedly taking her to pee. Now, she WAS wearing her collar, so my neighbors called me in 15-20 minutes. . .however, *I* did not even know she was missing. I just absentmindedly walked in the house and forgot about her. I thought she was in the house with me until my neighbors called and said, “we have your dog.” In fact, I spent some amount of time trying to convince myself how my little Houdini must have gotten out of the house until I realized there was no explanation other than that she just hadn’t come back in with me (the front door was closed completely, when I went to retrieve her, and as far as I know, she can’t yet turn door knobs. . .or reach them, even on her little beagle hind legs).

    I feel your horror. I am so glad you found him!! That collar has saved my little Sadie’s hide more than once–we hardly ever let her go “naked.” Only for sleeping and baths!

  • Beret

    So glad Chuck is home!

    I have that same dream about losing my teeth *all the time*. It starts with one tooth becoming a little lose, then it falls out. Pretty soon I’m spitting most of my teeth out. Then when I wake up I can still feel it in my gums. Terrifying.

  • vonnie

    i’m not going to read the 200+ comments to see if this has been written, apologies, not enough coffee in the world this morning. have you thought about invisible fencing? i have 6 dogs and IF has been incredible. took a few weeks of training, but now they can run around the yard and i don’t have to worry about escapes. i don’t let the dogs stay out for long periods unattended, just because, but it’s great for opening the door, letting them potty and not worrying.

  • DeirdreGH

    I’ve lurked here for over a year, but have never commented before – until now. The MIA Chuck story put me over the top in the old anxiety spazout department. I’m so glad to hear he’s back. And I’m so glad to know I’m not the only freak of nature that has the recurring tooth dream. Welcome home, Chuck!

  • ScotsGirl

    Like so many of you, I had to scoot to the end to check for a happy ending. Can’t believe how concerned I was for a dog I’ve never met that belongs to a family I’ve never met!! Oh My God!

    Phew – glad it all worked out.

    As for the worrying; I don’t think I slept at all for the two months of my school final exams so can totally relate to you there :-)

  • rhp

    holy toledo.

    i am not going to read all the other comments because i am sure they all say the same thing – i am so very glad you found chuck. i do not even know chuck, and i have a mighty amount of love for him. you get to live with the fantastic noodlehead every day, and so i can only imagine how very much love you must have for him.

    i create my own series of worst case scenario drawings almost as often as i breathe; if either of my cats were to go wandering, i have no idea how i would not completely fall apart. heck, i panic on a daily basis when one of them decides to sleep in a mysterious nook that i have yet to discover and i cannot find them for five minutes. and when my human companion does not come home right away, holy bejeezus, i create the most ridiculous scenarios in my head. he has fallen down! in a ditch! although there are no ditches anywhere near our house! perhaps he has eaten too many hamburgers and is perishing somewhere of a pained gut! a somehow-deadly pained gut! exclamation point! what if it is snowing and his coat was white and a snowplough mistook him for a snowbank and he is buried under ten feet of snow and… etc.

    anyway. enough of that.
    i am just glad your pup is home. he is a champion.

    and i am not glad that you have such a spiral of worries, but i do understand, and i am highly impressed that you were able to illustrate them in such a hilarious fashion. the hats on the republicans were a nice touch. even as a canadian, i done got it.

  • http://earthmamagoddess.com Deb

    Do you really read all of these? I know I know…

    wow…I am not surprised that once you let go he was found, I also live my life this way and maggie is wise and wacky and you GOT it, girl…..now remember to breathe and practice.

    Welcome Home Chuck

  • http://www.Yasminsplace.com Yasmin

    I am glad you got Chuck back…
    Atleast your neighbors are nice. Ours threatened to call the Humane Society becuase our dog got out twice in a month! I tried to tell the lawn people to close the gate but they just forget!

  • http://flubberwinkle.blogspot.com/ Flubberwinkle

    Strangely, I had a gut feeling when I started reading this post (and NO, I didn’t jump to the end) that Chuck would turn up alright. The MAIN moral of the story is that you, Heather, need to unclench and turn off “THE SPIRAL” mode. Life is full of shit and you never know what’s going to happen next, worrying about MIGHT happen does not help. Coincidence or not, once you stopped the negative what-if scenarios in your mind, good news came.

    Stay positive and give that adventurous pup of yours a big kiss from me.

  • http://birchsprite.blogspot.com/ Birchsprite

    Good grief my heart stopped. So glad you got him back!

  • The Bold Soul

    Oh my God, I’m SO relieved for you and happy this story came out well and Chuck is back safe and sound.

    Your friend Maggie sounds like a wise woman and I’m happy for you that you were able to make a very important shift in your thinking. She’s totally right: what you focus on, you create or attract into your life. It’s the Law of Attraction and it works for everyone all of the time. If you focus on good things, that’s what you get. If you focus on worry and negativity, you get that, too. To really challenge yourself to learn more about this, check out http://www.thesecret.tv and watch the 90-minute PPV documentary about the law of Attraction – it’s very well done and a wide variety of successful people from all walks of life and all types of professions participated in it. It’s less than $5 and no, I’m not affiliated with it nor do I benefit from anyone watching the film. It has totally turned my own thinking around about a lot of things. I’m not quite the level of chronic worrier you are but I’ve had my own negativity spirals in life, mainly to do with my finances and my love life. This film helped me shift my thinking quite dramatically and is worth the time and the tiny bit of money to watch.

  • http://www.billygean.co.uk Billygean.co.uk

    are you kidding me?

    Just kidding.

    Glad you found him. I love his ears.

  • SerafinSigh

    I have the same worry/panic issue. Everything I look at is a potential danger, and it makes me so sad to see the less fortunate, (mostly less fortunate animals), that I act strangely because of it. I understand!

    So glad Chuck is home and so glad you shared that! I don’t think anyone would blame you for forgetting. I have a dog that jumps 8 foot fences and must be supervised in the yard at all times. But… I forget. I do. I worry, yet… You obviously had other, much less mundane issues on your mind.

    Extra treats for Chuck, I’m sure!

  • http://imaveg.blogspot.com/ plue

    My dog Scout got away when my Chinese grandmother decided to take her out for a walk, unleashed and uncollared. So of course, Scout ran off and my grandmother didn’t realize the magnitude of the situation until I came home and became hysterical.

    She acted like, what’s the big deal? It’s just a dog. And I screamed, “I LOVE that dog!” Over and over again. And I could tell that she just didn’t understand the magnitude of my loss, because where she comes from, dogs stayed outside and always came home when it was time to eat. Also, who loves a dog THAT much?

    Luckily, the police picked Scout up, and I picked her up at the station, where she was penned in an outside kennel. It looked like a little dog jail. She looked pathetic, because it was raining and she was trying not to step on the pieces of broken glass that were strewn all over the inside of the kennel. Scout never ran off again, she always stays right by the door, even when it’s open.

    On the other hand, Rocky, our other dog, has run away twice. Even though we had Pet Fencers come in and install special fencing, he found the one hole – and the other time, the gardners left a gate open. Each time, Rocky finds a loving home with plenty to eat, lovely children and other dogs to play with. He just can’t comprehend that BAD things can happen – so he’s always trying to rush out that door.

    Each time I lost a dog, I felt sick. I ran through the scenarios in my mind – like “Every Valentine’s Day in the future will remind me of the day I lost Rocky.” or “Every rainy day from now on until eternity will remind me that I lost Scout.”

    I just hope it never happens again.

  • pete_n_maddies_mom

    First of all: Whew. Been there; spiral’ed that.

    Second of all, re: the microchip:

    Did by any chance you invest in a PetSmart/Banfield Vet microchip? Because 1-2 years ago, they were implanting the (international standard) 133 MHz microchip, while the US standard is a 125 MHz.

    (I may have gotten those actual MHz messed up, but you get the point..)

    Avid, Home Again, 24 Hour Pet Watch; all are different brands that use the same frequency. Each of these chips can be read by any of the other scanning wands. And 99.9% of all shelters use the wands associated with this common frequency.

    But PetSmart — the scum sucking greed monsters — wanted to create their own dynasty and began offering a microchip in all their stores, which was a chip with a different frequency. And they owned.

    Sure, it is the frequency common in other countries, but not here in the US, and most shelters aren’t equipped to scan for a second frequency.

    The awful thing is they didn’t tell consumers that there was a very probability that their local shelters were not equipped to scan with for a second frequency (and unlike other brands, they expected cash-strapped shelters to BUY a new wand instead of giving them out, like the others did).

    Anyhow, there was a lawsuit, and PetSmart had to cease implanting them. They do so again today, but get away with it by also implanting a 125 MHz chip so it gets picked up.

    So: if you have a PetSmart chip, raise hell and go back to the store and get them to put in a proper chip.

    The End.

  • http://www.roguephotography.blogspot.com roguephotog

    Oh my gosh, I had to skip to the end before I could read any further. Then I resumed reading your story with a beating heart.

    I lost my cat for a night once due to my own fault and the next morning I was awash with guilt and relief when she came in with muddy paws after I whistled yet again for her.

    Welcome home puppy, your family is complete yet again.

  • PixieMegh

    And cue the huge sigh of relief. I’m so glad you found him!

  • http://hasg.blogspot.com Heather G.

    I don’t mean to be a downer here; hopefully this will be a reminder instead. I lost my dog twice during my son’s first 2 years. The second time I wasn’t so lucky to get him back. It was a huge wake up call that I was worrying about taking care of everything. Worrying and anticipating. Live in the moment. One thing at a time.

  • TxSuzyQ

    I could not handle the stress once I read that Chuck was missing and skipped right to the end! I apologize, I almost never do that, but missing child or pet, horrible illness announcement = me immediately skipping to the outcome to avoid death! I am sooooo thrilled for you that Chuck is home and safe again. My 18 year old cat, slipped out of the house last year and went missing for 2 weeks. I know the fear you speak of quite well. *Hugs*

    I am oddly happy to hear that I am not the only one who dreams about her teeth falling out. Crumbling actually, then I spit them in my hand as I am speaking to someone in my dream. It’s one of several recurring dreams I have. Freaky!

  • http://www.ninjapoodles.com Belinda

    I didn’t read through the previous 200 or so comments to see if this was already mentioned, but if he was microchipped, the chip is still in there somewhere. They can, and do, “migrate” if they’re not correctly implanted–and it gets done incorrectly more often than you’d think.

    Personally, we have had bad luck with Avid brand microchips, and now will only use the Home Again chips. We have had TWO Avid chips migrate in dogs we bred that belong to other people. One of the chips that “migrated” made it all the way down to the dog’s last rib, far down on the right side. Some shelter workers and vets know to run that scanner all over a dog, and some don’t. And some scanners are more sensitive than others.

    There is a definite skill involved in microchipping dogs. After seeing vet techs (no offense to vet techs–we know and love many) shoot the chip completely through two folds of skin so that it fell onto the floor instead of going into the dog, and knowing that our two chips that moved were administered by techs, we now insist that our veterinarian inject the chips herself in all our puppies.

    If you haven’t already, make sure that Chuck’s collar has his microchip I.D. tag on it, and it’s a good idea to register with AKC’s “Home Again” locator service, mainly because the 800 number on the tag (which also has the I.D. number from the chip) is manned 24/7. That way someone finding your dog at night or on a weekend wouldn’t have to wait until the next business day to contact a shelter.

    This is something that concerns us, too, and because our dogs are a “hair” breed, and since we show them, they can’t routinely wear collars while they’re growing show-coat. Once they are champions, they get a haircut and a collar, but until then, we watch them very, VERY carefully.

    Don’t beat yourself up about it. With living animals, STUFF HAPPENS. They’re not robots, and as such, are inherently unpredictable. I am immensely relieved…I was reading that post and said to my husband, “Oh, my God, Chuck’s gone,” and then, “I hope this ends with him turning up.” I’m so glad it did.