• http://theatricalmilestones.blogspot.com verbalicon

    Heather, I’m so glad that Chuck is back! What surprises me is that Animal Control couldn’t find the microchip–are there different readers, perhaps, for different brands of microchips?

    Sit back and breathe some more, Heather. And then, make the puppy breathe on you. You both deserve that.

  • http://tednlisam.blogspot.com Tednlisa

    Wow, you are very blessed to have Chuck back. Believe it or not as a kid my family lost a dog and she was living in the house behind my Grandmother’s for a YEAR before my grandmother saw her out in the yard one day. We got our dog back after a year. How weird is that? Later on about 15 years later another dog ran away from my grandmother’s house and was gone for 8 months until one day he followed my Aunt home on her bike. TRUE storys.

    Anyways we all love Chuck at our house. I’m glad he is home. The same night Chuck went missing we had to put our cat of 15 years to sleep. We are all really sad at our house. His brother since birth is meowing all over the place looking for him.

  • KaraBuggy

    You know when you read something so intense you just have to skip to the end and find out what happens so you can breathe again?

    I had to do that to make sure Chuck was ok.

    I’m glad he’s safe and sound :)

  • Lana Wood


    I checked out your website a couple months ago when I saw it mentioned in an article. I have been reading the archives and absolutely love the way you tell stories.

    The letters you write to Leta are beautiful, what a precious gift to give your child.

    I actually went ahead and figured out how to comment on your site after I read your story about Chuck getting lost for the SECOND freaking time this year. Thank God you found him. Being a neurotic pet owner myself, I got up and walked away twice when I was reading because I was afraid he got hurt or died.

    Please take Maggie’s advice and stop feeling guilty about using all your skills and abilities and talents to make the best life you can for yourself and your family. Like they tell us every time we get on a plane, you gotta give yourself the oxygen first before you can help anybody else.


  • Dave C

    This story makes me a bit ill. I have a dog that just recently figured out a way to crawl under the fence of our new home. Luckily, she only went as far as the apartment building next door, but I’ve never been so terrified in my whole life. Glad Chuck made it home safely.

  • LisaMarie

    Although I very nearly have – many times – this is the first time I have cried while reading one of your posts. I am so relieved for you. Happy Days.

  • p & k’s mommy

    I should have jumped to the end because my stomach was in knots and tears were pricking my eyes. I still feel a bit wrung out. But I am SO glad you found him, and so quickly. Welcome home, Chuck.

  • http://godsylla.blogspot.com Lukku Cairi

    I am so glad you got him back. My empathies – lord, I know how it feels.

    We’ve lost our dog twice and got her back twice (but it took us two years to do it in, so you got us beat). First time, she ran off after some quail up in the Blacksmith Fork canyon near Hyrum (UT), and she was out ALL NIGHT in -1F weather. It was horrible. We looked and looked and called and called and we finally went home, to spend the night sleepless and bereft and staring at the ceiling, imagining how she was out there somewhere curling up against the cold, lost, dying, alone…

    At first light the following morning we suited up to go find our dogsicle, and about 1/4 mile up the trail, there she was, alive and entirely unfrostbitten. She’d finally come back to the spot where she ran away from us, and then spent the next X hours running up and down the fence to keep warm. She lost about 5lbs, and she’s a 60lb dog. Spent the next 36 hours eating and sleeping, and then it was as if it had never happened.

    Second time, idiot neighbor let her out of our yard, sans collar, on 2300 E. in SLC. And you know how busy that damn road is. It took 2 hours, but we got her back in one piece.

  • literatigirl

    I’m so glad you guys found your pup. It is heartbreaking to lose pets.

    Though your theory about why you suffer from anxiety is interesting, Heather, I have to say that I highly doubt it stems from guilt about how good your life is compared to other folks’ suffering. Your anxiety is not your fault nor is it something you will ever likely be able to pin down so satisfactorily (I’m sure you know all of this). Do you really think that when you were seven you were anxious about math tests because your life was just so darn good and there were starving children in Africa and doggonit you just needed to feel badly about something? Anxiety, like depression, is an affliction and not something you do to yourself.

  • Anu

    Phew….that was one amazing story. I’m really happy Chuck came back safe and sound. I must admit though that I did sneak to the bottom of the story to make sure it ended happily ever after.

  • http://digifiend.com m4yh3m

    I don’t think there is anything worse than the feeling of knowing a pet is lost. Our indoor cat escaped from the house once and we were fortunate to find her after several hours of hunting.

    Glad to hear he’s back. Did you ever find any tattoos?

  • Scarlett

    My cat is exclusively an “indoor kitty,” but she refuses to acknowledge that fact, so she often makes a break for it when she sees the opportunity. Having tracked her and pulled her from a drainage ditch, out from under a neighbor’s car (parked, thankfully) and out of a tree on various occasions, I am clear on the terror and sick feeling missing pets bring.

    I also almost lost a boyfriend’s dog once, which is also horrifying. He was out of town, I was watching her, she slipped her harness while she was on her run in the backyard… She, too, was safely found (digging and wallowing in someone’s garden two blocks over). But I aged about eight years in the 45 minutes it took to find her.

    I add my congratulations (and relief) to Chuck’s homecoming. Thanks, as always, for the candor, humor and love you put into your site.

  • http://sparkgrrl658.livejournal.com/profile stephanie

    holy shit.

    i can’t read 300+ comments right now but i just had to say that. and i can tell you, while i was reading this, my eyes bulged and my face fell closer and closer into the screen until it was over and i almost bumped my head. phew. i can’t imagine what relief you must feel.

    we have 2 dogs and 2 cats, and once, just once, the kitten ran out when i came home and opened the door, and i thought he’d be gone forever. and of course, he belongs to my roommates. thankfully, we live in an apt still and he’d have to get down 3 flights of stairs and out another set of locked doors but i swear, he almost did. SCARY. i’d never live down the guilt.

    i’m so glad he’s back where he belongs. silly chuck, don’t run. they love you, i swear.

  • http://scarsnsouvenirs.livejournal.com The LCA

    Everything to say has probably already been said at this point, but regardless, I want to thank you for writing about The Spiral. I’ve had it all my life, and I’m still sort of surprised that not EVERYONE thinks that way. I also struggle with depression, and I’m in therapy for both. My therapist is quite helpful, but I’d never heard everything explained quite how you just did. And your perspective really gave me something to think about and it made sense.

    I also credit you for arming me with knowledge of depression before it really struck me. When it did, I understood (somewhat) what was going on, that it wasn’t my fault, how to be candid about it, and most importantly, how to get help. Thank you.

    And of course, welcome home, Chuck!

  • http://www.pinbottle.com jdaik

    What a great ending! As an animal lover, I can only imagine what you must have been going through..

  • http://web.mac.com/choice/ choice

    If I were not 8 weeks pregnant, I would have needed a strong drink after reading that post. Because you deserve to have a glass raised for you for being able to carve a story that gripping out of events so traumatic and paradigm-shifting that it’s nearly impossible to make sense of so soon afterward, let alone write about. Though I never thought I would weep over something you’ve written the way I wept after Newsletter Thirty-two, I completely feel into the ugly cry by the time I finished reading this post. I wish you could feel for one moment how deeply in love your readers are with you and your family. It is the power that you wield with camera and the written word that has made following your life irresistable to us. Thank you, Heather, for always coming to the page. You have no idea how much we learn about ourselves by following along on this journey with you.

  • http://www.ceescowtown.blogspot.com fraucowtown

    Oooh, thank goodness for nice people! I was getting sad reading, hoping this was not going to have a tearful ending. Give Chuck lots of hugs from all his fans out here.

  • http://www.doihavetocallitablog.blogspot.com Wordnerd

    I feel so guilty…I was halfway (obviously) thru your post and was about to jump to the end and make a snarky comment about this Republican Nascar fan being able to take good care of your adorable Leta, but then I kept reading. And I got so worried! So glad Chuck the Wonder Dog is back home — I know how terrifying that must have been.

    And if it’s all the same to you, I’m not really a Nascar fan.

  • http://www.ramblingsofagreenyogurt.blogspot.com/ Green

    I’m so glad you got Chuck back. I grew up with a dog – we lost her ONCE. We found her the same night we lost her, but reading this blogpost, my heart totally sank until you found him.

  • http://fluttercrafts.typepad.com goddesschristine

    That picture…..oh that picture.

    Glad he’s home and safe, I thought my heart was going to break for you

  • http://www.baggermania.com/babyblog lisa

    I’m feeling luckier after reading your post, because while I am a worrier, I have my own “Maggie” who helps me off the ledge when I need it.

    So glad Chuck is home where he belongs. My stomach turned when I read that at first.

  • Tara

    I, too, am a worrier, so I hear where you’re coming from.

    So glad Chuckles made it home safely–I was having a heart attack as I read (but did not skip to the end to save myself the pain–stupid!).

    And I LOVE Fig. A. Love it.

  • Kari

    “I have a recurring nightmare in which all my teeth fall out, and after I have spit them into my hand I tell myself that it is a dream, and I can wake myself up.”

    Holy shit, I have that exact.same.drea. If you ever figure out what it means, would you send me an email?

  • http://www.snickrsnack.com Snickrsnack Katie

    I am glad to hear that your baby came home. I am also an extreme downward spiral type of worrier. Sometimes, just taking a breath and realizing things aren’t in our hands is what brings about answers. I know now I don’t have all the answers or have control over everything. I can only imagine the hysteria I would feel if my dog were missing – I am sure it would be tough to give up control like that.

    Welcome home Chuckles!

  • http://sangsterrific.blogspot.com sangsterrific

    Wow. Several years ago the same thing happened to me–treasured dog got out with no collar and remained missing for a week during a very rare period of extremely bad weather in SoCal. I was inconsolable thinking of all the terrible, horrible, very bad things that could happen to him, including dying in a ditch somewhere, being captured by evil scientists that were currently performing vivisection on him, or being used as a fighting dog in some dark ghetto alley against some giant pit bull named “Killer.” I posted about 200 flyers, searched every animal shelter in the greater Los Angeles area, and placed ads in 3 newspapers. I cried almost nonstop. We eventually found him after 6 days, 10 miles away, where he was living with a family who, I kid you not, had a severely handicapped child. My dog had become a source of joy for this young boy who could not even sit up on his own. When we went to pick him up, there was my dog curled up on the floor licking him and making him laugh. This is true. I learned a big lesson about worrying that day, too. Even if I’d never found out what happened to my dog, he would have been adopted by a family that needed him even more than I do. Everything would have been better than fine. Weird. I still took my dog back, though, and left the kid with enough reward money to go out and get a new puppy.

  • http://mfflood.spaces.live.com Mary Frances

    There are few givens in life, one being that shit happens…to everyone, even perfect girls. Worrying about when and how it will happen is just a waste of time. Try using a little excremental vision Heather. Shit can be a great fertilizer, if we use it correctly. It can help stuff grow. Chuck wasn’t lost, he was just on an adventure that didn’t include you. And you? You learned a great lesson from a friend and got a great story out of it.

  • jeporter

    A lovely post. It made me sad, then sadder, then as happy as a…well, really happy. Just one question:

    What’s wrong with pajamas with purple chickens?

  • http://fungibleconvictions.com Andrew W

    My girlfriend and I have now agreed we’ll only take our dogs outside if they are chained to our bodies.

  • Wonked

    Sometimes I look into Wonka’s soulful eyes and convince myself that he is one skipped biscuit away from making off with a stripper and developing a coke habit. I guess I have the opposite problem.

    One time I accidentally locked him out and my neighbor said Wonka sat at my front door for four hours waiting for me to let him in.

  • honey bunny

    i don’t really have a comment about losing chuck, except to say that i’m glad he’s home and that he’s ok.

    but i do have a comment about the constant worrying. i do that too. constantly. it started with me when i was in 4th grade and being the ugly poor girl with bad fashion sense, i felt like i had to overcompensate for the fact that i was such a loser. so i worried about my school work, like you. it continued until i graduated college 8 years ago.

    but now it’s back, only i’m worrying about my cat, my apartment, my husband, my health, my hair, my teeth, my empty bank account, and the fact that i can’t find a job. i think i’m not able to find a job because i keep worrying that i will never find one and my husband will divorce me because we can’t live on one salary AND pay for my LUSH habit at the same time. hopefully i can end the spiral as well. then maybe the depression will go away as well.

    thanks for posting about this, heather.

  • Mim

    Oh Goodness… I am so HAPPY you found Chuck. This happened to me a few years back with my boy Keyzer, I remember calling my job bawling and telling them I was not coming to work until I found my dog.
    Give Chuck hugs and kisses and many treats

  • http://www.prozac-mommy.blogspot.com Prozac-Mommy

    One thing I have to say Heather is that I’m right there with you on the worrying and anxiety!!! Reading your interpretations of the “spiral” really gave me visuals to my own ways of dealing with the day-to-day.

    It’s one thing to say DON’T WORRY…but to actually do it is really beyond our control. I don’t believe it’s hereditary, but learned. I really don’t think my parents were like me in that way, but the unstable environment that I grew up in is to blame.

    Medication will only take you so far….what I’ve learned is that I have to change my thought process. I need to step back and look how unrealistic my feelings and/or thoughts are…it’s not going to happen over night, but with enough work the patterns become apparent and the changes WILL happen.


  • JWo

    There’s nothing like the feelings when you’ve realized he’s missing, finally giving in to accept the situation. That’s when we found our pooch after our front door blew open while we were out, having left the collar of the dog. We knew the door was faulty.

    It was a week before we found him. A couple with 3 dogs had found him, but had their own family tragedy the next day that kept them from contacting us. The sounds he made when picked him up?

    Priceless. (He too had a story to tell!)

    It’s amazing what animals bring to our lives. Congrats on finding him!

  • sarahcupcakes

    I am so, so, so glad Chuck made it home okay! I would’ve been devastated if I had to read a story that resulted in him never returning home, so of course I can only imagine how his actual family would feel. I’ve temporarily lost my dog (who happens to look very much like Bo) before and it is the worst, but man, I’ve never been happier to see him than when he was found!

  • http://www.jillshalvis.com/blog Jill Shalvis

    My heart was in my gut reading this, I’m so glad you found him! We lost Ashes for two long painful days last year and it was like losing a limb, lol. I can remember practically mauling the animal protection service guy when it took him forever to open the back of his truck, and then my dog popped out all hey, how ya doing, got any doggie bisquits cuz I’m hungry …

  • http://www.redsugar.com/muse/ Tanya

    Jaysus, woman! Don’t *do* that to us.

    I held my breath so long, I passed out on my keyboard. I’m glad it all turned out well and the former congressman is home safe and sound.

    (We’ll be waiting for a picture of him with the coffee pot.)

  • http://www.faydean.typepad.com amy Jacobs

    Oh good gravy that had me panicking. Simply put, you and I are cut from the same cloth. I’m a worrier’s worrier to the core. Being a mother makes it even worse, as I’m sure you realize. I’ve totally had that night about a dog…and a cat…and an hour last year with my three year old! She hide from me as I screamed her name so loud I lost my voice. I’ve never felt such panic in my life as I ran outside just envisioning her kicking and screaming in the back of some child molester’s car. I begged her to show herself through sobs and finally she just was in front of me…apparently my major shit fit scared her like mad and she wouldn’t come out because she thought I was angry with her. When I saw her I literally collapsed to the ground…knees just buckled.

    Not sure what to tell you about the worrying thing because I am notorious for it myself. I hate it and I cherish it because at least I know I’m not floating through life with rose colored glasses on. Bad things do happen. We shouldn’t dwell of course, but who is say being emotionally or mentally prepared in some part doesn’t really make you happier in life in a way…more aware and careful anyway, or at least this is what I allows tell myself, lol.

    So glad he is home. And find out WHY his chip didn’t go off…you guys paid for that, it should have showed up like a beacon (not that I’m worried he might go missing again or anything…but making sure it’s working might not be a bad idea. See…I’m already worrying he’ll get lost all over).

  • http://julie_gong.blogspot.com Julie_Gong

    Glad Chuck is back home safe and sound!

  • Zookins

    I couldn’t breathe as I was reading that . . . my heart was breaking. V. happy he’s home safe & sound!

  • http://baconpecanpie.blogspot.com andig

    You made me cry and laugh at the same time.
    I’m glad Chuckles is home.

  • Dianna

    Welcome home Congressman!!

  • Mot

    Yay! Ya gotta back! Congrats! Those positive thoughts may or may not be the reason why he came back but doesn’t mean you can’t experiment some more to see if they work other wonders. :)

  • Jewlzy

    Holy Cow! I am so relieved that you guys found Chuck. I can only imagine how awful that entire experience must have been for you. I’m thankful for this post because I do that same spiral thing and Maggie is so right about focusing all that energy on something positive. You’re lucky to have such a friend…and such a family and quite the awesome dog. And you deserve them all, Heather, and you share them with us :) Thanks dude!

  • http://www.paintingchef.com PaintingChef

    Oh Heather, I’m SO GLAD that he found his way home. And without the scrotum tattoo…bonus!!

  • http://authenticthreads.wordpress.com/ Braidwood

    Ahhh Chuck! I am so relieved that this story ended with Chuck and you reunited. whoo.

    About the lead in to the story:

    I used to suffer from major guilt about people who had a hard life. – I don’t knwow why, come to think of it, since I wasn’t all that lucky, but one thing I read really helped me. Hugh Prather (who has said some really dumb things also) said that adding one more unhappy person to the world won’t help make the world a happier place. It helped me at the time.

    Also, I once worked as an interviewer to match up volunteers with volunteer positions. There were thousands and thousands of volunteer positions, and lots and lots of people who wanted to be volunteers and that really lifted my spirits. All these people contributing all these small gifts all over the world. All to say that, the best antidote to luck guilt is to help out other people be lucky too.

  • http://complicated1.wordpress.com j

    I had to read that really, really fast once I got to the part about Chuck missing because I was panicking for you. I understand your worry spiral. I’m glad Chuck is back.

  • jmac

    hallelujah…welcome home chuck!

  • http://www.notjustahatstand.blogspot.com/ Teeny225

    I don’t have a spare three days to read all the comments but I’m sure I’m not the only one who read halfway, got a horrible sinking feeling in their stomach, scrolled to the bottom to make sure Chuck was ok and only then continued reading!

    Hope you’ve all recovered from the horrible fright you just had, and Chuck hasn’t got your neighbours’ dog up the duff (although how cute would the puppies be?!).

  • lindsayc

    getting chuck back = your best part of thanksgiving. glad he’s home, safe and sound.

  • http://www.duchessjane.com duchessjane

    I love the diagram about the NASCAR family! Glad to hear Chuck is home safe.