An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Even more important than a pop tart

A few days ago our occasional babysitter brought over her sister’s miniature pinscher, Bronx, and without thinking I let them into the living room before running it by our resident Gremlin of the Underworld. When Chuck saw Bronx he performed the ritual sniffing of the sacred regions and then determined that Bronx was a chocolate treat clad in argyle wrapping.

Three times I had to prevent Chuck from eating Bronx before I realized that by letting Bronx into the house I had triggered Chuck’s instinctual need to protect his territory. So I ordered everyone outside where the two dogs could meet on neutral ground, and once we were up the street on an indiscriminate stretch of sidewalk Chuck got Bronx halfway into his mouth before the argyle sweater got caught on his front teeth.

Chuck hasn’t ever been a vocal dog, reserving his few barks for the taxidermist who lives next door and sometimes for a snowman across the street who he thinks is a strange man spying on the house. A few weeks ago the taxidermist’s wife rolled out a stuffed ox? or a mountain goat? maybe a yak? into their front yard and parked it like a statue next to their porch. Thing liked to have scared the shit out of me, it looked so alive and capable of forming complex sentence structures. The evil part of me took over when I walked Chuck right up to it and just as his hackles went up I roared like a lion being violated by a taxidermist’s arm. Our dog jumped three feet into the air without a running start, and now he won’t pass that house without being carried.

I understand why he’s angry at the resurrected livestock, but I couldn’t figure out why after almost an hour of interaction he wanted to tear Bronx’s limbs from his tiny chocolate body. At first I thought it might be the two gigantic balls hanging intact between Bronx’s legs, or the way Bronx would rub those intact balls in a rhythmic motion against Chuck’s face. And then I thought it was the way Bronx flitted about the living room in a distinctly cat-like fashion, often gliding across the two-inch beam on the back of the couch like a gymnast or a flamboyantly gay ice skater.

It wasn’t until Leta came running into the living room that it all made sense, and it was then that we witnessed the embodiment of what we had hoped the relationship between the dog and the baby would one day become. Chuck immediately threw his body in front of Leta, and the more she tried to work her way around him, the more forcefully he used his body to shield her from the Chocolate Cat.

Bronx tried to contort his body in unimaginable ways to get at Leta — kids are always covered in dried food and must seem like giant walking lollipops to dogs — but Chuck growled and bared his teeth as a warning that he would sacrifice his own body before he would let his sister be defiled. We’ve never seen him be so protective of something, not even a rawhide bone or a slice of beef jerky. Leta should feel lucky because I can’t think of a better compliment from a living creature.

  • OK, comments on. Twice in one week. It is sort of making my heart race. Giddy like you get when you receive the first pay check and it dawns on you that “it’s mine, all mine!” (even if it was for like, $49 or something).

    I don’t even have anything to say. It’s just one of your rockin’ tales from the burbs. But here I am typing. Smiling like a loon. Ludicrous really.

  • If I were Chuck I would try to eat Bronx too…but mostly because of his ears. Can he fly with those?

  • I laughed until I cried–and that’s a good thing. Too rare, lately, so thanks for the lift. I think my cat would recognize that evil side, as I have one of my own. Never had such good material as a stuffed yak with which to work, though.

  • ferlr

    How cute! Chuck looks very similar to my Stella, however, she is such a pansy and won’t protect her own treats, much less the kids. Oh well.

    But here is a funny/mean trick that will allow you to watch Chuck jump sky high…compressed air. Take the can of compressed air that you clean your keyboard gunk out with and when Chuck is good and asleep spray near (not too close, thats just plain hateful!) his bottom system. LORD that is the funniest thing. Stella is now afraid of all cylander shaped objects

  • With Easter right around the corner, a chocolate cat in argyle would make a nice addition to Chuck’s basket.

  • Pepius

    I’m not a dog person, but from this moment I declare myself a fan of Chuck!!
    Besides I’m glad you’re feeling well enough to leave comments open. I hope the Internet gives you at least a little part of the love you give us.

  • When my parents were engaged, my dad’s mother had a little rodent, er, miniature pinscher. He was Satan in a five-pound package and the only way you could pick him up was if he was dangling from your arm by his teeth. Any attempt to clothe him (in argyle or otherwise) would have resulted in a blood transfusion.

    From the time I was ten until I was twenty-six, I had a sibling in the form of a Soft-Coated Wheaten terrier. In sixteen and a half years he never growled at anyone until the day my cousins and I built a snowman in the yard. We have pictures of him trying to destroy it. That was his moment of glory and we let him think he was saving us from monsters, as he normally would jump the meter reader and the UPS man and start licking their faces. When he died, the whole in our lives seemed as big as the Sahara.

    Glad to see that Chuck was safe after his little escapade while you were away. Give him a pat from a woman who still misses her furry brother very much.

    All the best.

  • “Kids are always covered in dried food and must seem like giant walking lollipops to dogs”


  • You guys have a great dog! Although I do think that he looks like a sock puppet in some of his pictures.

    I had to tell you about the SECOND best dog in the world Coco(see, I am hoping that you will read my comment by sucking up to your dog). She was a chow-husky mix and just beautiful. We got her just before my 9th birthday. She slept in my bed almost every night until I went to college. Coco did not liked to be held, but the day I left for college she stood still and let me hug her for 10 minutes. It was like she knew. My sophomore year, my mother called. Half-way through the normal conversation, she blurts out, “Your dad has something to tell you.”

    My step-father got on the phone and told me that Coco had passed away. It took him 5 minutes to convince me that he was not kidding. I was devistated. I still miss Coco to this day.

    I am married to a wonderful man now, but he doesn’t want a dog. This is a small problem, but one I am afraid could become a big one.

    I hope that Leta knows how special “Elmo dog” is. Every little girl deserves such a friend.

  • I ’bout wet my pants that comments were still on!
    Woohoo for Argyle! But triple woo-hoo for Chuck and his Homeland Security Systems. You never know when terror will stroll through in the guise of a wily min-pin……

  • Trish D

    My daughter, Roxy, chews on teething biscuits made with maple so she smells like a little maple lollipop all day long. That’s great that Chuck protects Leta. Every girl needs a big brother like that!

  • I forgot a funny story (ok well..funny now) about a dog my grandma used to have. The dog and my sister were very close and used to play very roughly with each other, in other words, that dog would let my sister do anything to her.

    One day when my sister was about 4(?), she did something and my grandma put her over her knee to spank her. My sister was crying and screaming, and you know what that dog did? Bit my grandma. After that, whenever my sister was in trouble, the dog got put into another room. They stayed close until the dog died when my sister was 17.

  • Annie

    Yeah… that taxidermy story sounds really funny until you’re walking past a stuffed moose and your husband makes a noise that sounds like an elephant pooping out a Buick. You, in turn, scream like a small child and shriek out, “OHMYGOD IT’S NOT DEAD.”

    Then it’s just funny to other people, and you bury it deep in your subconsious while pretending it never happened. Until you post it on the world’s most famous blog, that is.

  • Pets, you got to love them. I took my cockapoo in yesterday to be groomed and he ended up coming out looking like he weighed 3 lbs instead of the normal 10.5! Poor guy almost needed a sweater but I refuse to put one of those on my dog. I was already mean and took away his giant sized balls he had for such a small dog. lol

  • First off: AWW. I’m glad that even though he doesn’t show it often, that he loves Leta as he should. 🙂

    Secondly? Laughed my ASS off. OMG. Particularly the part where you freaked him out at the taxidermist’s house. SO sounds like something I’d do to my dog.

  • i love chuck.

    and now i want a chocolate cat wrapped in argyle…

  • The protective way our dogs are about us and the baby, is really the only thing that is keeping them here.

    Everytime they chew up the garbage or get on my furniture and I think they have no soul, they get all protective and lovey.

    They must know when they are pushing the luck.

  • You don’t think Chuck’s dissention had anything at all to do with the argyle sweater that Bronx was wearing, do you? I think he wants that sweater! Perhaps he was actually protecting Bronx, for fear that Leta might steal the sweater and run away with it.

  • jamie

    thatedeguy – I hope you are reading comments after making your comment about putting your dog to sleep because you have a baby on the way. Speaking from experience, just because your dog has showed aggressive behavior towards children in the past does not mean he/she will do it with your own child.

    Instead of putting your dog down, please consider turing her over to the local animal shelter than can place her in a loving home. I am a volunteer at our local SPCA and see dogs adopted into new loving homes all the time.

  • I love dogs. Even little chocolate rat dogs wrapped in argyle. Chuck’s the greatest, and Leta’s lucky to have such a good friend to grow up with.

  • amandagibson

    How sweet! Chuck was trying to protect Leta from the argyle monster! We have a mini schnauzer and he tries to protect me from everything. It’s very entertaining – he freaks out when my husband gives me a hug or anything (mostly we just ignore him). The best part about it is that I can walk up to my husband and smack him upside the head and the dog still freaks out on him. Love it. It’s like double the torture for my poor husband. Don’t worry – there’s no spousal abuse in my house – sometimes I just have to check to make sure all that stuff in Jeff’s head is still in there rattling around!

  • Raughy

    “MMMMMM…..Chocolate Cat in a Dog Suit…..yummmmmmm.”–Chuck

  • Shannon Kopp

    Small tootsie roll dogs + Argyle = Wrong.
    Hold aside a toothpick for Chuck next time and stand back. Kidding. Maybe, they can learn to love eachother.

    Heather, thanks for making me laugh every day. I finally made the foray into the blog world because of you. Forgive me.

  • Bretley

    Awesome. Stories involving Chuck and Leta interacting are my favorite. “Night Night Elmo-Puppy!” Second are stories including the words “intact balls”.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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