An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

As evidenced by video!!

It is common practice in our house to let Chuck lick our food plates once we are finished with our meals. He likes to pretend that he doesn’t notice that I’m preparing dinner, will come up next to my legs and slowly press his body into my shins while I’m standing at the stove as if to say, “Excuse me, but did you realize that I’m not even paying attention to the fact that there is a pound of ground beef cooking in its own fat a foot above my head? Look how calmly I am ignoring it.”

We use mealtimes as a way for him to practice his patience as well, because he’s not allowed to lick a single drop of leftover food until he has performed a series of tasks, usually a “sit,” a “roll-over,” and a very long, exaggerated “wait.” A few months ago I posted a video of Chuck trying to roll-over before being rewarded with the pot I use to cook spaghetti sauce, and since that video he has become so anxious about the reward that he will automatically and uncontrollably start rolling over — and over and over — when I reach up into the cabinet and pull out a plate, like a furry, floppy-eared steamroller.

Last week I got a pretty disgusted email concerning this when I mentioned that Jon put his clogs in the dishwasher, and that I thought it was gross:

You let your dog LICK THE LEFTOVERS OFF YOUR PLATES AND POTS AND PANS. EEEEUUUUUWWWWWW!!!!!!! As evidenced by video!! The same dog you openly share who has eaten your child’s shit off the floor. I can only hope and THEN assume that you then also run said dishes through the dishwasher. That is far more disgusting then [sic] Jon washing his clogs in the dishwasher.

My first response to this email is: somewhere a sad document is crying because this person’s email stole all its exclamation points. My second response is: after Chuck has eaten shit you can THEN assume that he’s not allowed to lick our plates because I’m busy using his tongue to floss between my teeth. Give me some credit.

And can I just take a moment to say how thankful I am that most of my readers are supportive and non-moronic? That when I posted about Jon washing his clogs in the dishwasher, most of the email I got was moderate and thoughtful in its use of punctuation, that only a handful of them accused me of being an opportunistic whore for complaining about a stupid little sore on my arm when so many other people are going through much bigger and more meaningful problems. My only response to those emails is: do you really have nothing better to do in your life than write a complete stranger to tell her that her cancer isn’t serious enough? Really? Because my toilet needs to be cleaned, and I volunteer you.

Thank you, majority of my readers, for letting me have my moment of freak-out last week.

Recently Chuck has been licking our plates across the floor, often from one room into another. I once gave him my plate after I had eaten a burrito, and when the melted cheese wouldn’t come off he licked the plate from the dining room through the kitchen, around the corner into the hallway all the way under the door into our bedroom. Jon stubbed his toe on the plate that night as we were getting ready for bed, and when he asked why there was a dinner plate on the floor in our bedroom I said, “YOU try licking hardened melted cheese off a surface without using your hands and see which room you end up in.”

The other night we had a frozen lasagna, and afterward we let Chuck lick the cardboard tray it was cooked in. He was so determined to eat the cooked sauce that was stuck to its sides that he licked the tray underneath the dining room table, through the legs of a chair, underneath the piano bench, and then back through the legs of another chair. The dog is serious about his crumbs.

Flash video
Quicktime movie

  • Teeny225

    OMG that is hilarious! He’s so intent on licking the plate it’s like he doesn’t even notice it’s slowly creeping away from him…! I have a cat (I know, you hate cats but, meh!) and she loooves licking yoghurt pots once I’m done with them. She’s not so funny as Chuck though – she’s got more of a cute, ‘i’ve got yoghurt on my nose and don’t know it’ kind of style. Ignore these fools having a go at you about the cancer – they have no idea.

  • You are entirely entitled to your freak out.

    I try not to feed my Golden Retriever “people food” for fear that he’ll end up weighing as much as me. He already eats everything, including the not edible things, so as far as I’m concerned, he can’t be trusted.

    However, on the rare occasion that he gets roasted chicken drippings with his food he will lick the bowl around the house in laps, and when he gets tired he’ll push it behind the toilet and lay down and lick it with his head under the toilet tank.

    I think he and Chuck would be fast friends. 🙂

  • My dog will put her paw on whatever it is she is licking food off of.

    I’m pro clog but I have to admit some disgust with their ad that features a chef serving up food in a clog…it makes me gag, even if it was a Jimmy Choo I think I would gag.

  • I hear ya on this. I find paper plates under the couch all the time, and I recently found a tupperware container under my bed. I think half the fun for my dog is “chasing” the plate.

  • The majority of people in this world are uneducated jackasses with nothing better to do than spew worthless opinions at undeserving strangers because they’re disappointed with their own lives. And to those people, here’s my ass. Pucker up.

    Does Jon know Crocs make flip-flops? Because that would solve both your problems.

  • M@

    am I to infer that rachelle has no limbs? if so, way to go on typing. When I type with my nose, I’m not nearly as articulate. If only she could put that hen-pecking to better use.

    … and take her own advice.

  • April-Lyn Caouette

    This has nothing to do with this post, but since you didn’t have comments enabled on your first post this morning, you’ll have to excuse me for backtracking a little.

    My fiancé Jon called me from Texas a few weeks ago to relate the following story: he was at dinner with some friends, and his friend’s children, niece and nephew. His nephew, who is ten, highly respects my fiance because they play all the same video games.

    As J was finishing up some sushi, he glanced over at his friend’s nephew, grinned, and said “Hey S., have you ever had wasabi?” This poor child fell right into the trap and said “No, what’s that?”

    “Oh, it’s this green stuff that you put on sushi. Here, try some.” And he gave the kid a big ol’ hunk of wasabi, which S. then placed in his mouth, smacked at for a few moments, and then either a) made some very horrified and panicked faces, b) exclaimed, “Oh my God!” or c) both of the above, as he reached quickly for a glass of water. (I’m not too clear on the specifics because they’ve changed with each telling of the story.)

    J’s friends nearly fell off their chairs, and J was very proud of himself (as was I). I laughed a lot at your post this morning and read it to him as he lounged in bed. He approved.

  • Me

    I had nightmares (yes. for real.) about your cancer. And you. And John who had morphed into a siamese twin with my husband. And we were trying to scrape this crazy scary mole off my arm but it kept moving. And Leta was doing the hula in a grass skirt.

    It scared my hubby when I woke up. I didn’t even go to work that day- I was almost physically ill. I think I need to not eat sugar free pudding and take painkillers before bed.

    I don’t blame you at all about the dog licking thing- ours lick our faces (and their crotches, although not really simultaneously) and we’ve not died yet.

    But shoes? (even my beloved crocs) in the dishwasher? May. It. Never. Be.

    Just too weird.

    To be completely un-PC…have you ever watched an armless woman cook spaghetti with her feet? And then had to eat said spaghetti? It didn’t matter how many times you sanitized her feet with Purell, it just didn’t change it- the risk of toe jam in my ‘sghetti.

    Bad Jon. And bad bad readers that comment mean things.

    And to wander down memory lane…I remember as a kid getting cut outside on some rusty metal (probably needed a tetanus shot, but oh well) and my dad telling me to go let the dog lick the germs out.

    Of course, I don’t think Brit Brit’s a bad parent for letting Sean Preston drink little sips of beer to settle his colic either.

  • see.. you can utilize this “feature” of your pet in more than one way…

    next spread food across the floor to really get that ‘dog-spit’ shine.

  • Sugarsnap

    Wow, some people really get offended easily! I am glad to see that I am not the only one who lets my dog provide some entertainment. They have to earn their keep somehow.

    PS. My dog, who also indulged occasionally in human food, lived a full life of seventeen years. One time he consumed 8 paper plates full of Christmas cookies that were wrapped in cellophane waiting to be delivered to the neighbors. The only thing remaining was a few pieces of the cellophane and the ribbons. Needless to say, he had a stomach made of steel.

  • Joanne Viskup

    I don’t know why I am so surprised that people can be so hateful. Whether it’s about Chuck licking the plates or you “freaking out” about cancer – I am baffled as to why people use their energy to try to make you feel bad. And btw, I didn’t think you were freaking out at all. You wrote about it with a vulnerability that was very touching. To have people judge you that way is awful.

    And still, you continue to put yourself out there, sharing very personal moments of your life. I think that’s pretty amazing. I’m also grateful. Sometimes I worry that these idiots will piss you off to the point where you will stop writing. I’m glad you see that the majority of your readers think you’re great and are on your side.

    I rarely comment, but now I am cured of lurking! I’ll keep sending positive stuff your way and help to drown out the morons.

    One more thing…about the Chuck video. There is something about the little exchange between you and Jon that is very sweet. You can feel the love in your home on all your videos.

    Thanks for giving us these little windows on your life!

  • I love chuck. he makes me happy.

    And now I know how you keep your floor so clean…

  • Cancer is scary, no matter what kind you have. Were people just being flippant in an attempt to be funny? Maybe I’m naive but I can’t believe that anyone would actually feel qualified to judge your reaction to your own cancer!? Crazy…but then again, I don’t read half the emails you receive and I can only imagine the weird stuff you get.

    If you really trained Chuck I bet he would lick your floors shiny.

  • dg

    That post reminded me of this poem:

    Self Improvement
    Tony Hoagland

    Just before she flew off like a swan
    to her wealthy parents’ summer home,
    Bruce’s college girlfriend asked him
    to improve his expertise at oral sex,
    and offered him some technical advice:

    Use nothing but his tonguetip
    to flick the light switch in his room
    on and off a hundred times a day
    until he grew fluent at the nuances
    of force and latitude.

    Imagine him at practice every evening,
    more inspired than he ever was at algebra,
    beads of sweat sprouting on his brow,
    thinking, thirty-seven, thirty-eight,
    seeing, in the tunnel vision of his mind’s eye,
    the quadratic equation of her climax
    yield to the logic
    of his simple math.

    Maybe he unscrewed
    the bulb from his apartment ceiling
    so that passersby would not believe
    a giant firefly was pulsing
    its electric abdomen in 13 B.

    Maybe, as he stood
    two inches from the wall,
    in darkness, fogging the old plaster
    with his breath, he visualized the future
    as a mansion standing on the shore
    that he was rowing to
    with his tongue’s exhausted oar.

    Of course, the girlfriend dumped him:
    met someone, apres-ski, who,
    using nothing but his nose
    could identify the vintage of a Cabernet.

    What a BETCH she must have been, hmm? 😉

  • KookieDangerous

    First, did you know that the Dish Licking Path was the precursor to the Prayer Labyrinth? It is.
    Second, I was all worried about how I was going to keep my watermelon pink Crocs with the lime green straps all shiny and Lilly Pulitzer-annoyingly bright. I just pulled them out of the dishwasher (top rack, no-heat dry) and they were just as perky as ever.
    Third, you were actually pretty low-key in your freak out, and I perceived it as thoroughly appropriate and full of class.
    As someone who lost my mother to cancer, no matter how big or little the creeping crud is, the scare is the scare, and we’re each entitled to our responses.
    And lastly, a friend behind me in church said one morning, “Your skin is fair and has moles like mine. I just had a pre-cancerous growth taken off my arm and you should probably go see a dermatologist, too!” At first, I thought she was being really nebby and forward, but I know she was just passing on good advice. I now get “mapped” once a year.

  • dre

    p.s. I agree with AmyFrances – the [sic] was lovely.

  • bleeuw

    Don’t you love when you make yourself vulnerable and then people tear you apart. What betches. Delete.

  • My dog can’t eat anything other than his dogfood for two very important reasons:

    1) Oftentimes he will decide that the “new” food was so delicious and exciting that he will throw it up just to get the chance to eat it again.

    2) Being a pitbull he has sensitive digestion and when his digestive areas become angered by strange foods they unleash a lethal chemical weapon into the air, chasing everyone in the house outside fearing for their very lives.

    On the other hand he will do anything for cheese and I’m thinking of using that to teach him to get me beers from the fridge. “Sanchez, it’s Miller Time. It’s Miller Time, buddy.”

  • thejoyof

    My dog Wilbur would like to tell Chuck that if he would put one paw inside the dish it won’t move around so much.

  • rachelle

    i failed to see the humour in making fun of someone else’s pain. glad you have your limbs and not scurvy but you still seem shorthanded on social skills and compassion (and awareness… people without hands or the use of them do more than you might believe).

  • lcrowe

    Dogs bring joy and warmth to our lives.

    My husband fought cancer for 8 1/2 years. He lost that battle 6 years ago. No cancer is trivial, mundane, or insignificant. When you are told you have cancer, or your loved one has the disease, it is like being kicked in the gut, repeatedly.
    There are a lot of people who love your website and the fact that you share your life with us. We are here for you as well. Please remember that. Now go kick that cancer in the ass, girl!

  • dre

    Aw shit, sorry Heather, for I am an exclamation point whore – with poor grammer at times to boot.

    As for the haters, all I have to say is FUCK ‘EM!! (Now, that deserves at least one don’t cha think?)

  • Best part of the whole entry:

    My first response to this email is: somewhere a sad document is crying because this person’s email stole all its exclamation points.

    I don’t understand why people get so worked up over the stupidest things. I always take you with a grain of salt and I can’t remember you once in all the years of posting saying anything that even remotely made me feel the need to send you an email with lots of exclamation points.

  • AmyFrances

    Although the Chuck movie makes me laugh (as they all do), I believe that my favorite part of this post is the [sic].

  • toddlermama

    Mean people suck. Cancer is cancer, and the fear lingers long even after the treatment or removal is complete. My brother might “just” be a melanoma surviver (he had MOHS, by the way, with great success), but every time I see him, I’m a little extra thankful that he’s still here. (Of course, the four-inch scar on his lower arm makes it a little easy to remember.) For people who don’t take skin cancer seriously and/or feel that they have it so much worse in some way — well, I feel sorry for them. They obviously aren’t surrounded by the support that you are, Heather, which I’m sure far outweighs the hating going on. My positive thoughts and hopes for good health are with you, as is my appreciation for your sharing of your ongoing experience.

  • Kristi

    Hi Heather. My first time commenting and I am pretty gosh darn excited about it.

    I just wanted to say, posts like these are so damn funny that this is why I keep coming back. You crack my shit up.

    Oh yeah, and I just LOVE Chuck!!!!

  • Sarah Crawford

    To all those who allow animals to eat human food (either on purpose or droped to the floor during prep.) Onions & Grapes (especially in raisin form) are fatally toxic to dogs. Ask your vet if you don’t believe everything you read in a blog comment.

  • We have two chihuahuas in our home, and it is a given that they are the first part of our dishwasher’s wash cycle. No need to pre-rinse when you have a chihuahua or two around the house.

  • 1- You have every right to lose your shit over being told that you have cancer, regardless of it’s form or severity. I’m sort of disgusted that anyone would think/actually say differently.

    2- Has any form of the phrase “Things could be worse” ever made a single person actually feel better? Ever? For even a split second? I really don’t think so.

    3- My dog does the exact same thing with licking the plates. She starts off in the kitchen and proceeds to loop her way around the entire house. You should see what happens when we let her lick the last of the peanut butter out of the container. Keeps us entertained for hours.

  • Sarah Crawford

    My sister “cleans” her dishes the same way. Her dog finally learned to place his paw on the plate to hold it steady. And people don’t believe in evolution!

  • Rachelle, I was obviously JOKING. Scurvy? On FIRE? How the hell would I write a comment with no limbs? Please, for all of our sakes, get your head out of your butt.

  • mizjuney

    Heather, There are so many comments on here, I can’t imagine how you read them all. If you have time, I just want you to look and see if there is a scar on your side where we were separated at birth.
    The only difference in you and me, besides 15 years or so, is that you put so eloquently on paper the thoughts that are racing through my head. If you and Jon ever decide to move, please move next door to me.

  • My cat begs for my Coffee Crisps consistently, but has yet to “lick travel”. (Though I hear it’s the only real way to see the living room/ kitchen/ bedroom…) As far as people telling you that your cancer isn’t a big deal, perhaps they are just jealous. You have a malignant little friend named Ed, and all they have is that ugly ass wart on their noses/buttocks. Must be rough, eh? You’ll beat this, Dooce…you kinda have to. God’s been duly made aware of the fact that several thousand readers will drag you back down to earth should He attempt to abduct you.:)

  • Britta

    My husband licks his own plates so Porter (our 7 mo. old Portuguese Water Dog) doesn’t get the chance. However, he has learned that my husband is a messy eater and is now a very dedicated mop. It’s great! Less bending over for the big-bellied pregnant lady.

  • Molicious

    Now THAT is entertainment.

  • MissusB

    Why have a dog, if not to clean up the dishes and floors after eating? Besides, Chuck is the shit.

  • snubbed

    I don’t know how you do this job Heather. Honestly the type of balls it would take to withstand some of the idiotic, low-life hate mail you deal with – well they would have to bigger, better, and badder than any goat balls! Even sweaty ones.

    I am seething at anyone who would suggest that you were whining about your cancer, as though you have no right to fear for your own health because there are other people who have more serious dieases… What the hell kind of logioc is that? If you go by that logic. people, then you shouldn’t be complaining about the content on, because there are WAY bigger and more improtant causes out there that should be gettign your complaints.

    And by the way, hate-mailer, it’s THAN. Far more disgusting THAN John washing his clogs in the dishwasher. THAN, THAN, THAN. If you’re going to try to make a smart-ass comment, THEN at least learn how to PRETEND you are smart, by using the right word.

  • Jackie

    There is nothing wrong with a dinner plate if a dog licks it clean. Just wash it like any other used plate. Not a big deal.

    There is something wrong with people who would seriously criticize a person about her cancer or minimize her personal stress over being diagnosed with it. Shame on all of you, you fucking butt-wipes.

    Heather, thank you for tolerating all the weirdness and opening yourself up to all of us Cyber Strangers. You are terrific.

  • Milissa

    Heather,interestingly enough, after reading the posts where you mentioned your cancer, I thought that, if anything, you were under-freaking out. You certainly weren’t being a drama queen (and damn it, anyone who gets cancer has a RIGHT to be a drama queen). You mentioned it, made humorous remarks about it, and kept the rest of the story to yourself…and your family, I’m sure. And I assumed that everyone would understand and respect what you are going through. Stupid me. Oh, wait. Stupid them.

  • Shana Banana

    Heather, I was on vacation and I didnt get in until today. Im so sorry to hear about yer cancer. I had a little red strawberry mole on my forhead that just kept getting bigger and bigger until the doctor noticed it when I went in for a sore throat and it ended up being cancer. Sooo… the surgery isnt so bad.. they froze my second forhead and then removed the mole and I wore a band aid for a week. Then it was all gone and I havent had problems since then. I hope it goes as smoothly for you. You’ll be ok honey bunches of oats.. you have me rootin for ya! Anyway.. chuck is the funniest dog in the world and thats all I have to say about that.

  • murphy

    Hey, I have three dogs who are all quite opportunistic, and the oldest one does in fact do the dishwasher prewash. She has been eating her poop since she was a puppy. She will be 14 years old this September. So, I’ve been living w/ a poop eating, dishes licking dog for almost 14 years, and you know what? I’m one of the healthiest people you’d ever know. Sometimes I think Americans just get entirely too freaked out w/ cleanliness and the war against germs and all that.

    Besides, if you ever have a party, let me tell you, clean up is SO much faster when you have a dog. Put the stuff on the floor and watch Chuck take care of it.

    You know Heather, you just can’t seem to win. On the one hand, some people accuse you of writing about superficial stuff. Then when you write about something serious and substantial like cancer, other people accuse you of being an opportunistic whore. Shees.

    For the rest of us who are grounded, intelligent, and truly appreciate quality writing, please accept our thanks for letting us into your life.

    Keep us posted on your battle against skin cancer. It sounds like you have a great doctor who will be proactive, which is exactly what you need.

  • ctw1966

    That is one cute doggy dog! 🙂

  • You should place some food on top of the head of a mop and then Chuck could just clean the floors while he’s chasing the crumbs around.

  • ctw1966

    That is one cute doggy dog! 🙂

  • Renae

    Oh my goodness, it’s a good thing your disgusted reader has never been to my house. My dog considers it his sacred duty to ensure that I’ve properly rinsed the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, he verifies their readiness for washing by licking up any morsels I’ve missed. Oh, he also does the “look mommy, I’m ignoring you and the food and being good, don’t you think I deserve a treat” thing. God I love my dog. Who doesn’t let their dog have the left overs? Freaks.

    Oh, by the way, I completely agree with you, clogs in the dishwasher are way worse than dog spit on the dirty dishes.

  • Chuck on a Tuesday. OMG, you spoil us.

    When company’s over, we like to pretend to put the plates back in the cupboard after the animals clean them. It’s good for a chuckle.

    I don’t know what this says about me, but I think it’s far more ‘ick’ to put shoes in a dishwasher than a shitty-mouthed-dog-licked plate.

  • kierewalker

    I can’t remember who suggested using this situation to clean the floors somehow, but it was a fantastic idea. You should duct-tape a Swiffer on the bottom of the dish, sit back, and put your feet up. And have a bourbon or three.

    Cancer is just plain scary. Even the word “cancer” is scary. They should call it something different- like saying, “You have stage three colon superhappyfun disease” isn’t nearly as awful to hear, is it? We’re wishing you all the good health in the world, Heather. Thank you for telling us.

  • annelynn

    I am so pleased to hear that my family is not the only one whose dogs routinely lick the plates. I grew up thinking this was normal. One of our golden retrievers (we had several) had the habit of taking the plate carefully between her teeth and with quiet aplomb carrying it to her chosen spot before placing it on the floor, where licking commenced. When a non-dog-oriented friend of mine discovered this anomaly, she refused to eat at our house ever again. Feh.

    The video is hilarious! Chuck is awesome.

  • I would say something witty and down-putting about that e-mailer, but you pretty much covered it, I think. As for the clogs, I winced when I read that they were in the dishwasher; I don’t care how hot the water gets, I would still be aware that there was toejam swishing around in the water with my plates, and that is not okay. But even then I wouldn’t care enough to write an incensed e-mail about it, jeez.
    As for the cancer-bashers, I am speechless.
    And when our dog was alive, we totally let her do a pre-wash for us. Why the hell not? People spit, dog spit, whateva.

  • Heather, GREAT video, I love Chuckles. He reminds me of my dog Jasper, who also licks a plate around a room and just yesterday did the butt-up-in-the-air-while-crouching-his-upper-torso-under-a-chair move when the plate meanders under the dining table.

    I am so, so sorry to hear about your cancer diagnosis. I know you will beat it though, cancer doesn’t stand a chance against such a cool, tough chick. I wish you a speedy treatment and recovery. (And I love your very humorous way of dealing with the naysayers)

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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