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

  • j

    Screw those people, Heather.

    On second thought, don’t. Why give them any pleasure?

    My husband had basal cell carcinoma removed last year. Now he has another suspect spot that I am making him get checked. I don’t care what kind it is. Cancer is scary.

    And. My dog eats OFF OF MY FORK. Sometimes before I am done using it. I’m not dead yet.

    There are no clogs in my house, though. I can say that proudly. 😉

  • Argie

    KJC – My 3-year old learned how to french-kiss from our dogs! One day, she tried to french-kiss me and I thought for sure she learned it at preschool. I asked where she learned to kiss like that, and she said – from Mango (our good dog…but not a person-dog)! We had to explain that maybe that wasn’t such a great idea…not that WE don’t do it (haha), but when you’re a mom, you have to kind of point out the things that others might make fun of you for!

  • How cold and heartless could someone be to say that you don’t have the right to talk about your cold, let alone the fact that you are dealing with cancer?

    I wish…

    That their dog would like his sweaty balls before he gives him a big wet kiss!!!


    they get a testicular cancer (sweaty ball cancer!) scare!!!

    (no one deserves cancer, but some people deserve the scare!!!)

  • myshel

    Oh, Heather! Guess what? We let our dog lick the plates and pans too. Just last night, our dog enjoyed a feast of butter, potatoes, and ground beef directly out of the pan after we were finished. I think it’s much more normal to do that than it is for strangers to send rude emails.

  • I would just like to say that in our house we refer to this cycle of the Beagle cleaning the plates before they enter the dishwasher as “Puppy pre-clean”.

    It’s highly efficient and saves tons of energy since we never need to use that heavy duty Pots and Pans cycle.

  • Every time we’d get breakfast at McD’s we’d get our dog a egg & cheese biscuit. He would put his paw on the wrapper and hold it down so that he could get every bit of the melted cheese off the wrapper. I’m not sure which is more cute – Chuck chasing it or mine holding it down! Unfortunately, I don’t have video of mine.

    I was recently told that I had mild dysplasia – which they call pre-cancer. It doesn’t matter what kind of cancer it is, that is not a word that you want to hear from your doctors mouth. I freaked out and I don’t even have cancer yet.

  • Don’t all dishwashers wash dishes at a million degrees?

    Does this person not wash their underwear or sweaty socks in the same machine that washes, say, the wash cloth they use to wash the stupidity off their face?

  • I am terribly sorry you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, but your being able to JOKE about it with your husband is really a wonderful (and powerful) thing. But I have to admit, when you told the Internets that he washed his clogs in the dishwasher the only thought that came to my little pea brain was: DANG, how cool is that? I have to try that.

  • That email reminds me of another email you wrote about once… of FRANCE!!!!

    Not to mention she had it all wrong, too.

    I agree, some people DO have bigger problems in life… as illustrated by their shitty emails to people they don’t know in random places across the internets no less.

  • To the person who claimed that Heather’s cancer isn’t “serious enough”:

    I do think that your head, that has been firmly implanted in your ass, warrants medical attention and is, in fact, “serious enough”. Have that removed before you try emailing again.

    Thank you.

    PS.. same goes for the person who gets all pukey when faced with a plate licking dog. Don’t come to my house for dinner.

  • Maybe you should melt some cheese to Jon’s Clogs and it will keep chuck occupied and Jon clog free for w while.

  • Jacko

    What is the point of having a dog if you don’t shamelessly spoil him/her? I think denying a canine friend sloppy leftover licks would be cruel and unusual punishment. I always allow my boy to lick the plates. And when I drop something on the floor, I just holler for Scout to come clean it up. Dogs double as man’s best friend and a vaccum.

  • RzDrms

    did you know that tomorrow is your birthday?! 😉 wooohooo baby! have a great 31st tomorrow. ::hugs::

  • kjc

    I guess its all a matter of perspective… I grew up in a “dog show” family. At the heights our family had 13 dogs. Dogs, not dogs and a litter of puppies… FULL GROWN DOGS. And yes they were house dogs, all of them, in the house. We had a kennel in which they would sleep and remain when nobody was home, but they ALL CAME INTO THE HOUSE.

    Dogs licking plates… that’s nothing. My mother contents that food is a little tasteless without a little dog hair.

    I now have two English Cockers and they know all the poor pathetic sad looks in the world. They don’t know how to be subtle. Since my husband and I rarely eat at a table, they sit at our knees, or on the back of the couch, leaning forward, making sure you know that they are there… just waiting. My dogs know the sound of a cereal bowl nearing the bottom. They get all excited… here it comes.

    And personally you haven’t lived until you’re talking to your dog and they give you a big ole french kiss.

  • juliloquy

    I love the way you mention that it was a cardboard lasagne tray. To silence further critics.

    And couldn’t Jon have used the [clothes] washing machine instead? Did he wash the clogs in a cycle with the dishes, or by themselves? Does your dishwasher have the fabulous “sanitize” feature?

    Thank you for your writing. I am sending all good wishes to you from Philadelphia!

  • You know the majority of us are with you, Heather. You’re certainly allowed your “moments of freak out”, especially when we know you’re strong enough to pull through anything.

  • jes

    If only all creatures had opposable thumbs. Sigh.

  • CJ mama

    I go back and forth. Sometimes I get nervous that the negative comments will make you more selective regarding your subject matter. Other times, like today, I love that people post such lame-ass comments so that you get fed up and and retaliate in your posts.

  • Cancer is scary… thanks for being brave enough to talk about it.

  • Tara

    I’m sure I’m echoing others’ sentiments here, but. . .

    Cancer is cancer, and I can’t imagine it NOT being scary. And for what it’s worth, your story has given me the ass-kick I needed to make an appointment with a dermatologist to have my moles examined. Just in case.

    What is wrong with a dog licking a bowl or plate? You’re going to wash it before you use it again anyway. I’m sure our dogs are eating wild animal poop and God knows what all else while they’re outside, then they come in and lick our hands & faces, and we don’t freak out about that. It certainly hasn’t killed us yet. Besides, my son really likes it when they try to lick the pacifier out of his mouth. It would be cruel to take those moments of joy away from him.

  • Argie

    The person who sent you that very bland email obviously does NOT have a dog! Or, if she/he does, it is probably an outdoor dog! Our dogs are members or our family and as such, are allowed to eat off our plates too whenever a special occasion arises.

    One of the very best dogs every – the dog I got when I finally moved out of a dorm and into an apartment at college, and who I had before I even met my husband – died 3 months ago. Let Chuck eat off a plate any damn time you please! The thing I regret most is not having had the opportunity to get my dog, Argie, her favorite food – french fries from McDonald’s – before we had to put her down (it was an emergency). If I could have, I would have gotten her ten super-size packs and served them up on a silver platter to her.

    Only dog people understand!


  • keagansmom

    I actually gasped out loud when I read the cancer post. My sister has had your cancer at least THREE TIMES now, she’s fine except for some cool scars. Freak out as much as you want, its CANCER for christs sake! Get better soon! and Happy Birthday! xoxo

  • We have this running joke, whenever the cats or dogs in my life left a plate spotless, we’d say, “We don’t even have the clean it.”

    A few years ago I met a person who believed me. I wish I could say I no longer know that person. She had an even bigger problem with me letting my cat take bites from the muffins. I just don’t understand people. Tsk.

    Chuck gave me hope that my puppy would grow up cool, so I didn’t shoot her to get my leg back, and I want to thank Chuck for that. Chuck rules.

  • > The same dog you openly share who has eaten your child’s shit off the floor.

    My only reaction to this? Where is this story, and why in the hell have I not read it?

  • Screw the naysayers! This person is obviously a freakizoid! I got your back mami!!
    Any form of anything that is not supposed to be there scary and you have the total ability to say whatever you want about it! I commend you for the way you use humor to put light on what is a very scary situation, I ‘ll be damned if someone is gonna tell me not to bitch moan or anything! I just had a breast biopsy because I had a lump that kept growing over the past couple years, thankfully it was benign but still , I am a mother , wife…ect.. I have every stinking right to worry, complain , bitch and if nobody likes it they can all kiss my hoo-ha!

  • Kim

    That’s what I look like when there’s a bowl of cookie dough or brownie batter nearby….

    Freak out entirely justified and appropriate under the circumstances.

  • Trisha

    I can’t wait to have a dog again – they keep the floor clean, as well as the plates. We just have a cat now (my husbands) and he just is too picky to clean the plates off completely or eat what I drop on the floor. I hate cleaning up food that has dropped or wasting food I can’t eat, dogs are very helpful.

  • ginabeana

    I don’t even have separate dishes for the dogs (one of whom once ate a used tampon). They get their meals on the same plates as everybody else. Also, they get to lick me on the lips and who knows where those tongues have been?

  • Heather,

    Fuck. I freaked out about your skin cancer and I don’t even know you. Seriously, it made me think, Dooce has skin cancer so maybe I should put some sunscreen on before riding across town all bare armed in the really-hot-sun-beating-down-on-several-portions-of-exposed-skin-afternoon. If you didn’t freak out about your skin cancer I would wonder what was wrong with you (the answer to that is clearly: nothing. You are a very normal person.)

    For the record: I would allow my dog to clean my plate if I didn’t live with my husband. Also, clogs in the dishwasher? I have to be honest here. I would probably do that too.

    Take care of yourself and feel free to hit the “delete” button if you feel the need.

  • Dear Moronic Dooce E-mailer:

    First get a life.

    Second, dishwashers are designed to sterilize their contents when put through the entire wash cycle. I have run clinics that use dishwashers to sterilize speculums. It is a CLIA and JCHAO approved method.

    Third, go Chuck GO!

  • Unbelievable. Talk about kicking someone when they’re down. You find out that a potentially fatal disease has touched you, and people still find a way to spew venom. You are VERY entitled to freak out.

    Love the video! 🙂

  • jerseygirl

    This is one of those embaressing things to admit, but the first conversation I ever had with my husband was about the improper use of exclamation points. I feel that people here would understand.

    Oh, and he recently had two similar skin cancer things removed. Heather, I agree, even though they tell you not to worry — it’s scary. Good luck!

  • I got my second cat right around Thanksgiving four years ago, and he was about three months old at the time. Well, my cousin had given me this awesome plate of Thanksgiving leftovers, and I had just heated them and set them on the table to go get a can of pop when, looky there, there he was with both front paws in the Tupperware feasting on the mashed potatoes. You know, cats — the ones who stand where they shit and then lick their butts? And guess what? I didn’t die, either.

    It’ll all be Ok. Good thoughts to you.

  • Our old family dog Duke used to lick anything and everything we let him, too, but he used one front paw to hold it still (as still as possible). He could lick off the wrapper from a square of magarine so clean you’d never know it had contained trans fats. He also used to scrape the cast-iron skillet with his teeth if there was cooked-on meaty substances, which turned out to be a bad thing. He ended up grinding down enough of the enamel on his front teeth that they eventually rotted and had to be pulled.

  • Argie

    Why o why can’t I get this dog-plate-licking thing off my mind today??? I just don’t understand why anyone would care if you didn’t make THEM eat off of the un-cleaned plate!

    Anyway…I had to share another thing we do: Since I was 7, we have always made our dogs Thanksgiving plates. We put every single thing that we eat on their plate, including pumpkin pie with Cool-Whip, except anything with onions on it of course. Guess I have to watch out for grapes now too!!!! Watching their eyes while we’re preparing their food (they remember!) and seeing them eat is one of the best times of the entire holiday season.

    Chuck will help you deal with your cancer (my husband just had a lesion removed from his chest skin and he is 32…just for comfort, he has had an easy time with it thankfully). Chuck deserves anything you want to give him. Ok, enough from me!!!!!!

  • Clearly, letting your dog lick your plates is what gave you cancer in the first place.

  • Kath :-)

    For goodness sakes.

    Anyone with half a brain AND a Chuck Calendar knows that July is ‘Chuck Eats Pasta Month’ and eating anything pasta (including lasagna) is to be expected.

    Really, Heather…some people are just so out of it!

    Happy ‘Chuck Eats Pasta Month’ to you and yours 🙂

  • ortizzle

    Gosh. Lots of stuff to stir people up here.

    Kate F.: Where’s the joke? Cancer isn’t funny. People without limbs aren’t funny. People who write such things and believe they are enormously satirical are especially not funny. They are pathetic. What’s eating away at you? Maybe an iddy biddy cancer. Lighten up and look at what’s really funny. Such as:

    1. Clogs in the dishwasher
    2. Canine plate-cleaning lick-a-thons.

    Heather: Thank you for making us all laugh. My thoughts are with you.

  • My 9 year old lab mix Katy will put her paw on any plate/dish/pan that has stuff stuck on it. Those sticky pans (and peanut butter jars) can keep her busy for an hour.

    Dog owners let their dogs lick plates. Isn’t that why they invented dishwashers??

  • bellybuttonbugs

    My Dad had a basal cell carcinoma cut out a few months back and I freaked when my Mum told me. As usual I looked it up on the ‘net only to find out that it can be life threatening if left untreated. Panic ensued. You have every right to freak out.

    If it’s any consolation, I know how you feel because when I got my golf ball sized pituitary tumour diagnosed someone told me:

    ‘Oh, I don’t know what you’re worried about, it’s benign’

    My response was ‘Oh hello, want to swap? How about you go through potentially life threatening surgery and radiotherapy. Want to see the 100 staples they put in my head? W*nker!’

    I hearby promise to voodoo curse anyone who mocks you for freaking out about your skin cancer.

    I should clarify that I don’t actually know any voodoo curses but I’m pretty sure if I use my evil powers of imagination I can think of something pretty disgusting. My current experience of voodoo is to shout ‘VOODOO’ at traffic lights when I’m waiting for them to change. It works like a dream.

  • Anna


    I’m trying to use them all up.


  • U.B.

    Gotta love the Chuckster. Dogs are typically bad at geometry, or he’d be heading for a corner right away.

    We’ve always been kind of preachy about not giving our dogs people food. In general, the richness of human food is really bad for their heart, digestive system, etc.

    But my kids recently totally ratted my wife out that she was sneaking meat-based leftovers to our dog that tends to be too skinny because she’s a psycho. But that doesn’t keep her from rolling her eyes at her parents, who wonder why their dog is fat, as they shovel gravy and pork chop fat into his bowl on top of his vet-approved amount of kibble…

  • I let my dog Shian do the same thing, though I usually brace the plate/pan with a couple of chairs. Though it dosent help some of the time. Honesly I find most people to be more disgusting then Dogs and would rather Shian Lick the plates clean then have certian people I know eat off them.

    I about fainted when I heard about your arm. I don’t give a flying F*** what anyone says, any form of cancer is serious and you should be allowed to freak out in anyway you see fit. My Father in Law had cancer on his nose, its all taken care of now but at the time it was scary as hell. I don’t know what your going through but here is a big *Huggles* to you and your family.

  • We have less shit to clean off the floor because of our dogs. We trained them to go into the bathroom when we eat and it even got to the point that they would retreat there when we were fixing our meal. Once we are done eating we call them and they lick our plates. It’s called the pre-wash cycle. Now when Fuller is done with his meal he calls out “May-poh! May-poh!” to indicate that Maple may now come out to lick his plate. We also eat similar lasagna and get the same push and lick action from both our dogs.
    And as an aside, our son is 21 months old and he already is in charge of feeding the dogs. He loves to open and close things, so he enjoys opening the food hopper when he notices the bowl is empty.

  • mania72

    Maybe it was the crocs in the dishwasher that CAUSED the skin cancer? Huh? Did he ever think of that!? (And don’t get all technical about the spot being there before the crocs, the two are obviously connected.)

    I get irritated when people try to use their misfortune to guilt others. My aunt who could never have kids (very unfortunate) would say things like “Well at least you have them…” when I complain about the horrible behaviors of my three children. Instant guilt. My oldest child is a survivor of Leukemia. It would never occur to me to say “At least your kid doesn’t have CANCER,” when a friend worries about her child’s fever/injury.

    And to all the sanctimommies out there… In the words of an inspirational woman I know, “You should stop eating Twinkies.”

  • We used to have a basset hound that was smart enough to put his foot on whatever plate he was licking, thereby avoiding the slide around the room. Our current basset hound? Not so smart. She often loses plates under the couch…

  • I barely ever give my dog any human food, but when I do, you would think I was feeding her for the first time in three weeks. She can sit and stare at her Nutro all day long without a reaction, but you throw a plate with turkey and gravy on the floor and she will lick the plate for hours. Even long after the food or sauce or any other remnants is gone. It is like she is licking up the aura of the food, as if to capture just one more tiny fragment of the goodness.

    Dogs always have a way of making us feel like we are horrible, horrible people, and that we should be ashamed of ourselves for ever dreaming of giving them dry dog food containing chicken lips and ass and other byproducts. When her sad, sad eyes look up at me from that plate that is licked dry of the turkey and gravy, I feel like the biggest heel.

    Chuck rules. I wonder how far he would go if you put a plate of peanut butter on the sidewalk? I bet he could make it clear across town!

  • nicolelise

    I can’t believe it took like 100 comments before someone started listing foods that are TOXIC! to DOGS! Is this a new record?

    Thinking of you, Heather. And Happy (early?) Birthday

  • MissKitty

    Heather, some people have no lives and way too much time on their hands. So Chuck eats off your plates? SFW? I’m sure you wash ’em afterward. As for your cancer, those hateful c**ts must be stupid as well as meanspirited. They don’t know all of the facts, and reading this site doesn’t give them the right to tell you how to live your life. People like that are the reason I could never blog, and I applaud your openness and courage.

  • Ah, my stupid cat used to do that with a foil lid that squashy cheese (it’s actually called that) smell was left on. ONCE he put his paw on the lid, but only once. He never did learn…


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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