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

  • I love Chuck videos. Don’t take any crap from any crazy @ss Internet users – we love you, be strong, fight the cancer.

    xoxo from Boston

  • PixieMegh

    Poor Chuck… all he wanted was cheese.

    Tell Jon that if he wore flip-flops or normal sandals his toes would be impervious to a little toe-bump from a plate. Clogs are turning him into a wussy.

    And freak out about your little cancer all you want… because cancer is still cancer.

    Loved Leta’s photo yesterday btw. Those cheeks are just yummy.

  • My uncle had polio as a child, so at 60 his legs are extremely frail…

    When I was a child he lived with us, along with his dog Meynard. My uncle always had HUGE open sores on his shins and he’d let the dog lick them. I remember thinking that was the most disgusting thing in the world. He explained that there was something in the dog’s saliva that kept the sores from getting infected. The sores were a constant thing for him, so he was always having to medicate them….with his dog, it was free medication….and oddly enough, the dog enjoyed himself.

  • SarahsMama

    I love the way he can move around and bend his body under and around anything without missing a lick. What a talented pup you have.
    You have plenty of people that love you and as many people that complain,come back and read you again and again, not because your bad but because…

  • It drives me nuts that people won’t remember that rule from Bambi “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it.” Then my rule, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, but it’s funny, then go ahead.”

    I am sorry that people seem to take off their tinfoil hats and put their meds in a pez dispenser before emailing you.

    My dogs eat off our counters and our dining room table. Yes we wash them. Sometimes.

    About the cancer; peace, prayers and luck. Wishing you the best.

  • Chuck is the And I think we have the same dining set.

    As to the hygeine of letting the dog lick the plates- whatever. I am of the dirt won’t kill you school of thought and our dog eats her own dinner off the same china we do. Obviously, we wash & run through the dishwasher between meals no matter who ate off the plate but still.

    And to the complete asses that had the gall to send you anything even remotely negative in regards to your sharing something so traumatic to yourself and your family- give them a great big “screw you” from Cali. I cannot believe that someone could have such a withered soul and pitiful existence as to send something like that to a STRANGER who is known to be a wife & mother dealing with such a scary situation. GAH!

    *big hugs* to you & yours.

    Take care,


  • I sure wish my belly skin didn’t jiggle when I laugh this hard. ‘Cuz I think laughing this hard is sexy until the belly jelly jiggles.

  • Welcome to people. I am surprised you haven’t met them yet. I sure have,

  • Laura Horacefield

    There is a Mythbuster’s episode where they tested the bacteria in a dog’s mouth, human’s mouth and cat’s mouth. The cleanest mouth…DOG. Eat Chuck! Eat!

  • rachelle

    jackie, that is really what i was trying to say so thanks for saying it so well.

  • Rochelle…way to play that off like you didn’t think she was serious. But, sorry ….DUH.

    Let me not be the first to say that there are some seriously DUMB individuals running around in the world, the ability to puchase a Dell and sign online does not validate intelligence whatsoever. Am I right? Being in cyberspace just means a new venue to vent stupidity.
    Luckily, we have Dooce,and Jon, and some other neat unrepressed people who are comfortable enough with their own humanity to bring the rest of us a little moment of light, and spark our compassion for others.

    Happy Birthday Heather, tell Jon and Leta to kiss that boo-boo and make it better. Anyone with a problem with this one-of-a-kind woman can kiss my entire cyber ass. Email me and I’ll set your punk ass strait.

    ps….has Leta seen “All Dogs Go to Heaven” yet? it’s a classic 🙂 Jez

  • taullimom

    Heather – Man, you always brighten my day! I think that we have walked a mile in similar shoes. Thanks for making me laugh and for making me feel more normal…you have a beautiful family.

  • twisted

    With a dog like Chuck, who needs a dishwasher? And if you train him to lick Jon’s clogs, you may never need to buy Cascade again.

  • We have to be careful not let the dog lick paper plates because after he hoovers the remaining food off, he’ll start to eat the plate. Because apparently the juices from whatever he has eaten have soaked into the plate and made it edible.

    The furry little weirdo.

  • I am in love with Chuck! Don’t get me wrong, I love my dog of 10 years too, but the first time I saw Chuck, I became green with envy. He is so gorgeous sometimes he doesn’t even look real. I want one!

    As for cancer… I freaked out for you when I read your post that day. Big, spitty, frothy raspberries to anyone who thinks ANY cancer is more important than another. I’m feeling as though they would change their tune if they were standing in your shoes.

  • Oh, man that was great! Complete and total ART!!!!!! with many exclamation points!!

  • nicklebee

    Go Chuck! My cat would love to lick that lasagna dish and routinely devours any melon (who would have thought the cat would eat cantalope?) or items containing any bit of tomato sauce that I’ll let her have. Although she is a tad daintier about her eating habits.

    She also enjoys my morning oatmeal with me, usually by me sticking my most-likely dirty finger in to give her some. Sometimes we get civilized and use the spoon. I wonder how I manage to make it through the day…

    Best wishes for you Heather and try to ignore the people who just don’t seem to get it.

  • What? 171 comments and nobody voiced their unwanted opinions about your furniture after viewing that video? I’m shocked.

  • I live in a house with 3 pugs who consider it a crime against nature if they can’t “pre-wash” the dishes before they go into the dishwasher. It hasn’t killed us yet so what’s the harm?

    The best of luck with the cancer situation. You are in my thoughts and prayers. And your freak out was so justified. Cancer is cancer is cancer if it is a pea sized spot on your arm or a basketball sized tumor. No matter the size it is scary, serious, and totally worth a freak out. Now go get better.

  • Leon

    Dearest Dooce (and the entire Blurbodoocery for that matter);

    I sincerely hope, if you haven’t done so already, that you are covertly archive categorizing every post and the corresponding asshat-e-mail it generates in the hopes that it will act as an invaluable teaching tool to help the Frog Princess avoid the path of asshattery;

    “Look Leta, here is classic example of arrogant and senseless self righteousness”

    “See here Leta, this is a textbook case of clueless jealousy, masquerading in the dogma of concern for all mankind”

    People can suck it. They can suck all of it. They can have their fill of sucking, and then suck some more.

    I hope you keep telling yourself something like this everyday.

    I’m not a mom. Will never be a mother. I’m not a dad. I’ll never be a father. But I LOVE the Armstrong experience, the writing and the candor. I can’t recommend you guys enough to enough people.

    I’ve never felt closer to people I’ve never met. I get the joy of kinda sorta being a part of your family day to day, without the horror of figuring out how to make Leta stop screaming, Blurb stop explaining or Dooce stop her latest pooping story.

    Continued health, happiness and success Armstrongs. The internet loves and owes you guys.

    BTW – I think Chuckles may be on to something here. “Leftover Licking Croquet”! I think we should get the X-Games people on the phone.

  • I can’t get enough of your videos! Very entertaining.

    We have a Pomeranian that loves my yogurt left overs. I will start out letting her lick the inside of the Yoplait container while I’m holding it, but once she gets her nose in there, I can’t help but let go and watch her walk around like a drunk with the container stuck on her nose! You can hear her tongue going 100 miles an hour, desperately trying to reach the bottom.

  • Tana

    My dog Lucky is why I don’t have to rinse my dishes before they go into the dishwasher.
    We also have a routine, he sits under the table and the nanosecond someone even looks like they are going to move he runs to the kitchen and sits on the rug in front of the sink. It’s the rule that he can only eat when he sits on the rug first.
    Lucky has figured out that if he puts his paw on the plate/pan it won’t travel around the kitchen.

  • ortizzle, you fool, I didn’t SAY that having no limbs was funny, or that cancer was funny. I didn’t even say that scurvy or being on fire are funny. I was pointing out the frame of mind people must have to be in to say “your problem isn’t that bad because there are problems that maybe could be *worse*.”

    Like saying lung cancer is *worse* than a fairly treatable skin cancer. Well, yes, I suppose it is– it’s certainly more likely that the former would kill you. But there are people in the world who would say that because Heather doesn’t have lung cancer (or isn’t on fire with no limbs) she has no reason to complain. Those people are stupid, and I was making fun of THEM, not people with terrible ailments and afflictions.

    You obviously have no concept of irony whatsover. Having a sense of humor is helpful in this life. You should work on acquiring one.

    Jesus F. Christ, some of your people need to lighten up.

  • Closet Metro

    It’s “of France!!!!” all over again.

  • I wonder if there’s a physical link between compassion and empathy and punctuation abuse? Maybe they’re in the same part of the brain or something.

    I really wish I could enjoy my food as much as the former congressman does.

  • thleen

    Hi Heather,
    Plate chasin’ puppies are fun. My dog loves the rice pot. He sits down with it.
    So, yeah, I’d rather eat off the dishes washed in the dishwasher with Jon’s clogs and all the dog licked dishes THAN believe that people actually email you to tell you your cancer is little.
    Mean people are weird.

  • As always, you are a brilliant comic writer. Thanks for the laugh. (!)

  • aubriane

    I must confess, this entry left me more than a little disgusted… Until today, I wasn’t aware that there were people in the world who were delusional enough to believe that there are problems “bigger and more meaningful” than cancer. Or that they have the right to decide which problems these are. Plus, the cancer was getting bigger! Who knows, maybe it would have someday reached large enough proportions to register on these people’s “meaningful meter”!
    But kudos to Chuck, my dogs are forced to lick and scratch at popcorn dropped in the spaces in our deck.

  • milkmaid

    I am SO putting my flip flops in the dishwasher.


    So…can you kill two dogs with one cycle and put Chuck in the dishwasher WITH the dishes?

  • Jackie the miraculous maltese wants to move in with you now! He never gets the lasagna pan at my house (because he’ll turn it to be on top of him, and we’d be spitting lasagna all over the place at the moving pan with reddish-white legs sticking out) and is now pulling ME in front of the PETA folks.

    See what you’ve done? 🙂

  • Definately one of the reasons we don’t give our dogs dishes to lick. I used to trip over plates at my girlfriends and swore I wouldn’t do it at home. But alas, they still pick up and drop their bowls right where you are going to step so once in a while we are still tripping over a dish.

    I think you were completely justified with your ‘freak out’. It sure made me stop and think for a minute, pull out the sunscreen, lather up, double check all my moles, and book an appointment with my Dr just so he can check my skin and make sure there isn’t anything to worry about. I was definately a baby oil girl when I was younger. Thank you for sharing your ‘freak out’ with us.

  • Trinity

    Maybe I’m of the crude-er class of humour, but I just think it’s HILARIOUS to watch the dog lick the plate from one end of the house to the other. My very much smaller doggie will literally steal my hubbie’s beer can and then we’ll hear this *lick lick lick* sound from under the old armchair…and she’s knocked over the beercan and is licking herself into doggie-oblivion! but it’s all very much a “secret!” until we lift the little flap to the bottom of the chair and she gives us The Look…like we didn’t know she was a dogaholic.

  • Cassie

    Hon thank you for making me smile after a very rough couple of days.

    Our cats love the dishes… bowls, in particular, whenever they hear/see you with a bowl they’ll sit there and glare (on good days) or try to climb in the food (on bad days) until you’re done and they can lick whatever happens to be left.

    It doesn’t hurt anybody (long as you can get them to let you eat in peace), the dishwasher sterilizes, and all is well. And hopefully you have a laugh in the process.

    Animals are wonderful for stress relief 🙂

  • Mary Dawn

    does he do laundry and windows too?

  • ginnie

    My dog has learned to hold the plate/pan still by stepping in it – depending on what was in the pan, some interesting footprints can result. Or, you could throw a handtowel on the floor to stablize the container – kind of like the trick to keep your cutting board from moving.

    I have a similar skin cancer lesion removed several years ago – I was sooo cool about it, until they started the out patient office procedure, then I totally stressed out. But this is typically a non-malignant lesion, so take a few deep breaths, your non-maligant readers hope this will all be OK (it will, trust me…).

    Happy licking to Chuck.

  • I want to come back at Chuck in my next life… Yeah, that is nirvana.

  • Wine Lady

    I just have to comment on the ignorance of people getting whacked out when animals eat off of dishes. Do they not know what soap and water is for? Have they ever looked around a restauant and observed the wide variety of sometimes rather unsavory people that are eating off of dishes they may just be eating off of next? Fools.

  • “YOU try licking hardened melted cheese off a surface without using your hands and see which room you end up in.” BWAHAhahaha!

    It’s our dog’s job to come in the kitchen after we finish dinner and lick all the spilled food off the floor under the table. Saves me having to actually sweep under there.

    Next Thursday, as I’m on a plane for BlogHer, my Father-in-law is having surgery to remove cancerous nodules from his lung. I called him and told him I wouldn’t go, but he said “it’s no big deal, you should go and have fun”. Well, I’m going, but I don’t know about the fun. I’m sorry that there are insensitive assholes in the world who feel the need to belittle other people. I hope the cancer on your arm turns out to be “no big deal”. You have my support.

  • Jen

    I heart Chuck.

  • monkeyaker

    Wait- I don’t get it. What’s so wrong with letting your dog lick your plates? Why is that wrong? Should I also stop letting them lick whipped cream off my body as well? How about honey? And should I stop putting dirty underwear in the dishwasher too? Now I’m all confused…

    And Heather, don’t let anyone e*v*e*r put you down for not having enough cancer. Any cancer is cancer enough.

    We love you!!

  • Just because you don’t witness it, doesn’t mean that your pets (or children) aren’t doing it. Sage words for the angry, irrational posters to your site.

    Several years ago, the main squeeze would leave the toothbrush on the bathroom counter. One morning, I watched one of our cats pat it, lick his paw, and then go to town licking all that yummy, minty goodness off the toothbrush. Of course, I did nothing to stop it. I was too busy laughing. I did, however, go that very day and purchase a NEW toothbrush and toothbrush holder to keep this one away from kitty mouth.

    I also, allowed the dog to thoroughly lick the Main Squeeze’s coke glass the other day — but did suggest replacing it before having another drink.

    We have a cat who loves nothing more than having sex with soft, squishy objects — like yarn, stuffed animals, or the main squeeze’s pillow. That one, I don’t share with MS because I don’t want to wash that many pillow cases each week.

    But, the point is, all critters – human and non-human have habits we’d rather not know about, and certainly not share the after effects.

  • Nat W.

    I find it’s easiest to really lick a plate clean when I push it up against a wall…

  • I learned the other day that I have a heart murmer. It’s not serious, but I think it’s okay to tell people about it.

    Skin cancer would scare me, too. I think it’s okay for your to talk about it. Any foreign thing on your body isn’t good. Hopefully you can get it taken care of soon enough, and then you won’t have to at least SEE it again.

    And like somebody said long before me, I very much envy your floor.

  • Wait, doesn’t everyone let their pets lick the dinner dishes around the house?

    And you put yours in the dishwasher afterwards?

  • I was sorry to hear about Chuck losing his limbs from scurvy. I don’t think it’s nice that people laugh at him for licking his plateful of shitty clogs across the floor. The poor little guy has no front legs. Have a heart, people.

    Happy Birthday, Heather. I hope you feel like Queen for a day …

    … of FRANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ortizzle

    KATE F.:

    Geez, I totally misinterpreted your brilliant satire. I must have been the only reader who misunderstood your crisp, clear logic. Shame on me.

    I decided to lighten up and read some more of your brilliant writing on your “Kate the Great” website. Stunning material. Keep it up. And please accept my sincere apologies. I will just never be able to appreciate satire, so it’s good to have a model who can point out the finer nuances of the craft.

    I would ask you, please, to be patient with us dunderheads who don’t get it. Perhaps the reader you told to remove her head from her butt did not appreciate the jokey satirical air of that comment.

    OK. End of dispute. Friends?

  • Sajhill

    I am reminded of Dave Barry’s book “Big Trouble” which has The Best descriptions of a dog’s pursuit of every last atom of food. It’s very funny. The whole book is funny. (now you funny too)

  • Yes, I can see how dog saliva would permanently damage your plates (not). Maybe you should toss them out rather than washing them.

    Cancer is not a fun thing to hear in relation to your body. Luckily it was easily removable and hasn’t spread. Good news!

  • libby

    Been reading for 3 years and this is the post that gets me to comment. Ha.

    I hate to wash dishes more than anything in the world. Thank goodness my dog sits and waits patiently and licks practically every dish we have before it goes in the dishwasher. Why waste all that time washing your dishes before you wash them – get a dog! It’s just good sense.

    Now, if I could only get her to lick the stuff she doesnt like (like ketchup) I would never have to rinse anything again before it goes in the dishwasher.

    (and as I am writing this I absent mindedly hand over my sandwich plate for her to tackle the crumbs…)

    On another topic – I am on a plane last week heading home and I look up – who is on the ABC news segment shown on Delta airlines – Heather, Leta and John. I let out a little gasp and think I scared my seatmate. Great, sweet segment.

  • HDC

    Really, you’re just doing your part for the environment. Think of all the water that Chuck saves by helping you avoid scrubbing dishes to get off that baked on cheese.

    Oh and to the oversensitive dolts complaining about how dirty this is remember that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s.

    I betcha Martha Stewart lets her dogs do the same thing behind closed doors. She probably pees in the shower too.

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.

read more