the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Noodly appendage

The number one request I receive in my inbox, other than SHOW US UR BOOBZ!!!!, is for a video of us torturing Chuck with spaghetti noodles, a pastime that has been documented here and here. Months ago I made the decision that we’d get it on tape, but then I stopped making pasta because there were all these frozen pizzas on sale at the grocery store. I bought as many as would fit into our freezer, and then every night we’d stick one in the oven and have a delicious, well-balanced meal within 20 minutes without any work on my part except for the labor required in turning on the oven. That is my only complaint about frozen pizza, that it cannot be eaten right out of the box, although I have done that once and afterward didn’t puke nearly as many times as I thought I would.

This weekend I fixed spaghetti for the first time in several weeks primarily because we tend to cook more when the weather outside is colder. The change in season sets off the Mormon homemaker buried deep inside me, and I cook and clean more than I do at any other time of year, usually while wearing a bonnet and humming tunes whose lyrics warn of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Because anyone who has read the Bible knows that the last thing you want is for the triumphant return of the Lord to happen before you’ve had a chance to vacuum your living room. He will totally notice. And worse, so will your mom.

Normally I like to leave spaghetti noodles very long so that I can twirl them around my fork like people do in the movies. But lately I’ve been trying to make everything as appealing to Leta as possible, so this weekend I broke the entire box of noodles in half. That way she had at least a fighting chance of getting an entire noodle into her mouth without realizing just how slimy and oogly a cooked piece of pasta can be. It didn’t work, it never does, and instead of eating a single bite she spent the entire meal wiping pasta sauce off each noodle. With a wet wipe. Until every noodle in her bowl was clean. As if preparing her personal space for the triumphant return of the Lord.

As we cleaned up the kitchen and prepared Chuck for taping, I realized that the noodles would not be long enough to wrap around his snout. I almost cancelled the whole thing until I saw the look on Chuck’s face, one that said he had been waiting for those noodles for months, woman, do not yank the rug out from under him now. So what you will see here is not the traditional ritual of spaghetti torture, but instead a variation involving large clumps of sticky pasta and the flat, noble head of one very good puppy.

Launch video (11 MB Quicktime file)

  • Wicked H

    2006/10/24 at 4:10 am

    Are you sure he wasn’t a former Intern? A politician cannot possibly show this type of restraint.

    Good puppy, Chuck!!!!!!!

    Send many ear scrathces your way!

  • Ignatz

    2006/10/24 at 5:25 am

    For fun, try feeding leftover cooked full-length spaghetti noodles to squirrels. They will stuff and stuff and stuff these noodles into their mouths to overflowing, not caring that half the noodles are still sticking out of their mouths. Then they climb trees like that.

    It’s better than t.v., let me tell you.


  • PandoraSpocks

    2006/10/24 at 5:37 am

    I will give you the contents of my bank account (and the change at the bottom of my purse) if you will tell me where you got the magic potion that makes a dog sit still like that. Seriously though, did you do a lot of training or is Chuck just a remarkably good dog?

  • zhoen

    2006/10/24 at 5:44 am

    Chuck seems to be in on the game. Smart and whimsical dog. A rare combination.

    Heh, not just mo’s who have to clean their homes for their mother’s arrival.

    No noodle help here, I loved the spagetti, hated the sauce. I could time travel back and share a meal with her, when we could both be little together… wait, that won’t work.

  • the niffer

    2006/10/24 at 5:46 am

    Awesome, Chuck. Just awesome.

  • Cindy

    2006/10/24 at 5:46 am

    I love Chuck – and this video is awesome. If I hadn’t already been laughing with Chuck’s antics I would have cracked up over the credits. As it was, I laughed harder upon reading them – and then had to rewind to watch them again.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the videos!!!!!

  • Andrea-cat

    2006/10/24 at 5:47 am

    I think Finnegan, my Irish Wolfhound would have a stroke if we tried that with him. We prefer to tie an empty can of Guinness around his neck for laughs on St. Patrick’s Day.

    Chuck has unbelievable self-control!!

  • Toyfoto

    2006/10/24 at 5:48 am

    Chuck is adorable. Sadly, my mother-in-law showed me how to do this trick (sad, because I never would have thought of it on my own in a million years) when she was entertaining a toddler. Feeding dogs single strands of pasta is hysterical. Better than the biscuit on the nose trick. Just hold the strand high over their heads and lower it slowly.

  • Sunni

    2006/10/24 at 5:51 am

    Please please please share the idiotic emails you get in response to this post…please.

    I love Chuck.

  • busychild424

    2006/10/24 at 5:55 am

    THAT is the whole reason for having pets.

  • Doc

    2006/10/24 at 6:05 am

    Have you tried this with Leta? It may revolutionize mealtime. Or at least be worthy of another video.

  • Renee_c

    2006/10/24 at 6:07 am

    Thank you for the morning snort, Chuck was so funny, I will have to watch it again!

  • Snickrsnack Katie

    2006/10/24 at 6:17 am

    I want to watch it, but for some reason it never plays at work, and I can’t download the latest quicktime because my work is retarded and won’t let me. Alas, I will have to wait until I get home to watch it. -sigh-

    I always get a craving for spaghetti whenever I see Chuck with noodles on his head. Which is weird, since dogs and pasta don’t usually go together. Yeah. I am weird.

  • Heather Anne

    2006/10/24 at 6:19 am

    How is it possible for me to love that dog so much? Who cares. I love Chuck.

  • rivetergirl

    2006/10/24 at 6:22 am

    I wish I could pile food stuffs on my dog’s head while my husband cried out, “Nooo, mama, noooo!” in the background.

  • Tanya

    2006/10/24 at 6:26 am

    He’s such a good boy.

    After the 10/16 post, I thought the next picture might be Jon with spaghetti wrapped around his nose.

  • deannie

    2006/10/24 at 6:32 am

    I have never had a dog but things like this help me understand what pure joy a dog can bring to life. Chuck certainly brought joy to my morning. Hugs,

  • wealhtheow

    2006/10/24 at 6:34 am

    This made my year. He is truly the best dog ever.

  • Jill Shalvis

    2006/10/24 at 6:40 am

    He definitely could have taken more noodles.

  • Mary Frances

    2006/10/24 at 6:41 am

    I’m sure if JesusTheLord came to your house and had a chance to witness either Leta or Chuck engage with pasta, he would feel no need to stay and turn right around and go back to heaven having been satisfied that humanity had mastered both their dominion over the creatures of the earth, and a level of cleanliness parallel to Godliness.

  • hulahulagirl

    2006/10/24 at 7:03 am

    I can’t believe how patient Chuck is!

  • j

    2006/10/24 at 7:07 am

    These pictures never cease to amaze me. I don’t know if Chuck is just that damn smart, if you are just that damn good at training, or if it is a lucky combination of both. There is no way in heck I could get my dog to sit with anything on her head, let alone food. Of course, she has no snout, so that part wouldn’t work anyway, but I’ve tried getting her to hold a dog biscuit on her head – to no avail. Then, I can’t get her to pee outside unless it is in a pile of leaves, so I suppose there are other issues here.

    But I am so jealous.

  • Genny2118

    2006/10/24 at 7:14 am

    I nearly fell over laughing! It was especially bad when the music faded into the background and I could hear you telling Chuck that it was okay to eat and he just sat there all frozen and solemn. Too funny!

  • misstraceynolan

    2006/10/24 at 7:15 am

    I love it when he almost cracks and starts to show his teeth.

  • digsite

    2006/10/24 at 7:26 am

    That video is insanely funny.. my husband and I cracked up last night. and boy does your dog have great self control. If it had been either of ours, they wouldnt’ be able to handle the first noodle let alone the 5lbs you put on his head.

  • scout

    2006/10/24 at 7:27 am

    forget the boobz – show us your noodlz! he is an amazing dog….

  • jaime

    2006/10/24 at 7:32 am

    He almost looks like he enjoys it. Like, at first, it’s all a noodly caress.

  • Jason "J.O."

    2006/10/24 at 7:36 am

    I swear I thought the video was hilarious, love the videos but I think I like the credits you do for the videos the best. H for Hardass. GOLD!

  • sue

    2006/10/24 at 7:42 am

    I am so sad. I haven’t been able to load the last couple of videos. Any ideas?

  • hnrjmpr

    2006/10/24 at 7:52 am

    Every time I see a photo of Chuck, he looks like a stuffed version…like “Rowdy” from Scrubs!

  • Jason

    2006/10/24 at 7:54 am

    Very nice!!

    We have been working on getting on of our dogs to perform the “treat on the snoot” trick, normaly it does not go as planed, however we keep working at it.

  • Prozac-Mommy

    2006/10/24 at 8:02 am

    In honor of your dear Chuck I actually tried this with my 7 month old black lab Ozzy. Ozzy is far from patient, and still working on the “smarts” thing as well.
    The noodle was the perfect consistency of “stick” and Ozzy ran in circles trying to get it off. It took him about 5 minutes to realize that he could get his paw up there. I never thought to tape it though….we will certainly be doing a repeat!

  • Morgan

    2006/10/24 at 8:03 am

    What a good dog!!!! I’m more of a cat person, but seeing dogs like Chuck make me consider the possibility of raising one in the future when I can devote more time to training. 🙂

  • margalit

    2006/10/24 at 8:12 am

    Seriously, Chuck is the best dog evah! But don’t you, just a teeny tiny bit, wonder if he’s ever gonna turn on you in the middle of the night and pile his kibble on your head while you’re sleeping?

  • ksted

    2006/10/24 at 8:14 am

    *sob* No matter what I do, I cannot view your videos any more. They don’t work for me. Any suggestions? What am I doing wrong? It’s getting to be painful. I click on the link and a new window opens, and it thinks for a long time but never shows me the video. Help!

  • Hemlock

    2006/10/24 at 8:15 am

    Chuck is a lucky, lucky puppy!

    What a good dog!

  • smoopiebooboosmom

    2006/10/24 at 8:18 am

    I don’t know what the deal is, but this is the 2nd video I’m missing out on. Obviously a great one too, judging from previous posters. *sob*

  • flailingmyarms

    2006/10/24 at 8:20 am

    OH MY GOOD LORD. I want a dog like Chuck so bad.

    PS: You may have just converted Lady-A, my poodle-obsessed girlfriend, into wanting some other kind of dog OTHER then a poodle.

    For this, Dooce, I love you.

  • ksted

    2006/10/24 at 8:41 am

    Smoopiebooboosmom: I just figured out how to make it work. Right click and save the file to your desktop. Then you can open the downloaded movie from the desktop and it works! Yay!

    Go Chuck Go!

  • jennIam

    2006/10/24 at 8:43 am

    I will never look at spaghetti the same way again.

  • bdwriter

    2006/10/24 at 8:56 am

    Great vid.

    But most of all, thanks for exposing me to a fantastic track. That song was excellent and the perfect choice for this piece. Excellent work.


  • A Knupfer

    2006/10/24 at 8:56 am

    My son won’t eat standard pasta either… it is more work but Barilla makes a pasta that looks almost like a wagon wheel. He (26 months old) finds it fun to eat/play with them. At least it keeps him busy till I am done eating… this has been the best diet ever!

  • stephanie

    2006/10/24 at 9:04 am


    you know, let it be stated, on the record, that this is the ONLY time i might wish for my babies not to be pugs. i have tried to pile squares of cheese on my youngest, but alas, with no snout, it failed.

  • schmutzie

    2006/10/24 at 9:20 am

    “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” is the song that I find myself singing when I sweep.

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord / He is trampling down the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored…

  • Heather

    2006/10/24 at 9:22 am

    Oh my gosh!!!! Chick is the best puppy dog ever!!!!!! That was awesome!

  • Heather

    2006/10/24 at 9:23 am

    How embarrassing! In my rush to post, I called Chuck “Chick” sorry!

  • Flubberwinkle

    2006/10/24 at 9:26 am

    Heather, Jon, Little Leta,
    Your dog’s the best!
    Chuck’s achieved the ultimate Zen attitude in this clip.

  • jenny

    2006/10/24 at 9:34 am

    Your note on the skidboot video implies that you succeeded in making it through without crying. If so, kudos! I was sobbing like an idiot by minute four. I love your links almost as much as I love your site.

  • M@

    2006/10/24 at 9:36 am

    out of curiosity, what is the running tally of “Things Chuck Has Balanced On His Head”? I’ve lost count.

  • Dogmom

    2006/10/24 at 9:36 am

    I was having trouble playing the sprinkler movie and this one too. So I copied down the long and complicated URL that showed when the movie was trying to load, opened up Apple Quicktime, went to File, Open URL, copied that in the box, and then it played fine. Awesome. Chuck is King of the Universe.

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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