the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Crazy dog person

Yesterday afternoon when I picked Leta up from school I asked her teacher if everything had gone well, wanted to make sure that if Leta had thrown her body on the floor that they were able to peel it off in one piece. She asked if we had any pets, because Leta had told the entire class about her dog, Chuck, and how he lives in the car.

Let’s back up a second. Leta voluntarily talked about Chuck? I asked the teacher if she had threatened anything to elicit this phenomenon, because the only way we can get Leta to acknowledge Chuck’s existence is to hang a Dora figurine over the trash and demand that she look directly at the dog or else DORA DIES. In fact, that’s the tactic we’re using most these days as leverage, heading toward the recycling bin with one of her treasures in hand, giving her the option of either obeying, or this? This Target insert from the Sunday paper, FROM JULY? Do you even have any idea how much pleasure it would be for me to drop it in?

Sometimes I do it even when she’s behaving, for no reason other than that it feels so good.

The teacher said no, she hadn’t specifically tried to prompt this Chuck story, only that she was reading a book about animals to the class when Leta piped up and told everyone about her dog who does not live in the house. It sounded weird that we would force the dog to live in the car, so she thought she’d ask.

Ha! Ha ha ha. No, no, we don’t lock the dog in the car all day, that would be crazy. And we are not crazy. Although, now that I think about it, I probably shouldn’t mention that we often like to balance kitchen appliances on his head. Or that we’ve photographed him using a human toilet.

I think Leta says that Chuck lives in the car because he goes everywhere with us and is always sitting next to her in the back seat. It hasn’t always been this way, but in the past four months we’ve made a lot of changes in our lives. It all happened when cousin GEORGE! moved out and we were free of his evil, manipulative influence. I mean, that kid is a bad kid, taught me all sorts of degenerate tricks, like how to make a bomb out of a pineapple, or how to drip a string of spit from a two story window and hit a target. Tricks that DERAILED MY LIFE.

So when he moved out we took back control of our destiny and started eating better and exercising more, and that included taking the dog for a walk every day no matter what. We’ve been diligent enough that we’ve missed only two or three days in the last four months, and this means that Chuck is getting more exercise than he has in years. That in turn means Chuck has slowly become more loyal, and in the last two weeks he’s rarely not in the same room as one of us. He’s even sleeping with us, which is fine until one of us rolls over to give the other one a loving touch, if you know what I’m saying, and it doesn’t matter if he’s in the middle of some wild dog dream, he can sense the loving, and he’ll look up and glare at us, like, are you about to do what I think you’re about to do? That thing where he goes like this, and you go like that? Because I was hoping to throw up today, AND NOW I HAVE A REASON.

When we leave to take Leta to school in the morning he’s there wagging his tail, hopeful that we’ll take him with us. And we always do, I cannot resist his wagging tail, even though Leta inevitably screams that he’s looking at her, or is touching her, or that he’s got four legs. One morning it was, MAMA! CHUCK HAS A TAIL! I DON’T WANT HIM TO HAVE A TAIL! A TAAAIIIIILLLL. A TAAAAAAAIIIILLLLLLLLL!

I’m sure the other parents see us in the parking lot, there every morning with the dog’s face in the window of the car, and are wondering why he’s always with us. Why don’t we leave him at home? Maybe because he would be lonely? He might starve? He might freeze to death out there by himself on the frozen tundra of our living room? Why? Does there have to be a logical reason other than that my dog is cute? If we had four dogs they’d all be in the car, too. Jon thinks this is totally insane, but he has learned to live with it because, let’s just say, sometimes he goes like this, and he would very much like for me to go like that.

  • Bridget

    2007/11/29 at 12:32 pm

    I love how you always bring it full circle – thanks for the laugh!

  • Jason

    2007/11/29 at 12:33 pm

    Ha! Our dogs know that when mommy and daddy start taking their clothes off it’s time for them to go in the crate. We usually don’t even have to say anything to them. They just know they don’t want to whitness what is about to go down.

  • HeyJoe

    2007/11/29 at 12:34 pm


  • JGT

    2007/11/29 at 12:37 pm

    Love that story! One of the other parents at my kid’s preschool overheard me ordering my dog to sit while we were waiting to pick her up (the kids were 2) and said, “Ahhhh, THAT’s who Xerxes is! My daughter’s been talking about Xerxes nonstop for months and we couldn’t figure out who he was….” ! But my DD loved our dog passionately at that point. Now she wants a cat and we’ve told her (she’s 4, f*&@ing fours) that Xerx would eat a kitten so she plaintively asks, “When is Xerxes going to die?”

  • Jessica

    2007/11/29 at 12:39 pm

    I don’t have anything specific to say about this post except that it is just as freakin’ hilarious as every other post you write. I just wanted to comment b/c I love your blog, read it religiously, and wanted to thank you for your continued humor.

    Thanks, dooce, for brightening my day….every day.

  • mish

    2007/11/29 at 12:41 pm

    i am the same w/ my dog! he goes w/ me if i am doing something quick… but i am single…and men just dont understand….

    oh, and if i had a comment before reading, i would have been FIRST!

  • Don

    2007/11/29 at 12:41 pm

    so i kinda know what you go through with the relationship of the kid/dog thing. except mine is really centered around the kid/human thing. i swear if i had a tail- my kid would not want me to have a tail… and i suppose that would be normal as it would be weird if i were to have a tail… but you get my point.

  • Gooseberried

    2007/11/29 at 12:41 pm

    Haha! Love the last sentence.

  • PaintingChef

    2007/11/29 at 12:42 pm

    I sometimes wonder what people think when they look in our car and see a dog and two cats driving down the road…

    As far as animals and… “fun without pants”… we seemed to have all reached an understanding until we got a new kitten. Who thinks that she should be involved in EVERYTHING.

  • Jami

    2007/11/29 at 12:42 pm

    I thought everyone went everywhere with their dog in the car. But of course, I haven’t left the South lately.

  • k

    2007/11/29 at 12:43 pm

    You are not a crazy dog person until you start taking him for a ride on Sundays. For no other reason than to give him a ride. Because he likes it.

  • Becky

    2007/11/29 at 12:45 pm

    If I could take my cat everywhere, I totally would. Although, “crazy cat lady” isn’t really as desirable a name as “crazy dog person.”

  • Amy

    2007/11/29 at 12:45 pm

    That is one of the best posts I have ever read. So funny and perfectly written. I give you the Valedictorian of the Internet.

  • palinode

    2007/11/29 at 12:47 pm

    If only Leta had kept up her full-scale ontological rejection of Chuck for a few more years. He might have just vanished from reality one day, taking all memories of Chuck with him. Not that I’d want that for you or your dog: it just sounds cool, and would be a testament to your daughter’s force of will.

  • kari

    2007/11/29 at 12:49 pm

    Hysterical, as always! Welcome to the world of parenting a fully articulate, imaginative child. It only gets more embarrassing as they grow older.

  • bandick

    2007/11/29 at 12:49 pm

    Does Chuck sit or stand in the car?

    My dog refuses to sit for longer than 3.7 seconds at a time and so spends most of the trip wobbling around the back seat. She’s a large dog — it’s a small back seat. It’s a bit distracting.

  • k-m-s

    2007/11/29 at 12:49 pm

    I guess I missed it, but it would be great for the picture of Chuck using the human toilet to be re-posted. I love the Chuck pictures and that one sounds like a classic!

    Thanks for the great laughs, as always!

  • Yoko

    2007/11/29 at 12:50 pm

    I *heart* Chuck & Leta.

    My husband and I’s dog (read practice child) Bowie had always shared the bed with us. He has his half and we get the other. My hubby’s feet don’t even hit the floor in the morning before he’s wormed his way up to the warm, newly vacant pillow. Spoiled, that dog is. He has to leave the room when it is time for “the loving touch” because he gets REALLY REALLY concerned that something is wrong with Mommy.

    Great post, as always.

  • southcitygirl

    2007/11/29 at 12:50 pm

    i love chuck.

  • J. Bo

    2007/11/29 at 12:51 pm

    You’re not crazy until you give in to his request to drive.

  • kit

    2007/11/29 at 12:53 pm

    I love that she’s objected to Chuck having a tail!

    Also, the self check-outs, I SO relate. I couldn’t figure out what was driving the machine insane, until they told my son to stand on the other side of me. OOHHH Stupid Machine!

  • Erin

    2007/11/29 at 12:55 pm

    I had a cat named Harley from the time I was 16 that went everywhere with me. He hung his head out the window and let his fur blow. He was unaware that he was feline and not canine and we tried hard to shield him from the haters who tried to burst his bubble.

  • Bluestalking Reader

    2007/11/29 at 12:55 pm

    You totally need a second dog. We have two Jack Russell Terriers/Terrors. My favorite thing on earth is when they stand side by side, sniffing each other’s butts, just because they can. And you’re missing out on stuff like that?

  • emily

    2007/11/29 at 12:58 pm

    my dog actually hides when there’s lovin’ going on. it’s scary, you know, all that happiness.

  • Heather

    2007/11/29 at 1:02 pm

    I hope as a fellow perfectionist you’ll appreciate me pointing out the typo where “these days” is missing the “s” in these making it “thee days,” which really threw me for a minute. Great post as always and I’m really enjoying the daily style section.

  • Jenn

    2007/11/29 at 1:03 pm


    Thank you. Your posts never fail to make me laugh out loud. Please keep being you.

    And to whoever nominated you for Valedectorian of the Internet, I officially Second it.

    All in favor?

  • Kate

    2007/11/29 at 1:05 pm

    We do not have a dog. We have 4 cats.
    And inevitably one of them around whenever there is loving going on.

    Last time one cat sat outside the bedroom time the entire time crying.

    I was like “did she sit out there crying the whole time?”

    “Yes, Yes, she did.”

  • kjc

    2007/11/29 at 1:06 pm

    We have two dogs… Jazz could care less that this & that is going on. The other, Katie, thinks that she is a participant. Here I’ll help you… by licking you, and sticking my cold nose up your butt. What? aren’t you done yet? I want to lick that spot on the bed.

  • anne

    2007/11/29 at 1:07 pm

    I am glad to know from this story and the comments that we are not the only owners of a dog who can tell when the humans are going to get it on. Though she did not vomit – she did once pee, on the bed, mid-coital. We thought she could be religious and opposed to pre-marital sex.

  • Barb

    2007/11/29 at 1:07 pm

    It’s such a rare priviledge to be able to post that I’m all giddy and can’t think of a thing to say. You make me so nervous. LOL!

    Seriously, thanks so much for sharing your life with us.

    Love how you brought this post full circle. My cat has pretty much learned to hang in there during this or that. In fact, she was there when we conceiv…uh, er, did I mention how much I like your writing?!?

  • Heather

    2007/11/29 at 1:07 pm


    I just spent nearly an hour on your flickr and your photo archives and cannot find Chuck on the potty (sorry, thats what we call it in my house). Please post!

  • Mel

    2007/11/29 at 1:08 pm

    Speaking of dogs in cars….so funny.

  • Mrs. Andrews

    2007/11/29 at 1:09 pm

    My dogs freak out and try to tackle me whenever I pick up my keys. We take both of ours in the car all the time, even though they like to test the breaks once in a while, and they’re not even as talented as Chuck.

  • jess

    2007/11/29 at 1:10 pm

    we love to take our dog with us in the car…and she likes it, too. they even have dog treats at the bank for her!

  • Jessica

    2007/11/29 at 1:10 pm

    I love Leta. A TAAAIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL! OMG, I want her for my own. Great post, as always.

  • molly

    2007/11/29 at 1:10 pm

    If I had a well-behaved pup then I would take him everywhere with me, too. But sadly, there can be no walks in big public areas or drives to anywhere with a sidewalk, because the minute she sees a person, or anything that has been looked at by a person in the last 20 years, she starts barking and barking and BARKING AND BARKING.


    2007/11/29 at 1:12 pm

    WHATEVER. So retaliating on this one.

  • Anna

    2007/11/29 at 1:12 pm

    You should be glad that she doesn’t pay attention to him, or that she talks about him having a tail and her desperate want for him not to have one. Really it’s better then babysitting a three year old that thinks stick+dog=funny. Because poking the dog with a stick is totally not funny. At all. Even a little bit.

  • Gail

    2007/11/29 at 1:13 pm

    I love this site. I visit daily and often go back and read stuff I miss because laughing until I cry is just the best way to spend my time.

    I love that she gets annoyed with him for having a tail or looking at her or touching her or breathing the same air she does.

    I felt that way about my brothers and sisters. Minus the tail part.

  • Lou

    2007/11/29 at 1:13 pm

    -how to make a bomb out of a pineapple-

    I seriously hope you plan to blog that information.

    Leta cracks me up.

  • Yolanda

    2007/11/29 at 1:15 pm

    Wow. I wanna be a dog. Someone forcing me to walk every day makes feel very unloving toward them, not snugly at all.

  • William

    2007/11/29 at 1:15 pm

    When Chuck is in bed and you do “that” and Jon does “this” and I am sure your Mormon upbring has taught you that “this and That” is in the missionary style…does he shake his head as if to say..”you guys are doing it wrong?”

  • jane

    2007/11/29 at 1:16 pm

    Hey, what’s up with your RSS feed? The pictures are tiny and require a click-through on every post. Maybe you’re trying to increase your ad revenue? I will unsubscribe if that’s the way it’s going to be – not a threat, obviously, since the loss of one reader isn’t going to affect you, but just letting you know my preference. Perhaps you’ll reconsider? Maybe go back to putting ads in the feed if that will help.

  • Nicole

    2007/11/29 at 1:17 pm

    Living in Utah, we are probably the only people above the age of… 21 that doesn’t have kids. We have dogs. And we take them EVERYWHERE. To family functions. To get ice cream. You say ride and they are sitting at the front door. And it drives my brother in law *crazy* that we always liken how he treats our dogs to whether he would do that to his kid. Ha!

  • Friday

    2007/11/29 at 1:19 pm

    I live in a car! Well, I don’t really, I just wanted to leave a comment somewhere in the top 100. Because I cancancan.

  • AmyM

    2007/11/29 at 1:19 pm

    If I had a Chuck, he’d go everywhere with me, too. (Much to my husband’s chagrin.) But you just can’t fit a horse in the back seat of a minivan, so what’s a girl to do?

  • Chessy

    2007/11/29 at 1:19 pm

    Yay! Dogs! I have a dog and I am going to have a daughter in January. I just hope my dog doesn’t eat her.

  • Becky S

    2007/11/29 at 1:21 pm

    Chuck has a tail!? How dare you have a dog next to your daughter that has a tail!

    I love your blog and I love the new set up and pictures. and of course I heart Chuck. He would go with me everywhere too.

  • Rachel

    2007/11/29 at 1:22 pm

    I’ve always wondered that when I see dogs in the car…I have a cat, and he freaksss out when the car’s moving.

    But being cute is a plenty good reason.

  • workroom

    2007/11/29 at 1:26 pm



1 2 3 5

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