An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

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.

  • My niece used to do the same thing with her mother’s cat when she was that age. And my cats. And anyone’s cat or dog or godlfish. She threw a tantrum one day when I was babysitting because the cat looked at her or whatever because I loved the cat more than her. I told her that yes, absolutely this is true, and it’s because the cat doesn’t throw itself on the ground and scream and who wouldn’t love the cat better?

    I’m a bad auntie. But it shut her up!


  • stephanie

    Just wondering. Do you put any kind of restraint on your dog when he’s in the car? I was in my friend’s car a few weeks ago and her dog just sat in the back seat. I was really worried that the dog would turn into a projectile if she ever got into an accident, but it had never occurred to her and she seemed almost miffed that I mentioned it. Not sure why dogs should have less protection in cars than kids…

  • aaaahh-ha! funny!

  • Lanie

    Maybe Leta would prefer to have an Australian Shepherd as a pet? They come naturally tailless. Although she might be inclined to object to the thick soft fur. Sounds like a rock and a hard place to me.

  • Leigh

    First, I love Chuck so very much. I cannot wait until January to open my CALENDAR which will be in my office at my job in one of the largest corporations in San Francisco because that will lead to me turning more people on to “daily Chuck” and then I will have others to talk to.

    Second, you bring Chuck because he is one of the coolest dogs on the planet. And dogs are pack animals who should be brought along whenever possible. Anyone who doesn’t know that really isn’t your type of person.

  • at least you don’t take him around town in a homemade doggy sling like i do.
    my friends think i’m crazy, but i’m really just in love. with. my. dog. and yes, believe it or not, he loves travelling that way!

  • As a person with a dog, as a person who is insanely in love with dogs, I totally get your position on taking Chuck everywhere.
    But yeah, how dare he have four legs. It’s just not right.

  • I like how you mentioned how Leta screams when Chuck looks at her. My oldest, who is two, will scream at me when her little sister looks at her. Its always “Mommy, Baby looking at me. Baby leave me lone!”

  • My dog has a similar look, but it’s more like “you’re going to kick me out of bed just to do THAT again?”, as if she’s just bitter that anything humans would do without her could be worthwhile.

  • wait a minute. stephanie, are you actually suggesting a DOG SEATBELT? or better yet, a dog car seat?

    brilliant! because dogs are as important as children. when they turn 18, they get to vote, just like children. and if you accidentally run over someone’s dog, you are likely to be convicted of manslaughter, same as someone’s child.

    [actually, i’ve heard that if you run over someone’s dog, you’re obligated to stop, get out and look for that person’s owner. but if you run over someone’s cat, it is perfectly okay to leave the cat pancake on the street without thinking twice about finding the cat owner. cats are rebel loners.]

  • Ingrid

    Why would anyone think taking your dog with you for rides in the car is strange? When I was growing up, my mom always took our black lab with her to pick us up from school, and she pretty much went everywhere with us…but then again, I did grow up in Alabama…

  • long live dooce! up with chuck!

  • Life can never have too much Chuck in it.

  • without fail, my yorkie will jump on the bed and try to lick our faces/asses. hello? daddy doesn’t need your help, Toki.

    great post, heather!

  • Katie

    I take my dog with me pretty much everywhere I possibly can. I feel immense guilt when I have to leave him at home. It’s so bad then when my boyfriend and I know we are both going to be gone most of the day, we take the dog to his nanny’s so that he can play with his little dog friends while we are gone. I’m okay with being crazy!

  • Our dog loves going in the car. He paces back and forth in the back (we have a volvo station-wagon) and smooshes his nose up against the windows – fogging them up. And he’s very good about me cramming in a few groceries next to him. He’s never eaten anything, now that I think about it. Wow. Actually, I was thinking he’s a pain in the ass with his penchant for lying on my new silk rugs (with mud on him! arg), but actually? He’s pretty good seeing as he’s never once eaten meaty groceries lying right next to him.

    Nice to see you have comments open;).

  • kelly from a couple comments ago – Up with Chuck! made me laugh, and think of vomiting. Why is vomiting funny? I don’t know.

    dooce – (2) things:

    (1) During THIS and THAT, have you ever lost track of things and perhaps closed your eyes and then suddenly felt a cold nose on your tush? Because THAT is the quickest way to deflate the mood, if you know what I’m sayin’

    (2) I think you crashed the BYU Student Honors association site, because I STILL can’t get in there. I’m dying to be preached to by Ninja Turtles.

  • Anne

    If we’re doin’ it on the bed our cat insists on interrupting us, preferably by creating a human/cat pyramid, or as we like to call it, a “cat pile”. After knocking her off the bed/us for what feels like the millionth time, she sits down in the bathroom across from our bedroom and stares at us the whole time with these huge saucer-like eyes. That’s not disturbing at all!

    And, for the record, I would totally take her in the car with me if she would endure it.

  • I have a cat. He is partially blind, which means that he likes to sit really, really close during this and that so he can see what’s happening. Sometimes, he tries to sit on my feet in mid-act, and he always looks like he’s debating whether to attack my husband (jealousy issue) or flee straight into the closet.

  • Ahhh haa love that post. The thing is we used to put our dog in the care – weather permitting – when we had guests over – as a adolescent dog she was no longer a cute puppy but rather a tazmanian devil when people came to visit. Ironically she would just sit or lie there contently and never ruined anything in the car. It was like a giant crate to her. She flew to us in a crate and it must have spooked her because we could not crate train her after that. I would like to repeat we only did this when the weather was exactly the right temperature to put her in there and have the windows open for circulation. The rest of the time we tied her to the furnace

  • stephanie


    I’m not talking about the legal rights of dogs as compared with kids. A projectile dog is likely a dead dog. Is that what you want to happen to your pet if you are involved in an accident?

    Dog car restraints exist. Just do a search at PetSmart for example.

  • Lovely, lovely post as always. If I had a cute pup like Chuck, I’d bring him everywhere, too.

    ps- your thing at the bottom that is supposed to stop non humans from spamming… guess what it just had me type in? “expect interplay” hmmm…

  • Laura

    My sister has two cats without tails who think they are dogs. I wonder what Leta would think of that?

  • I can’t decide which is more amusing: an in-shape, svelte dog with a dry sense of humor that travels in style everywhere his owners go? or… a 3 year old who thinks that her family’s dog lives in the car, and refuses to acknowledge said dog’s existence, and will only discuss him when she’s at pre-school.

    Truly dooce is a lucky woman to be blessed with such hilarious and loving little creatures 😀

  • Great…now I feel like a total shit head because my two poor little dogs hardly ever get walked. I think I’ll go take them out now. Wait, Tyra’s on. Never mind.

  • Jodie

    To a previous reader: I’ve got a harness that hooks into the seat belt to use as a doggie safety belt. I don’t take my Jack Russell for many rides as he HATES riding in the car with a passion. He’s now a retired dog at age 17, so the less torture, the better to keep him around a bit longer.

    Heather, Chuck sounds like a wonderfully patient dog… and I love the Daily Chuck. Leta must be warming up to having dog if she’s now talking about him. I know she’s a handful, but I love your Leta stories. I’m just glad that I don’t have a toddler, just a young playful cat and an old retired dog.

  • Betty

    My cat will just stare and stare and stare as if bemused by the whole shebang. Once, she jumped on the boyfriend’s back to make it all stop. Her nails dug right in and I thought I was doing an excellent job!

  • In regard to OUTSOURCED CARING: I don’t use those machines for one reason — although I could name many reasons — but the main reason I don’t use those machines … they take away jobs from people who need them!

  • Not Jennie, not Jennie at all. Someone else.

    Yeah, jealousy issues and doing THIS and THAT: I had a kitten who bonded with me too well. He liked to sit on the bed veryveryclose and watch crankily during, well, acts that left much of me exposed and girlfriend unable to see the cat. Our fear of Catboy’s tiny sharp claws and tiny sharp teeth kind of put a damper on things. Things the people at BYU would not approve of.

  • I’m really impressed that you are walking Chuck every day! We always say we are going to start walking our dog every day, and maybe we even start for a day or two, but it inevitably fizzles.

    And when we do “this” and “that,” the dog goes in her crate. That does not mean she stays there quietly. Nope, she whines like the hound dog she is, especially if we are, shall we say, noisy. It really dampers the mood.

    Love your blog, Leta and Chuck! Thanks for making my day with every post!

  • As the “mommy” of four dogs – who all end up in the bed (the other night I woke up and my husband was sleeping on a 1″ camping mat on the floor and all four dogs were in the bed with me) Sounds to me like Leta has the subject for her first children’s book. Chuck, the dog who lives in the car. Chuck could have all these adventures, going to drop Leta at school, going to the grocery, GOING TO PETCO (where he can actually go into the store!) Maybe in your spare time, in between ‘this’ and ‘that’ you could write Chuck’s childrens books.

  • i am totally the crazy dog person.

    “josh the dog” goes with me everywhere. the back of my pathfinder has been converted to a dog house, with bed, food, water, toys, and leash located there at all times. he is on a first name basis with all the people at our favorite sushi place, he has met most everyone inside of a three block radius, and the dry cleaner wonders where he is if i pick up my shirts without him. he is usually greeted well before i am at neighborhood barbeques.

    he’s currently next to me in mckinney, texas (he’s made the flight three times now and is heading back again in three weeks). he’s been to arizona a half dozen times, utah at least once, vegas four times, and has been to more national parks than some park rangers.

    he does not, however, wear clothing despite the relentless peer pressure from people who humiliate their dogs by dressing them like princess leia.

    oh who am i kidding. as if josh would care. how dignified can a dog be if he eats poop?

  • cathy

    I love this blog.

  • Carrie

    I really just read the comments for all the, “Not to say you’re a terrible parent, BUT you’re a TERRIBLE PARENT.”

    So far we have a spat over dog-seatbelts and/or inalienable rights, but the Hydra of Parenting-Style Criticism has yet to appear.

    I’ll wait. Patiently. Like Linus and the Great Pumpkin, the Hydra of Parenting-Style Criticism will only appear if you truly believe (in ridiculous people making acidic critiques of a stranger’s life, based solely upon humorous essays on a personal website).

  • Z

    I used to take my dog with me every morning to the McD’s drive-thru because they would give her free doggie biscuits. She loved those outings so much she would FREAK OUT when she heard the car keys jingling. After she died, every time I picked up my keys, I would ache not to see her run to the door.

    NOW who’s the crazy dog person?

  • Ann

    I also love how you bring things full circle. I don’t want to blather – but, Heather, I just love your writing. Yours is the only site I read religiously every day.

  • Heather

    Just wanted to say I love your site and all of the new changes. I’ve been a reader for a couple of years now and I’ve loved every post and picture. Keep up the good work!!!

    As for the this and that, my dog Charlie likes to whine outside the door, talk about mood killer.

  • The bank, post office, dry cleaners, pharmacy, grocery store, etc… are all stocked with dog biscuits to dole out whenever I drive up with the brown one in the front seat. It’s like Halloween everyday!

    I do, however, draw the line when the four-legged ones want to participate in the ‘this’ and ‘that.’ Cold wet nose in the butt crack is alarming!

  • How do you turn what should be one sentence (my dog rides in the car), into several very witty and funny paragraphs? That was GREAT!

  • thenshewaslike

    My parents’ dogs LOVE to ride in the car. They get as excited about that as they do about going for a walk.

    I only have cats, and I once had to drive them over 1,000 miles as part of a move. I’d read about it before I tried it, and some people strongly advocated letting their kitties free range in the car. So after 4 hours of pitiful crying from one cat and claws of death from the other every time I went for the cupholder (I put them in the passenger seat so they could see me which was supposed to help keep them calm. That didn’t work either.), I tried it.

    And wouldn’t you know, the only places in my large American car they wanted to be was on my head, on the dashboard immediately in front of me, or next to me looking out the driver’s side window. And the pitiful crying did not stop. They desperately wanted to be left by the side of a highway in Indiana in an ice storm, apparently. Never again.

  • Kathryn

    Love the site. Love the story. Keep it up.


    Someone may have mentioned it already, but the BYU pages now sport a note about how they’re experiencing a high volume of traffic. It is not obvious that the bishops have already called an urgent meeting? Agenda: Heather B. Armstrong’s eternal damnation. Finger sandwiches will be served.

  • Nattie

    Awesome, as always 🙂 Yay for Chuck.

  • Elizabeth

    That was completely hilarious.

  • We are about to get a dog. And she can come with us everywhere we go. And even if my husband objects, she can be in the same room when he does this and I do that.

    Just as long as she isn’t looking.


  • I [heart] Chuck. So maybe the next step would be for Leta to bring him to show and tell.

    Or not.

  • Lyndsey

    I always love to read your Leta and Chuck stories because they are so similar to our Chloe and Tico stories. When we first brought home Tico, a 3 pound fluffy chihuahua, my daughter would bound from the sofa to the chair to the coffee table ninja style in an effort to never touch the ground because she was convinced that “TICO IS GOING TO GET ME!!!!!!!!”

  • And this, Heather, is EXACTLY why I am compulsive about checking for your latest and greatest post. My husband will never understand why I get out of bed, even in the middle of sex, because OMG I haven’t checked Dooce in the last hour and if I don’t get my Dooce fix, even my orgasm is meaningless.

    You have a website only every mother can love.

  • Muri the Wiener Dog

    SHOW ME CHUCKS TITTZ!!!!!!!!!!!! …please?

  • coleenmck


    jk but i gotta say, if we were in middle school i would be so annoyed at the “im first!!” students. seriously. but hey, it takes all types, right?

    p.terrys in austin texas gives out doggie treats when you order from their drive-thru. LOVE IT, LOVE THEM, LOVE ATX!

    keep on rockin in the free world.

  • We are teaching Sadie to drive, Maxx feels driving is beneath him and won’t be subjected to such subservient nonsense.

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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