Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

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.

  • You’re not crazy. If I could take my dog everywhere with me I would. Instead she has to stay in a pen when I’m not home. She still finds the means to destroy stuff but she’s even cuter when I get back.

    betsy-pen.jpg

  • Brandy

    You are not officially a crazy dog person unless you and John have a voice you use when your talking for Chuck…like one day you imagined if he could talk it would sound like this.
    Because then you are in the same league of crazy dog person as me and mine and if you take it even further you will find yourself in public with people around saying “this one time our dog said…” and you won’t even realise it.

    THAT is crazy dog person. NOT that I do any of that..ever.

  • Lara

    I’ve been reading this site for god, years now, ever since I started my job with a real office with a real door that SHUTS and I’m not required to stay on work-related web pages all day. At least not required in my mind.

    Anyway, I come to your site constantly and it’s my all time favorite thing on the entire internet. I adore your stories and your writing style and your kid and husband and dog, as well as your honesty and elegance when you talk about things that are more serious.

    And to whoever was dissing dog seatbelts – really, all dogs should be harnessed in the car. If you get in an accident, they become big heavy projectiles that can easily kill you, and they will almost certainly die when they fly through the windsheild. That being said, my dog doesn’t. He likes to pace around the back seat and ask for this window to be rolled down now this one now this one now this one please!

    Great post!

  • i love dogs. my father never let me have one when i was growing up, and now my apartment building doesn’t allow them. guess i’ll have to wait till grad school. 🙁

  • We used to take our dog on short trips with us in the car. Until he decided that getting in the driver’s lap would be a fun game, and getting on the floor near the gas pedal would be an even more fun game…

  • Aaangh……..I love it. I take my dog everywhere with me – and I take public transport! Every day, twice a day, on the bus to and from work. I even take her to the grocery store with me. I just pop her in my purse and no one even knows.

    I don’t think I could fit Chuck in my purse….

  • Jennifer

    Your dog lives in your car. My daughter had a sister that lived in our attic. According to her 2 year old self. That was a fun one to explain to the teachers….

  • jenny

    its all fun and games until the fact that chuck has a tail disturbs leta so much she rips it off.

  • Your Leta is a strong minded individual…and obviously challenging, you describe it so well she reminds me a bit of my son but I have not managed to put it into words yet, everything he does shocks me and makes me laugh..but I think I am still in the shock phase…
    he is 18! (only joking).

  • I like the new layout of your blog. The divorce of the text from the picture allows for precise formatting of each. No more struggling with text wrapping. Thank you for the idea. It looks great! I read you every day.

  • YEAY! We can comment!
    Our dog can’t stand it if we go anywhere without her. Ever. She’s pissed and throwing things by the time we get back if we don’t take her with us. Thank GOD she doesn’t read your blog and find out that Chuck lives in your car (or almost). There’d be nothing left to the back yard. Love you, your blog and your sweet posts! You make my day!

  • i take my loki a lot of places with me in the car. this is mostly because i think she has separation anxiety. when i don’t take her places and i just leave the apartment, she tears up everything she can get her dirty paws on. so i guess she’ll have to get used to waiting on me to get out of the tanning bed.

    i bet leta’s teacher gets a kick out of her. she’s gonna be a pistol when she’s older.

  • isn’t it funny how they become more loyal when you walk them more?

    i wish it worked that way with men.

    just last night i was telling my boyfriend how ever since i got sanger a dog walker twice a week and have been making sure she gets out with me every single dingle day, that we’ve connected again.

    lmao.

    long live the crazy dog persons of this world. i truly believe we make it a better place. 🙂

  • Ricki

    I just wonder if Leta’s teacher is the last person on earth who doesn’t know you write the famous dooce blog? The last person on earth that isn’t well acquainted with Chuck and Jon and Heather and Leta and George? Unbelieveable!

  • wigwag

    My dog Mike likes to bark during this & that. Very loudly. Right in our ears. I try to think that he’s cheering his favorite team on to victory (a game where both sides win!), but it doesn’t really help. My husband’s strategy, I think, is to do it so often that Mike will get bored. I’m not sure how successful that strategy will be, but my husband is very enthusiastic about it, so…

    Btw, Mike’s an Australian Shepherd and there was a previous post about their tails – only some are born naturally bobbed; most have them docked like schnauzers, Rottweilers, etc. Just thought I’d pass that along.

  • ChloeM

    Grew up in SoCal and my mother never went anywhere without at least 3 of 5 kids and 2 of 3 dogs. They were great company when (in the good old days) she’d leave us in the car while she went in to grocery shop, and my older brother would terrorize the younger chillun by claiming that if he depressed the gas pedal, the car would blow up.

    Our current dog Gus – yellow Lab – keeps us entertained by energetically cradling his bed between his legs and humping the hell out of it. Almost feel like lighting up a smoke when he tires of this. He’s no fun in a vehicle though. He paces back and forth and yodels.

  • Tracy

    I work at home and need an excuse to get out of the house some days so I take my dog through drive through all the time when I go out for a cup of coffee. The dog usually barks when I give my order to the speaker. Apparently I’m not the only one taking my dog out for coffee because the girl working the drive through has a bucket of dog treats and always hands one out before she hands out my coffee.

  • Rebekah

    My sister, when my brother was born:

    But he has a THINGEEEEEEEEEE!!!

  • Eaine

    Has Chuck ever considered re-running for government. Seriously…..I think he’d win in the upcoming elections.

  • mejustme

    My dog Kiesha bows to chuck. The most viewed dog around. Gee, and I thought mine was the attention whore/most neurotic dog.
    Kiesha decided yesterday to think ahead to her death. Even though she is barely 15 months old, she dug a 3 foot deep whole so we can easily bury her..just in case. She then threw herself at the back door with mud splattering in a 6 foot circle to ensure I understood she was being neglected. Then proceeded to shake in the house when let in.
    She looked at me like I was crazy when I told her to get in that bathtub or I WILL use that damn hole..NOW!! She’s lucky I love her to no end…

  • I always wish I could bring my cat to work. He’s so cute and hilarious that I know everyone would love him.

    But some people have “allergies.”

    Whatev.

  • I am from Texas.(stop laughing) Many farmers and ranchers here take their dogs to work with them. My husband is one that does not,sadly.

    However, our 12 yr old daughter is getting a puppy for Christmas and I can only hope to get to chauffeur the dear furball of cuteness around. I chauffeur the kids around, why not the dog?

    Just hope my 6 yr old takes to the dog. She detests my mother’s standard poodle but I’m thinking that’s just because it’s a freaking poodle.

    It’s so great to be able to comment.

  • cb

    How is it that Leta’s teacher doesn’t know that you’re an Internet phenomenon and that, if she wanted to, without breaking any laws, she could know much, much more than whether or not you have a dog?

    I mean, I understand that not everyone is an obsessive cyberstalker of random families in Utah, and that there is life outside of the Internet, but it’s just cracks me up that this is so.

    All she has to do is Google leta armstrong dog and there you go.

    Also, Chuck is (or was, anyway) sponsored by HP and has his own high-quality wall calendar. Does that make you a crazy dog person? I don’t know. Does it make Chuck the awesomest mutt on the planet? I think so.

  • Gabip

    Our dog goes “bye bye car” with us all the time, every time, she is part of the family. We even drive her through McDonald’s every Sunday for her weekly cheeseburger, hold the pickls thank you very much. Woof!

  • When I was a teenager my mother and step-father acquired a mini poodle from some old lady who couldn’t take care of it anymore. Her name was Missy and I loved her like mad. She was just small and sweet and loved it when I took her for rides in the car.

    On one particular ride with Missy I went through this local drive through called the Drive-thru Dairy. They sold milk, bread and other assorted items that you might need but not want to get out of the car to get. When I got up to the window to pay the cashier saw Missy and said “Would you like a treat for your dog?” I said sure, why not, she’d love it. They proceeded to hand me this Milk Bone biscit that was as big as she was. I gave Missy the treat when we got home and she looked at me like I had grown a second head. If she could have spoken I’m pretty sure she would have said “This is a joke, right?”

    Anyway…the point I’m trying to make is that you driving Chuck everywhere isn’t weird at all. Everyone I know who has a dog does this. They drive their dogs to the store, to pick the kids up from school and mostly just because dogs like it.

  • Michelle

    Good job on keeping up with the walks. My dog is super jealous!

    I saw you guys out on a walk with Chuck the other day, thought to myself that the dog was super cute and looked very familiar – looked at the people and recognized them too. I had to immediately call my husband and tell him that I saw Chuck the Dog in real life! He is even cuter in person.

    The new website is looking great as well!

  • Rebecca

    I can top that. Our Bean lies on her bed in the corner while “this” and “that” are happening, loudly and repeatedly sighing. It’s the kind of sigh you might expect from someone who has just been told that their airplane will be stuck on the runway for the next eight hours, with only the on-flight movie, Are We There Yet?, for entertainment. She’s just that bored and underwhelmed. But as bad as the sighing is, the worst is when, near the finish line, if you know what I mean, she starts snoring very, very loudly. That right there just kills your mojo.

  • At least Leta hasn’t attempted to EAT Chuck’s tail.
    This is pretty much the reason why my cat chooses to leave the room every time my nephew crawls in.

  • Yup – have dog will travel. Our lab seems to get drowsey when we put her in the back of the beetle.

    Oh — and by the way — you did break their server – I can’t see any pictures (Posters about modesty and grooming standards for students at BYU (oops, I think I might have killed their server))

    😉

  • And it’s because of entries like this that you are the Queen of the Internets.

    Brilliant.

  • kirtyhoo

    At our house, I’ve completely forgotten that Beasley’s a dog. On most days, he beats out my husband and teenagers as my favorite child. Doesn’t require unlimited texting, doesn’t promise to put up Christmas lights and do the dishes, and doesn’t roll over first thing in the morning and start hinting about getting my day off with a bang! Isn’t that why God invented coffee?

    Anyhoo, Beasley LOVES going for rides and has discovered that our local drive-thru coffee shop has Milkbone treats. Yesterday, we failed to roll his window down as we pulled up for our order. There he was poking his head up front until the gal said, “can your dog have a treat?”. Bliss. Mind you, Beasley HATES Milkbone biscuits at home. We’re convinced that he’s got a thing for the cute barista.

    Puts a smile on my face when I see other dogs riding up front with their parents — I know that’s a good-hearted person.

  • OH yes, I can relate. Our 2 dogs live in our car! Ha, a day isn’t complete without a C-A-R-R-I-D-E.

  • Lovesick Billy

    We take our Yorkie everywhere too; you’re not mad. More importantly, does your notoriety/fame conspicuously affect Leta’s teachers and the other parents? Do you suspect that in the vast cultural landscape which is SLC, that they’re not holding secret pools to wager on whom gets mentioned first? Just curious. Love ya, mean it.

  • This is not really relevant, but I just wanted to say thankyou for linking to etsy sellers in your daily style section. I get so excited when I see you mention specific sellers, and then their views skyrocket! I’m addicted to Etsy!

  • Dogs are part of the family. If the family goes out, why wouldn’t the dog go out, too? If the family sleeps on beds, why wouldn’t the dog, also, sleep on a bed?

    It’s only logical.

  • Katrena

    My husband hates animals so I have to live vicarously through you. When I was a kid we took our dog everywhere too. He always wanted to go with us – then we he got in the car, he would always freak out and act miserable. This happened every time! You think he would learn his lesson. I guess he was a glutton for punishment. I miss that dog.

  • Is GEORGE! going to do a series of tutorials on the pineapple bomb and the target spitting?
    Jules

  • I love to go like this and like that…now that’s funny.

    Your blog is just phenomenal and I never miss a day.

    I want you to adopt me. I have skills:

    I cook like MAD and I’m GREAT at it.
    I drive an 18-wheeler (I don’t know when this would come in handy, but it’s a cool skill).
    I baby-sit (dogs and kids).
    I know where Utah is.
    I own thousands of lipglosses which I am willing to share.
    Oh, there are just too many others to list….

    You rock. Leta is the bomb. Jon is an Angel and Chuck……well, Chuck just deserves smooches!!!

    Ciao!

  • LMR

    Haha, Heather really did kill the BYU server!
    I really wanted to see those pictures as well, and now they have a comment up saying: “We’re currently experiencing an extremely high volume of traffic. Thumbnails and images may not load correctly during this time.” Damn!

  • Elaine

    I have a senior citizen Yorkie-Poo pound puppy who’s now about 14 years old. When it’s cold out, I heat up a doggie heat disc in the microwave, and he sits on that in the front seat. When my husband rides with us, Biscuit looks like he’s seriously inconvenienced to sit in the back with the kids.

    Love, Love, Love your blog, and look forward to it daily!

  • Hannah

    I wonder if BYU is going to figure out that you’re the reason they have so many visitors? You’ll have to keep us posted if you hear from their webmaster.

  • When I was six, I wrote a small essay at school about how my parents didn’t allow me to have breakfast, ever. Apparently my parents underwent quite the interrogation from my teacher after that. I have no recollection of this event or why I would possibly have made such a claim, so all I can say is: at least Leta’s outlandish stories have SOME grounding in reality.

  • I love Chuck. Seriously, I love your dog and your stories about your dog – they are the best part of this website. Well, that and the fact that you are the goddess of the internets.

  • I love to read your stories. You make me laugh and I thank you for that. I enjoy reading about your family and Chuck. I believe that children have fantastic imaginations limitless because they do not know the boundaries that we do. It is for this reason that I will be working with children (I’m an Elem Ed major) and not adults.

  • Chuck is grossed out by human sex? That sounds refreshing compared to my house, where we sometimes have to block the cats from climbing on us or taking our distractedness as an opportunity to sniff our nipples.

  • megan

    I take my dog Buddy Holly everywhere with me, too. Today he got his own scoop of ice cream at the frozen custard place (fed to him with a spoon, no less, because he flips the bowl when he tries to lick it out) and then he got to ride in a tow truck.

  • First of all, let me tell you that you are absolutely hilarious and I LOVE your blog!

    I AM a dog-obsessed person. Heck, my blog is titled and based on my dogs. I have three Border Collies, and they are the loves of my life (other than my husband… sometimes). I’m one of those persons who has no human children of her own, so she treats and talks about her dogs as if they were her children… yeah, I get strange looks and comments ALL the time… but I don’t care – I know I’m wacky.

  • Tara’s Mom

    I didn’t think there could be anybody else on the planet that experiences life the way I do…and then I found you! You are a reason!

    Love the new site!

  • Anna

    In my family, bringing dogs along in the car for no reason other than “because they want to come along” is perfectly normal.

    DOG IS YOUR CO-PILOT

  • Kat

    Fabulous post.

    I was not expecting an open comments section, much less one filled with tales of lovin’ in front of one’s dogs.

    I am so happy right now!