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.

  • Anonymous

    I always took my dog (golden retriever) wherever I went. She knew what kind of day we were going to have by the way I dressed in the morning. If I dressed up, it meant we were going for a ride, if it was jeans, it was a stay home day.

    I love Chuck!

  • Someone’s been watching my favorite show The Dog Whisperer.

    I take my dog wherever I can, she loves being involved in things, it makes her happy. And a happy dog doesn’t poop in the house.

  • Pam

    Every time we ya know, have sex, Our lab eats my husbands underwear as retribution for making Mommy go like “that”.

  • my friend from work does the same thing…. every morning when her husband would drop her off, there’d be puma, the italian greyhound sitting in her warmed seat looking at us as her husband pulled away from the curb.

    i don’t have pets, so speaking as an outsider, i always thought it was kind of cute…. not that weird at all. now people with the dog strollers… that crosses a line for me.

  • Misstress of Mixology

    Brilliant piece, as always.

    Dooce, you’re magnificent. Please keep up the excellence.

  • Alex

    Just wanted to join the others here who have thanked you for your website, writing, funny stories etc.

    I check your website everyday with anticipation of your latest story – and of course LOVE the pictures of Chuck!

  • Ellen

    We have four dogs, and this is essentially the treatment they get: One of them will misbehave, but then she’ll wag her tail with sickening cuteness and beg and beg and BEG for whatever she wants until someone gives in. I can totally relate to that entry.

  • Forget about going this way or that way, Hooper goes so far as to physically separate Sean and I if we even so much as have a fully clothed loving embrace in the hallway.

    And, dude, Hooper goes EVERYWHERE with us. He just loves car rides, nothin wrong with that.

  • Excuse me while I wipe the tears from my eyes, because I was laughing so hard. If I ever pee my pants reading your stuff at work, you are in big trouble Ms. Wondrous Being of Light and Splendor. Please sprinkle some dooce dust on me, so I too can write at least half as good as you do.

  • hellohahanarf

    i had to buy a larger vehicle in order to take my pups with me. the “little one” (50 pounds) takes up the entire front seat and the “puppy” (90 pounds) takes up the whole back seat so i couldn’t carry a passenger unless i got a bigger car than my little old volvo. so now we have a 7 passenger suv. for me and my 2 dogs. try not to judge me. or make fun of me.

    p.s. “dooce dust” cracked me up, john l.

  • Anonymous

    My dog loves bye-bye, too. But she is small and sits on my lap, but then wants to get as close to the outside as possible, so she tries to climb up on the dashboard. It is getting harder and harder to take her anywhere alone. Very short trips only. The guy across the street from us used to have a dauchshund (sp?) and would put it in the baby’s bike seat and take it for bike rides.

  • When my daughter won’t take her medicine, I always hold her favorite doll (a girl she named ‘Gary’) over the trash can until she takes it. It works almost as well as when I hold a big plastic spider over head and tell her to take her medicine before it eats her.

  • Ahh…Chuck. He’s so awesome.

    I take my often carsick dog with me as many places as I can. We always get a lot of smiles when we go for rides because she likes to watch the world go by.

  • I am glad I am not the only one who cannot throw away the Tarzhay circular for fear of retribution from my manic child. Not only that, but my father mails him the funnies from the Sunday Paper (even though we get the paper) and HE KEEPS EVERY STINKING ONE OF THEM. All of them. I cannot throw them away.

  • Good luck reading all this wonder you closed comments this is overwhelming.

    Dorothy from gramology
    remember to call your gram

  • Hope

    Hey you opened comments. Need comments more often! Just wanted to say – keep up the great job, your blog is the first blog ever to have gotten my attention. Now I blog too, but of course not nearly as amazingly as you

  • wrf3

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

    All in favor?

    So say we all.

  • Kathy G

    I have a Leta. Her name is Lydia (maybe it’s the “L” in their names?) Okay, Lydia’s not as cute and adorable as your Leta (I say that because this is, after all, your blog). When she was Leta’s age I had to peel her off the floor about as often as you do. I wish I’d had a camera to take fun pictures of her temper tantrums. Now she’s 11. She doesn’t throw screaming fits as much these days but I do what you do and cut to the threat of immediate horrible punishment. Obey or you can’t have your birthday party. Obey or you can’t go swimming with your friends. Whatever it is. One night it was you can’t bake the cookie dough you just made. You’d have thought an earthquake had split apart our house with the amount of wailing that transpired. But it works! Wonder of wonder. It prompts obedience. At least for now.

  • Shar

    WAH 🙁
    I wanna see the pic of Chuck using the toilet!


  • I agree, the bringing it full circle is what you do best. And it inspires me to be a better writer.

  • OK – I had typed this comment once about an hour ago, but the blogosphere ate it… so, I’m typing it again.

    I wanted to tell you that I think you are absolutely hilarious and a wonderful writer – I love your blog.

    Also, I wanted to say that I am a self-proclaimed dog-addict. I have three Border Collies (and I want more dogs), and they are the loves of my life (besides my husband… sometimes). I am one of those persons who does not have any children of my own, so I treat and talk about my dogs like they are my children… yes, I get the strange looks and whispering behind my back… but, I don’t care – I’ve accepted that I’m wacky and I’m proud of it 🙂

  • sara

    I laughed, I cried.

    Oh, and another vote for Valedictorian of the Internet. However, you will be required to wear a sash and tiara at all times.

  • i am curious, was chuck the dog the first child?

    if so, this is all starting to make sense to me.

    p.s. good thing cousin chuck moved out, although i think he might miss your home cookin’

  • dukesucks

    the litmus test for my mate: he must be agreeable to a little italian greyhound and an unmovable rock of a pit bull in bed with us. because yes, i am a crazy dog person also.

    it worked out. we’ve been happily together with our dog children for 3 years.

  • I miss that about teaching daycare- kids have the most bizare perspective on the world. Recently I found a book I made at that age in school where I said my mom’s favorite food was salad. In retrospect, bless her heart, the woman was dieting- she had three kids. It made me wanna buy her a steak and a plate of gooey pasta immediately.

  • Okay, enough already! I am a bad dog parent – and I know it. I KNOW that I need to walk my dog daily – so dammit, now that you’ve done it, I have no excuse. You and Cesar.

    At least it sounds like it really HAS improved the Chuck relationship – so maybe my dog will act normal if I do this.

    DAMN the peer pressure!

  • I have been reading your blog since before Leta was born. I am a huge fan of Chuck’s and love that he’s going for walks every day. Dogs love their walks! I also love that Leta thinks he lives in the car.

    Because of circumstances beyond my control, I’m about to move to SLC. Yes, it’s true. Buddha and Stella and I (Oh, I know you don’t know who we are, but wait…maybe we’ll bump into you and Chuck on a walk??) will soon be going for our twice daily walks every day in SLC instead of in Santa Cruz. I’ve been promised there are decent dog parks there!

    I’m just hoping my spoiled Labradors think the snow is just as much fun as the beach. Perhaps Chuck can show them how to balance things on their heads so they think this move is more than just a change of address for their dog mama and instead is about learning new tricks?

  • wait a minute….where’s the photo of chuck on the toilet????

  • Love the post! And I love the tale of redemption-through-daily-walking so much I’m going to use it to illustrate an earnest dog-walking post. We’re new to puppy ownership down under here, and were deeply dismayed the first time things went like this and like that and the dog decided to play “let’s make a groodle sandwich…”

  • Katie

    My dog hides in her crate and cowers while we, um, do this and that, if you know what I mean. There was that one time, though, that I think she got disoriented and hopped on the bed and accidentally touched my husband’s nether regions with her nose. It traumatized both of them. If she hears the slightest sounds of lovin’ now, she hops off the bed faster than you can blink. She’s even been known to CLOSE the crate door behind her, somehow.

  • mrf

    great post. What a concept, the dog getting off the bed when mommy and daddy have “special couple time.” Our three standard poodles just stay up on the bed thru the whole thing , one of them always lays on the other side of me till it is “done.” God, typing this I realize that it’s wrong … just weird and so wrong. Perhaps Chuck could have a workshop for other dogs? His breakout session, “When The Lights Go Out: Are They At it Again?”

  • Heather I love reading your blog so much! It always brightens my mood. Thanks so much for sharing your stories and observations for the greater good of the internet and my life 🙂

  • Alicia

    You make me laugh, Heather!

    Keep up the great work 🙂

  • Lynn

    My parent’s little dog totally starts humping her stuffed animals when the passion starts. And it’s really scary that I know this.

  • Anonymous

    Our friends took their 3 year old girl shopping. They got to the checkout with the items, and the mother realised she didn’t have enough cash on her, and said so. Their daughter piped up ‘That’s because you spent all our money on Whiskey!’

    Silence and a stare from the checkout operator, until she explained that their dog is named Whisky, and they had just been to buy him a new bed.

  • I find it perfectly normal to bring the dog along in the car – all the time. In fact, when I grew up, we sometimes took the dog for a ride solely to please the dog. This dog simply loved car riding. No, dogs in cars make totally sense to me.

  • Taking your dog around in your car is totally normal… and to be honest, I’m not even that weirded out by the toilet picture, but I do find it unnerving when people put sweaters on their dogs. It’s just so redundant.

  • Word to the poster who said crazy dog person sounds much saner than crazy cat person. If I could get my cat in the car I would, but she’d just bolt. We’ve only just accepted that if she wants to go out, she has to get in the carrier. (The leash thing? Did not work.)

  • I wish I lived in Utah so I could send my four year old son to school with Leta. He loves controlling women with unreasonable demands, and their packrat tendencies would go so well together. It’d be a match made in OCD-impossible-to-please heaven.

  • Icanread

    you=word wizard.

  • Icanread

    you want me dead??????oh mannnnn. My word verification for my last comment was “must suicidal”. I mean, you just could have SAID it Heather,,,,sobbing ensues.

  • JA

    This is why I so love reading your blog…

    Thank you.

  • Oliver, the cutest wiener dog ever, goes everywhere with us, so it’s totally normal for Chuck to be your co-pilot.

  • Joy

    I too cannot resist my dog Wilbur’s eyes when it comes to drving in the car. In fact, he’s doing it right now…gotta go.

  • Anonymous

    That is hilarious! You have a talent for communicating the simple things in life in a way that I can’t help but laugh out loud!

  • Rach

    I do so wish my dog was able to enjoy a car ride; all she does is squirm around and vault over the seats and make a traffic hazard of herself. The cat wasn’t too pleased about not being allowed to sit on my feet as I drive, so she’s out too.

    I love your blog and I try to read each and every post as far back as I can manage, before going completely loopy. Thanks for brightening my day and teaching me to look at things differently 🙂

  • Sarah

    I think you should give Leta’s teacher a Chuckles calendar, it will all be perfectly clear to her then.

    (btw .. just rec’d mind, it is BEAUTIFUL..)

  • Chuck lives in a van down by the river! Sorry I couldn’t help myself. He totally is a motivational dog of sorts.

  • LikeALurker

    Nothing cute, smart or funny to write – it’s just that COMMENTS ARE OPEN, so I must COMMENT !

  • “sometimes he goes like this, and he would very much like for me to go like that”

    hahaha.. story of every guys life. thanks for the reminder heather!

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