the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Smelling of puppy breath

Last night it was my turn to take over the night shift with Coco, which means I had to sleep in the spare bedroom next to her crate and be available to take her outside when she needed to go to the bathroom. We know she is capable of going several hours without needing to go out, she did it the first night she was with us, slept nine straight hours and woke up refreshed and chipper and so incomprehensibly sweet that I gained five pounds just by looking at her face. But that was just a trick. A lie! An EVIL UNTRUTH. Because the second night she was here she woke up every single hour and cried until we took her out. And I had a hard time not calling her names and making crass jokes about her mother behind her back.

She’s down to two times a night now, and we’re trying to break her of one of those times, but she’s not having it, and last night I only got two hours and 24 minutes of sleep. But that’s okay because tonight it’s Jon’s turn with Miniature Satan, and I get to sleep in our king-sized bed alone after a brief affair with a large dose of Nyquil. I plan to kiss it with tongue.

Remarkably, I’m not feeling panicked about living with a puppy like I did when Chuck was this age, and that’s due to a number of reasons. One, we’re not living in an apartment where every thirty minutes I have to run down a long hall, down one flight of stairs, across 20 yards of concrete to the one patch of grass on the block. Here she has a huge yard to roam, and all I do is open the back door and point outside. Chuck reluctantly accompanies her and, following his lead, they both begin sniffing and circling the yard going, no, not there, not there either, maybe here? No, not here, wait, not yet, I think I’m getting closer, here? YES. HERE. THIS IS THE SPOT I WAS LOOKING FOR. Because that spot of yard is so very different from the THOUSANDS OF OTHER SPOTS IN THE YARD. DOGS ARE SO WEIRD.

It’s also quite nice to have an extra set of hands around, and knowing that Jon can take over watching her when I’m needed elsewhere has made it so that I’m not at all anxious even though I haven’t slept more than a total of 10 hours in the last week. And maybe it’s because Chuck was such a frat boy when he was a puppy and Coco is more of a scientist, but it’s just so much easier this time because her level of shitness is so much more manageable than his level of shitness. She doesn’t bite us or hide under the bed where we cannot reach her, she doesn’t steal toilet paper off the roll and leave it in saliva-soaked piles along a path from the bathroom to a mound of poop in the middle of the kitchen. Chuck was such a turd, and I remember one of those long nights that I stayed up with Leta when she was just a few months old thinking, yeah, this is hard, but at least she’s not chewing on my underwear.

Also, she’s just so adorable that having her around makes me feel like my veins have been injected with glitter. It’s impossible to focus on the sleepless nights when you walk from one room to another and she’s so excited to see you that her tiny docked tail starts wagging so hard that it makes her whole body tip over, like HI! IT’S YOU AGAIN! I HAVEN’T SEEN YOU IN AT LEAST TEN SECONDS!


  • Cindi

    2008/01/09 at 2:04 pm

    She is precious!

    Now go get some sleep woman!

  • Cyndi

    2008/01/09 at 2:05 pm

    Wow, she is so cute.. makes me want a second dog.

  • gypsy

    2008/01/09 at 2:06 pm

    I want her. Give her to me now. I think you snatched her from my womb.

  • Lisa DR

    2008/01/09 at 2:06 pm

    Coco is absolutely adorable. Makes me want another pup myself…almost. And your photos are gorgeous!

  • Scargosun

    2008/01/09 at 2:06 pm

    “veins have been injected with glitter”

    I LOVE this phrase. May I use it with reckless abandon?

    Coco is heartbreakingly adorable!

  • Tarbendingwench

    2008/01/09 at 2:06 pm

    What a doll! These pictures make me want to hold and kiss her!

  • Amy

    2008/01/09 at 2:06 pm

    The little eyebrow whiskers just complete it.

  • Danny

    2008/01/09 at 2:07 pm

    I think it is funny how she has white eyebrows, just like old men.
    Although she defenitely has a puppylook in her eyes.

    Truly adorable.

  • Jessica

    2008/01/09 at 2:07 pm

    Posts about puppies and monthly newsletters make me happy! There is no other smell on the planet that compares to the foulness of puppy breath [except maybe a pile of bat poo?].

    Have a happy sleep!

  • Casey

    2008/01/09 at 2:07 pm

    Oh my goodness. If I don’t watch myself Coco is going to make me add to my brood.

    Thanks for the brief respite from the workday!

  • Shelly

    2008/01/09 at 2:08 pm

    I have SUCH a case of puppy-envy, I can hardly STAND it.

  • Joy

    2008/01/09 at 2:08 pm

    She is so cute. And looks happy and obedient. 🙂

  • Karen

    2008/01/09 at 2:08 pm

    She really is the cutest thing this side of the Miss-i-ssip.

  • Krissi

    2008/01/09 at 2:08 pm

    “THIS IS THE SPOT I WAS LOOKING FOR. Because that spot of yard is so very different from the THOUSANDS OF OTHER SPOTS IN THE YARD.”

    Two of our three dogs are rather quick with picking just the right ‘spot’… but our Yorkie is insane. She would slowly walk every inch of grass (for about half an hour) and then, upon finding “the spot” she would turn around in circles two dozen times, if we let her.

    Still, I love my dogs… and I love the dog pictures on your site, because now I feel less guilty about posting more pictures of my (furry) babies and less of my (human) baby. 😛 At least I’m not the only one…

  • Darcie

    2008/01/09 at 2:09 pm

    Also, had to mention my love of the veins/glitter phrase. Your photos of Coco are giving me that same sensation. TOO CUTE!

  • Sarah

    2008/01/09 at 2:10 pm

    She’s totally going to have a poopy windchime, eating string and all.

  • Kelly

    2008/01/09 at 2:11 pm

    My husband is currently longing for a dog. He wants someone to be excited when he comes home from work. A cat and an eight month pregnant woman doesn’t really cut it right now.

  • Kat

    2008/01/09 at 2:12 pm

    I am convinced that God created puppies to be so damned adorable so that we wouldn’t flush them down the toilet. Which is what I wanted to do most of the time my little lab was a pup. But it’s over so fast that you MUST enjoy it now. She’s the bees knees!

  • VinnyGirl

    2008/01/09 at 2:13 pm

    Coco Puff is so cute that it almost made me cry.

  • Melissa

    2008/01/09 at 2:15 pm

    This post makes me want to run out and get a dog and I’m not a dog person. Coco is truly the cutest little puppy, I just want to snuggle up with her and take a long winters nap…well at least until she needs to go out to tinkle…

  • andrea

    2008/01/09 at 2:17 pm

    She is likely the cutest pup I’ve ever laid eyes on, but please don’t tell my own dog I said that. I think I want one just like her and I think the pictures might just convince my husband of the need for a second dog. Thanks.

  • KMac

    2008/01/09 at 2:17 pm

    Wow…I made it in the top 30 comments!! Dooce – long time reader, first time writer/commenter. I thoroughly enjoy your website…and I’ve even been checking out !GEORGE!’s, too!! 🙂 Keep up the great work! PS…why the name Coco???

  • jodi

    2008/01/09 at 2:18 pm

    She is adorable! I look forward to more Coco pictures. It’s the closest I can come to the experience that is PUPPY right now.

  • ally simpson

    2008/01/09 at 2:19 pm

    I showed this to my wife and now i am getting nagged about how we need a dog!! hehe

  • smalltown mom

    2008/01/09 at 2:19 pm

    Look at those eyebrows!

  • Emery Jo

    2008/01/09 at 2:19 pm

    hahaha, “…at least she’s not chewing on my underwear.” Funniest thing EVER.

  • Angie

    2008/01/09 at 2:19 pm

    Oh the cuteness! I’ve had Shelties since I was a little girl and a close friend recently adopted an Aussie. Different activity level to be sure – but man, the herding breeds ROCK! So smart and so eager to please. Training is a breeze in comparison to other pups.

    Good luck, Heather and congratulations!

  • Joy

    2008/01/09 at 2:20 pm

    I beg of you, please stop making me want to get another puppy!

  • honi

    2008/01/09 at 2:20 pm

    Is that an Aussie, I have australian lab mix and she is the most wonderful creature on earth I also have black lab who is pretty wonderful too… I want another Aussie mix so bad and those tri colors are what I want too.. lucky you .. she is a blessing… have fun..

  • red

    2008/01/09 at 2:20 pm

    she is so. cute.

    and i’m so glad you’re still doing the newsletters. i’ve been reading them since leta was a little frog and i just love them!

  • UB

    2008/01/09 at 2:20 pm


    I really feel for Chuck. Our dog is an Omega, and her life improved immeasurably when the Old Alpha died off.

  • Big Momma Pimpalishisness

    2008/01/09 at 2:22 pm

    Ugh… I still truly believe that raising a child is less trouble than taking care of a dog. I’m sticking to my cat, who, though obnoxious beyond belief at times, poops in a litter box and requires absolutely no assistance in doing so.

  • jenn benn

    2008/01/09 at 2:22 pm

    I am convinced there is nothing cuter on the face of the earth than a baby animal. Coco is a prime example.

  • Sara

    2008/01/09 at 2:23 pm

    My friend and her sister have four Australians between the two of them, and if I had to get a large dog, I probably would get one of them. They are super smart, and great around kids. I am not a dog person. I am glad you have a large yard for Coco…you are going to need it.

  • Friday

    2008/01/09 at 2:23 pm

    You’d better patent the glitter injection phrase or there will be a million bloggers going, “There is glitter! In my veins! You know, because I’m sooo happy! Like a glitzed-out junky who just won the giant glitter needle lottery!”

    Your dog – I can actually envision putting her snout in my mouth, it’s just that cute.

  • Heather

    2008/01/09 at 2:23 pm

    Love the white eyebrow whiskers- she looks like a Muppet!

  • De in D.C.

    2008/01/09 at 2:23 pm

    Funny how the circle of life goes. My 15yo dog now has to be let out several times during the night, and every day I come home from work to find a minimum of 3 puddles around the house. Poor old gal. She’s almost as cute as Coco though, which lets me forgive her every day.

    I keep saying when she’s gone we’ll get a cat, but if you continue posting these adorable pics, I’m going to crack and get another dog! I’m not a dog person! lol

  • Christianne

    2008/01/09 at 2:24 pm

    Oh my gosh, Coco is so cute and sweet. Except for when she’s being like Satan, I’m sure.

    I love the way you write. I loved reading this post. You make me laugh aloud with your inventive ways of saying things. And your photographs are so, so wonderful.

    Thank you for maintaining this site. It brightens my day each day!

  • kjc

    2008/01/09 at 2:25 pm

    Ok… here it is the secret. She obviously able to go all night without peeing. So…
    Depending on when you go to bed… say 10… pick up her water at 8… Make sure she was one last potty time before bed. Arm yourself with a rolled up magazine… And whenever she squeeks, barks, howls, etc. Smack the top of the crate with the magazine and say No, QUIET.

    And here is the hard part… Do not let her get her way. She has you twisted around her cute little tail. Don’t do it, don’t get up, don’t talk her. You’ll have one or two nights with little sleep and peaceful slumber for many many more.

    Dogs rarely will mess in their own bed. Unless they’re just stupid and untrainable, but not Coco. She is not a maltese.

    I also recommend the book… Mother Knows Best by Carol Lea Benjamin.

    Grown and raised by English Springer Spaniels and English Cocker Spaniels for over 46 years.

  • Spring

    2008/01/09 at 2:27 pm

    Oh, Jesus. Those first few puppy months are so incredibly difficult. And so incredibly WORTH IT.

    I said to my husband several times that we should’ve just had a baby. I’m sure kids are great and all, but I’m also pretty sure that there’s no way any child of mine would love me as unconditionally as my sweet doggie does.

  • thebluestbutterfly

    2008/01/09 at 2:27 pm

    What a beautiful puppy. Your blog looks interesting. I had heard of it before but I don’t think that I have ever visited….until I read about it on “BuzzAgent.” I will be back to explore more. 🙂

  • Becky

    2008/01/09 at 2:29 pm

    1) she is too cute to stand
    2) this is so good for me to read because in a few months my son and I getting our dream puppy, a Golden Retriever. Your blog brings me back down to earth and remember this ain’t all puppy breath and kisses. It’s chewed up shoes, underwear and sleepless nights. But still. SO EXCITED!
    3) did I mention how cute she is?

  • Mrs.Strizzay

    2008/01/09 at 2:30 pm

    Yeah but can she balance stuff on her face? ;0)

  • Melanie

    2008/01/09 at 2:30 pm

    She really is adorable. What a dollface!
    I’ve always sort of nursed a soft spot for female dogs over males… especially when they’re pups. Females, to me, seem to carry a little more sweetness and are a teeny bit easier to deal with.
    Every male pup I’ve ever had has been such an angry young dude, while all my females have been much easier to discipline.
    However! It’s been a hundred and a half years since the last time I owned a dog, so I might be generalizing through rose-colored glasses. And also mixing metaphors, or whatever.
    Either way, Coco is adorable.

  • Lizi

    2008/01/09 at 2:31 pm

    Seconds on you being puppy-whipped.
    We never could find a wind-up clock to simulate the sound a the Momma Dog’s heartbeat. We’re musicians. We have metronomes. Tick-tock-tick-tock. Full night’s sleep when puppy was properly emptied and kenneled for the night.
    OK, you catch a break because Coco is too stinkin’ cute. I’d be a little whipped myself, but don’t tell anyone.

  • Bluestalking Reader

    2008/01/09 at 2:32 pm

    Girlfriend, one look at Coco had me running to the animal shelter. I brought home TWO CATS. They happen to be two of the coolest cats on the planet thankyouverymuch. At least when they’re not barfing on the rug (transition’s a bitch).

    They’ve just recently emerged from under the bed, and I’ve put up some photos of them on my blog. Nothing too creative yet. One thing about cats, they don’t freaking sit still when you come near them. They’re all PET ME, LOVE ME, SCRATCH ME BEHIND THE EARS!


    But Coco. Damn. She’s so sweet looking it gives me cavities just looking at her. What a total babe!

    Hope she gets the hang of the poop thing soon. And yeah, that’s a weird thing to say to a total stranger. Gotta love the internet.

  • Tasty

    2008/01/09 at 2:32 pm

    She’s almost a freaking cute as Chuck! How did you get two on that level of adorable? Fantastic!

  • Melissa

    2008/01/09 at 2:32 pm

    Ditto all the remarks about your writing and photography–you are a pro, and it’s always a pleasure to check your site. Thanks!

    As for Miss Coco-licious…sigh. I love other people’s puppies. Thanks for sharing the not-so-fun with the fun. You’re going to LOVE having a herding breed, except for those times when you don’t. It’s amazing how much focus and drive and heart and BRAINS these dogs have and your life is richer for bringing her into it.

    Of course, she’s also a lucky puppy to come into a home with not only a canine mentor but a kid who doesn’t want to maul her and two adults who are head over heels.

  • Kim

    2008/01/09 at 2:35 pm

    Oh, she’s soooo pretty! And I am jealous, as my 17 month old beagle STILL isn’t totally housebroken and is still acting at the level of shitness that Chuck did when he was only months old. I love the little dude, but it makes me jealous to find out that someone has a small puppy that is better behaved ;-(

  • Allison

    2008/01/09 at 2:35 pm

    She is so freakin’ cute, she almost doesn’t look real! I’ve often wondered about the dog-yard mystery. What exactly ARE the characteristics of the ideal spot of lawn to dump a smelly poop onto? And why can’t they find it any faster??

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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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