An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

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!


  • Jackie

    Congratulations! I love the tri-colors, she’s so pretty! I have an Australian Shepherd (full size) myself (Hank). We adopted him as a 2 year old nearly 6 years ago and he is a complete joy and only mildly retarded. There is something about Aussies… they are just too funny and smart. I had always read that they are full of energy and like to tear into shit when they don’t get enough exercise, but ours is the laziest piece of shit ever (unless he’s at the park, then he’s the fastest laziest dog of all time). Congrats again and more pics plz!

  • Katie

    She is seriously cute. I know the glee you feel. I got my dog when she was 12 months, but she was still pretty much a puppy. She came from a shelter, and had bounced from home to home, mainly because her separation anxiety was such that she would go nuts. She chewed through a metal crate until her paws and mouth bled when I first got her. After months of training her, she is now a very normal dog for the most part. And I went through all that because she is such an amazing little person. I say person, which Cesar Milan would frown at, but I really do feel that she is my little child. Sure, she’s a child I shove off the couch with my foot when I am eating chocolate chip cookies and she stares at me with her yearning eyes, but she is my child nonetheless. The joy a doggie brings is unlike any other. It’s a wonderful feeling. Congrats on Coco. And I am sure one of these nights, you will all get a good night’s rest! Don’t give in to the whining!

  • Those eyebrows! HOW can anyone resist THOSE EYEBROWS????? SO CUTE! Glitter in the veins…that is just the perfect way to describe it. It’s how I feel when I look at her cute little pictures! That’s how puppies should make EVERYONE feel!

  • I lived with a Great Dane puppy with a diarrhea problem for a year, in an apartment like you mentioned – down the long hall, elevator, lobby, small patch of now diarrhea-encrusted grass. So worth it though, she was like a terribly cute baby deer.

    Just found your blog recently and spent Christmas vacation reading most of the archives! I love your writing, this is a fantastic blog.

  • My puppy is a year old and I’m always amazed that she is so happy to see me whether its because I was gone all day or we were napping together and we couldn’t visualize each other for an hour. She has completely boosted my spirits with her enthusiasm and cuteness.

    Coco is like a shot a glitter to the veins for sure.

  • Mely

    She is so cute!!!! and hey very soon will be over, she will hold for at least 6 hrs….I think that she is getting ready to have her own Daily Picture taken…at least I am looking forward to that!!!

  • Oh my gosh!!! She is so cute! I wish our now 30 lb. puppy of 6 months was back to her 5 lb. puff ball self – ahhhh, the good old days when she didn’t bark at sticks or the air….when she didn’t try to dig to China every time we leave her outside for .2 seconds…!

  • AWWWWWWWW!!!!!

    the cuteness! oh, the cuteness.
    i laughed aloud reading this. in between clutching my heart because of the cuteness.


  • Sherlock was a PAIN to housebreak. He got up at 11pm, 1am, 3am and was awake and done with the crate and ready for the day at 5:30 am. That was the first two weeks I had him and I cried and cried because I was so tired and such a bad dog mom who was obviously doing something wrong. Now I know it was just him being a turd. Now he holds it forever but still has to find the perfect spot to do his business.

    Sherlock is an Old English Sheepdog and has what I call a ‘wigglebutt’. It’s my favorite thing ever.

  • I could eat her up! Her coloring and symmetry is beautiful. Enjoy!

  • She is so cute!

    And oh, the sleeplessness. I remember those early days when we brought our now-seven-year-old dog Dobbs home. Thank god I’d booked a few weeks off work. I’d never been so tired in my life. But it was good practice for having kids a few years later. Sadly, you’re not allowed to crate-train your kids. And I wish potty-training was going as easily for my toddler as it did for my dog. Dobbs was housebroken within a week. My kid? Ha!

  • She is so stinking cute I can understand why you can’t be mad at her

  • Shepards of all varieties really are the cutest puppies ever! My friend’s border collie had a litter of six this summer and I got to take care of them. If you think 1 makes you feel like your veins are injected with glitter, just imagine six at one time!!!

  • Oh it’s a puppy, a puppy, a puppy!! Ahem – Sorry can’t control myself around puppies, I wouldn’t be able to function if we got a one, I would just hug it constantly. I’m bad enough with the three older dogs we have now – but their faces are just so cute.
    The Leta photos are beautiful too. A strange thing to say but it seems like she is starting to look like a real person now, instead of still a little kid. She looks so grown up in the first one.

  • Sally in Florida

    “veins have been injected with glitter”

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

    Me too!!! Me too!!

  • Susan

    Huh? “What’s with the crating?” It’s like asking, “What’s up with the crib? Seems so unnecessary.”

    Geezus, do some research on the subject before asking such a lame question, Yvette.

    Your puppy is absolutely precious. I went through the same thing last Christmas (got a yellow lab puppy)–crating and all–and those first few weeks are rough but well worth it. Enjoy your new baby!

  • Adorable Coco!

    We have an Australian Sheepdog also, her name is Jesse. She is a shot of glitter too (just not as sparkly and shimmering as Coco!).

    Have fun with her!

  • I remember those sleepless nights with Hooper. I forget exactly what my trainer said in regards to potty training timing but I think the rule is every week or two they learn to hold their pee an hour longer.

  • Anonymous

    Did I see that GEORGE! has a blog?! Please share the URL!!

  • My lab was a shit when she was a puppy too. So much so that I told my husband that we would never get another puppy. The only thing that saved her was that she was so stinkin’ cute! She finally grew out of her shitness about two years ago. She’s seven.
    My condolences to Chuck.
    Have fun with the puppiness!

  • She is so adorable!

    My Bailey was Miss Distructo, and she didn’t outgrow it until well after her first birthday.

    Shoes were her favorite, toliet paper was to die for and she also really liked stuffed animals. But the best was when my teenaged son came home for school to find my vibrator tore up all over the great room.

    Boy, was my face red!

  • Question for dooce – how do you get Coco to stay so still for the photos. My dogs act like they are hopped up on crack whenever I point a camera at them. Be honest, are you drugging them? A little shot of whiskey in the water bowl maybe

  • She is adorable. It’s funny how those puppies lie to you just long enough to become residents.

    We litter box trained our first dog, Charlotte. On the first day and night she had no problems and made it in the box perfectly. And then suddenly she forgot everything and started going wherever the heck she wanted to. But by then we were already far too attached. After a couple months she finally “got it”. She’s about 2 and a half now and I thought everything was in her little brain, but Monday night she just up and went on our throw rug. What the heck? Those little rats!

  • Christy

    I LOVE Coco! We got a puppy for Christmas – (crate trained, Yvette) and I have to go to work to give my lips a break from all the smooching!!! Ahhh- the smoochiness….. My husband and I are also getting much less sleep but it is sooo worth it. I love your site Heather! I can soooo relate.

  • Jennifer Erdosy

    my 6-month-old baby still makes me fell like my veins have been filled with glitter all the time.

    with humans, it lasts longer – about four years. then they stop thinking you know everything and start turning into teenagers. they’re still sweet part-time, but when they get to being able to THINK for themselves (not just know more than you, but THINK it through), they realize you don’t know everything.

    mother of two sons, age 10 and 8, and a surprise miracle baby girl!

  • Amy

    Thanks for clearing up the docking issue. They are trying to ban it here in NZ because it is really just done for looks. When I see a dog sans tail I’m not all OH YOU HAVE A DOCKED DOG, YOU EVIL PEOPLE, it’s more of a, is it REALLY necessary? What’s better than a dog with a waggy tail?
    Do you think you would have got Coco docked if you had the choice?

  • That face! No wonder you’re in love.

  • Vanessa S

    That is one of the best descriptions I have EVER heard!

    “makes me feel like my veins have been injected with glitter”

    Perfect way to describe the wonderful high of a new love!

  • Valeria

    Tail docking has reasons in specific breeds – some breeds have long fragile tails that would be damaged in normal life, etc. Ear cropping is much more a cosmetic issue – tail docking is one of those things that deserves more study rather than the knee-jerk reaction that it must be cruel and unnecessary.

    Some people think removing a puppy’s dewclaws is awful too – wait til they’ve had to rush a howling, bleeding copiously dog to the vet in the middle of the night (because that’s when stuff like this always happens) because the dewclaw got torn off.

  • Thank you so much for sharing. Your writing and photos simply lift my days and I can’t tell you how much I truly appreciate it.

    A side note – our daughter had a similar behavior with coughing and she grew out of it. For the longest time I thought she’d go off to college with that tic. After quite some time, she just gave it up. As if she never started it in the first place.

    They just don’t come with manuals and warnings, do they?

    Enjoy your puppy breath days and savor this 47th month.

  • You know puppy breath heals 2,390,391 different ailments, ya? She’s adorable. SOOOOO jealous. But I think the three pooches that live with us, and the one that is waiting to, are probably enough. Ugh.

    Wait a minute. If you’re OCD, how do you deal with the dog hair? Constant cleaning? If so, wanna come over? 🙂

  • Oh man, you hit the nail on the head with the going out to pee remarks.

    And seriously? Puppies are basically the best antidepressant out there since they invented Zoloft. I have two pugs to prove it!

  • Coco’s adorable, and the last picture of Leta in the previous post is gorgeous–maybe a little preview of Leta at 18, or something–

  • Julia

    We put a large throw/or blanket over the crate at night….when our dogs were puppies…and it seemed to work. They couldn’t see us if they did wake up in the night. Coco is adorable and I know you can’t stay mad at her….even at 3 a.m.

  • Stephanie

    So cute! Will you post another tutorial some time soon? I really want to know how you get your pictures to be so rich in color as well as the dark edges technique. Love your site and your precious puppies.

  • Myia

    A.Dor.Able. Almost as cute as my 10-wk old Border Collie, who was also a Christmas present, although was never a hippopotamus replacement.

    Regarding the taking-forever-to-poop issue…I am clicker training my Border Collie and it’s working like a charm. The first week I had him he took FOREVER to poop. Then I started clicking when he pooped and now he can’t wait for his rear end to hit the grass so he can drop a load. Dropping a load outside = getting a treat. Brilliant!

  • I totally forgot to mention. That little cough thing could be Tourette’s. I love the movie What About Bob, and they have that little Tourette’s fight. So then I had to look up Tourette’s because I needed to know for certain, and then it turns out Tourette’s does a lot of things that are more like tics than actually cussing fits. Of course, when I have a cussing fit, I still blame it on Tourette’s and hope the people I’m lying to don’t have access to the internet.

  • It doesn’t go miauw and it doesn’t act all arrogant and haughty, but ok, I have to admit, she is kind of cute.

    Ah crap, now I have to apologise to my cat.

  • Anonymous

    Clicker training is AWESOME! Great for smarty pants dogs like Aussies and Border Collies. Also a great way to teach them to sit still for the camera. I recommend to get started.

  • Our new puppy, Sarah Jessica Barker, who came to live with three days before Christmas, is systematically trying to eat the family with her tiny doggie teeth. In fact, she has been quite successful in this pursuit, especially with the kids. Have you any advice on how to survive this portion of puppyhood, since you’re probably going through the same thing?

  • Nothing better than a docked tail wag, nothing.

  • Pickle

    Our Aussie wanted to herd US. I swear he can count. Whenever someone left the room, he’d follow and bring that person back by nipping at the heels. Be glad Coco doesn’t do this. Methinks Leta would not recover..

    Otherwise, Aussies are amazing dogs, and all they want to do is serve. Miss Coco is adorable!

  • Sromeo

    Heather, you need to stop this. Or at least not do Leta and Coco posts in the same day…..because every time I come to your blog I cry of cuteness. The level of adorable is dangerous.

  • Ivy

    The white eye whiskers make me feel SO HAPPY! She is one of the most beautiful puppies I have ever seen.

    We recently rescued a 12 week-old Bullmastiff with a broken leg. We witnessed the accident and the bastards just drove off – HEARTLESS! He quadruples in size every two hours, but his cuteness brings me to tears and I forget he will soon be the size of a full-grown polar bear.

  • Pickle

    Oh, and yes, Rudy did stop the biting after well kept shoving him away from our feet. He still follows, though.

  • Jeff

    That is such a cool dog. I want twelve.

  • Katie with 2 boxers

    Damn. Beaten to the docked tail thing. I was going to ask how many hate mails you got about that. Like you had any choice. (Pups tails are docked before they’re 3-4 days old for anyone who didn’t know) I have two bare butt dogs – I’d share pics but they end up kind of like. . doggy porn. . . from that angle. Coco is so very cute. If you could just loan her to me for one whiny up in the middle of the night night so I don’t want one anymore?

  • Jeana

    Has anyone told you how much Coco looks like the dog in “Black Sheep?” That’s a very disgustingly gory yet hilarious movie. I recommend it. Bloodthirsty sheep just SOUNDS funny. So I was watching it and said ‘Oh, look….it’s Coco.’ Thought you should know. She’s absolutely adorable, makes me want another dog.

  • Mel

    Maybe the snow will speed up the pee process….my pug hates the snow so much that he will pee ANYWHERE, as long as it is close to the door, which is really not normal because…you know a pee spot is a really important decision.

  • tzelldiva

    i work in a specialty pet food and accessory store and have loads of experience with puppies.
    your best bet to keep your darling from chewing up everything from your underware to your favorite prada mules…
    get Redbone stuffed bones,available at most petcos and most likely your local specialy cool neighborhood dog food store, also Flossies are excellent, puppies need to chew.., these are natural treats, stay away from rawhide and pigs ears and other not so natural treats that wil upset coco’s tummy…these treats seem expensive..though one a day does the trick and they are alot less than a pair of Gucci pumps or recovering your sofa..

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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