the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Daydreaming of palm trees

So I hop into the shower at about 6 PM last night in preparation for dinner guests who would be over in less than a half hour. That’s my way of showing people I really care about them, taking the time to bathe — well, that’s one way. If you show up to my house and one, my hair is washed or two, I make fun of the way you say “concrete,” then you can pretty much assume that I’d give you a kidney if you really needed one.

Jon is upstairs on Leta duty, and when I step out of the shower I find Coco pacing the hallway with a bone in her mouth. I rightly assume that she needs to be let outside, and not wanting to interfere with the wrangling Jon is having to do upstairs I walk to the backdoor, open it quickly, and nudge the puppy into the backyard. A blast of icy air rushes inside, and the water that is beading on my naked body freezes instantly. I briefly consider what it would be like to move back to Southern California where it is currently 70 degrees, the kinds and quantities of illegal drugs we’d have to sell in order to pay the mortgage, how it would be worth it if we got caught and had to serve time in a prison near the ocean.

As I turn to head back to the bathroom I see Coco out of the corner of my eye, and she is hunched over in a ball at the far end of the yard, and she is eating a pile of her own feces. And as you might imagine, this is totally unacceptable, so unacceptable, in fact, that I am forced to open the door again and yell a slew of very hurtful things that I am not at all proud of. No dog is going to come running if you’re projecting that kind of angry energy, I know this, but I’m naked and freezing and my dog is eating poop with the same mouth that she licks my face, YOU CAN FORGIVE ME IF I’M A LITTLE FRAZZLED.

So I grab Jon’s winter coat and slip into his size-13 leather clogs (ACK! I can’t even type that word without contracting a yeast infection! the burning!), both sitting by the door for the times we have to let the dog outside during the night. And I head out in these two items of clothing to interject some sense of decorum into the world. But when she sees my naked, skinny chicken legs plodding along toward her with the giant clogs poking out on my feet like two awkward, malignant tumors, she goes berserk and starts running circles around the yard. Because she is a demon and hates Baby Jesus.

I should head straight back into the house, but somehow that makes me feel like I’m admitting defeat, and I will not be defeated by a seven-pound SHIT-EATING CRITTER, so I start chasing her. In Jon’s clogs. My naked butt barely covered by the bottom of his coat.

I don’t know what this scene looks like from the outside, surely insane, a tad bit confusing. The wet hair on my head is freezing into icicles against my ears, and every time I lean down and try to grab Coco the coat flies open and I’m flashing my boobs to the audience of squirrels in the pine trees.

This goes on for ten minutes until she runs to the back door upstairs. Thinking I can intercept her I run in the backdoor downstairs, fly up to the top floor, pass Jon and Leta who are sitting on the couch playing Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii when Leta sees me and starts screaming, “DADDY IS MAKING ME CRY!” Because apparently she made all his Star Bits go away? And these Star Bits are very important? And I guess he takes his Star Bits very seriously? And they must be important OR ELSE WHY WOULD HE YELL AT HIS THREE-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER FOR NOT UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF STAR BITS? Jon Armstrong, sometimes you make my brain bleed.

This situation can wait thirty seconds while I retrieve my soon-to-be-roasted-alive puppy, although this doesn’t stop Jon from going on about how hard he worked for those Star Bits, there were almost 300 of them, and because Leta pressed the wrong button THEY’RE ALL GONE, but I can’t mediate because Coco is just sitting there at the back door, her tail vigorously wagging, like, HI! WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO? SO GOOD TO SEE YOU, WE SHOULD CATCH UP! As if that whole naked romp through the snow DIDN’T JUST HAPPEN, ARE YOU KIDDING ME.

So I swing the door open, grab her before she has a chance to get away, and then walk back into the living room where Leta is still crying and Jon is actively acquiring more Star Bits. And I’m standing there with my parts peeking out the front of this giant coat, a snow-covered puppy wriggling violently in my arms, her poop-scented tongue licking my forehead. Sometimes life is such that it’s too much to ask for them all to sit still so that I can take ten seconds and put on a pair of panties.

  • Wendy

    2008/01/15 at 1:05 pm

    Well, look on the bright side! At least you didn’t get locked out with only a poop-eating dog to keep you company!

  • Amy

    2008/01/15 at 1:07 pm

    It would’ve been even better had your dinner guests arrived a little early.

  • Kate

    2008/01/15 at 1:09 pm

    So, did you scrub Coco’s mouth out…what do you do when your dog eats a bunch of crap? Seriously, I need to know. Caesar never covered that on the Dog Whisperer.

  • Molly

    2008/01/15 at 1:11 pm

    We have a big Newfoundland that hates to come inside especially if there’s snow. Most recently I flashed my naked ass at the entire street as I bent over to try and pull him in my his collar.


  • Somedayme2

    2008/01/15 at 1:12 pm

    OMG! and you just got over being sick…honestly, that was my first thought!

    Then I started laughing so hard I fell off my chair at work! Now my internet activity is going to be monitored…so worth it!

  • Betsy

    2008/01/15 at 1:12 pm

    I know your life is quite often crazy, but reading that makes me jealous of all that you do have. The craziness AND the love.

  • natalie

    2008/01/15 at 1:12 pm

    that basically sounds like my new pup elliott – minus the snow. and the feces? not her own – but instead that of the cat completely covered in cat litter. awesome.

  • jwhite222

    2008/01/15 at 1:13 pm

    Amazing post! I love it….can’t believe that all actually happened to you hehe! The part about the star bits was classic! I would love to hear Chuck’s take on all of the events.

  • dre

    2008/01/15 at 1:13 pm

    Would have paid money to witness that crazy scene – LOL! 🙂

  • Sister Sassy

    2008/01/15 at 1:14 pm

    At least she didn’t lick your mouth! Yikes!! Why do dogs do that?

  • Billie Keaton

    2008/01/15 at 1:14 pm

    I’m with Amy! If I ever am lucky enough to get invited to your house for dinner, I am arriving early…just in case….maybe I’ll see something like Heather’s naughty bits or screaming 3 year olds with their Star Bits falling out of their hands and poopy dogs. Now THAT’S a dinner!

    LOVE your site!!


  • Jenni has her head in the clouds

    2008/01/15 at 1:14 pm

    I kept waiting for the early dinner guests too.

    Yes, I want you to be tortured more for my entertainment please 😉

  • Sister Honey Bunch

    2008/01/15 at 1:14 pm

    I’m sorry but that whole chaotic episode would have required me to take another shower. And drink a bottle of wine. And then go to bed.

  • Elizabeth

    2008/01/15 at 1:16 pm

    freakin hilarious! if someone did not laugh at that, they must not be human! I think we have all had moments like that in life… “universe, please let me get decent before you attack me!”

    oh, also please bring back the segment where you make fun of hate mail… thats when i fell in love with dooce!


  • Tiff

    2008/01/15 at 1:16 pm

    Oh the star bits. They ARE so very important! How is Mario ever going to save the galaxy if he can’t feed the star people their bits?!

    I hope you don’t get sick again or get pink eye for that matter!

  • Amy S

    2008/01/15 at 1:16 pm

    Your writing is genius, your life is priceless. Thank you for what you do and the way you do it.

  • Melissa

    2008/01/15 at 1:17 pm

    My dog used to eat poop, especially kitty turds, when she was a puppy, and probably still would if I didn’t have the litter box stashed on a table that she can’t reach. Supposedly, when dogs eat crap, it’s because they’re not getting enough nutrients, which easily happens when the dog is a puppy who is doubling in size every other day. If you’re worried about the habit continuing, try either feeding her more or switching foods. Or just make her so scared of her own poop that the moment it leaves her butt she tries to flee from it as fast as possible as if it might rear up and eat HER!

  • Denise

    2008/01/15 at 1:19 pm

    I used to have a dog that like to eat the poop out of the cat box. We called it Almond Roca. Mmmmm.

  • Jennine

    2008/01/15 at 1:21 pm

    One should never, ever mock the star bit acquisition. Jon was so totally feeling glitter surge through his veins.

  • Kelly

    2008/01/15 at 1:21 pm

    I sure hope you have a privacy fence!

    Sadly, I too was awaiting the early arrival of your dinner guests. We all watch too much TV.

  • Chris

    2008/01/15 at 1:22 pm

    Crap eating dogs in Southern California are just as frustrating but you can get a tan while flashing your bits about.

  • ninjanun

    2008/01/15 at 1:23 pm

    Best Poop-eating Doggie/Naked-Woman-in-the-Snow Chase Scene Description EVER.

  • Debi

    2008/01/15 at 1:23 pm

    Amen sister.

  • The Green Panther

    2008/01/15 at 1:25 pm

    Are you a clog-hater?? Or just hate the word?

    I have conflicting and extremely shallow feelings about clogs, so this blog alone may make or break me on the issue.

    Pronouncing “clog” makes my tongue roll up. And gives me visions of hairballs in sinks.

  • Shelly

    2008/01/15 at 1:25 pm

    Oh, how I chuckle at the thought….and get grossed out by the poopy tongue. I know EXACTLY where you are coming from,though……….our dogs eat the remains in the cat box…YUMMM–tastes like FISH!!!….oh the HORROR. To see my sweet doggie coming at me with KITTY LITTER on his face……….I can TOTALLY relate. Although, I’d let the dog eat the doo while I got dressed, THEN brush her teeth, and not allow any doggie kisses for the night…….(BTW, we have taken our unused baby gate and blocked the kitty poo)

    My niece once ate human poo from a toilet………so, not sure which is worse… eating it’s own feces, or child eating UNCLE’S? You decide.

  • Autumn

    2008/01/15 at 1:26 pm

    I have to agree,as mom to 3 under ten (four if you count the man sized child called “husband”), that it is too much for them to cooperate,LOL, and I sometimes wonder if I will ever be naked, semi-naked, etc., without an ever growing audience again!

  • Lisa B

    2008/01/15 at 1:27 pm

    The squirrels have written in to suggest that perhaps it’s time to leave a pair of Heather-sized shoes at the door. And a longer coat.

  • Renée

    2008/01/15 at 1:29 pm

    Mmmmm….poopy breath, boobies and smelly clogs. All things that make me smile.

  • Chuck

    2008/01/15 at 1:29 pm

    Move to the Dirty South like we did (originally from San Jose/Bay Area – now in Mississippi). All the warmth of Californai and none of the cost. Of course you get mosquitos, humidity, southerners and whatnot but you can run around nekkid, chasing your poop-eating dog in the backyard and no one will think much beyond “what’s kinda hunting you trainin’ that puppy fer?”.

  • Ms.Karen

    2008/01/15 at 1:29 pm

    Ah, so THAT’S how I need to deal with my hotflashes. I need a puppy to chase around the yard while naked, because just running around the yard naked is simply not allowed.

    Too funny…

  • Crivens

    2008/01/15 at 1:30 pm

    I agree – great chase scene. I know nothing about the star bits – I just whine if I can’t figure out all the words on TextTwist. Anything else is beyond me.

    We order a lot of our dog stuff from Doctors Foster & Smith, and they have some supplements you can feed your dog to make its poop taste gross to break the poop-eating cycle. Sadly, however, they do not have anything that stops your dog from eating and rolling in goose poop, which is our problem. Tres ick.

  • LindserAnnie

    2008/01/15 at 1:33 pm

    That was delightful…as always. Thanks for sharing the craziness.

  • Laura

    2008/01/15 at 1:35 pm

    What a funny and wonderfully written, albeit uncomfortable story. I always love to read other people’s craziness so that I know my life is normal.

    Amazing how things can stand still with your children and husband while you are trying to solve another crisis…

  • Wiggles

    2008/01/15 at 1:36 pm

    My mini-aussie luckily has never eaten dog poop but likes to eat sheep and goose poop while in the middle of herding them (the animals, not the poop). He always makes sure to give kisses after his gourmet meals and typically slips his “victim” the tongue too!

  • Twice Five Miles

    2008/01/15 at 1:40 pm

    My dog eats poop too. His own, other dogs’, pretty much any poop is fair game. Why do they DO that?

    If you ever figure out how to make her stop, please let me know!

  • Lisa

    2008/01/15 at 1:41 pm

    My dog is 11 years old and we have never been able to break her of the poopsicle habit. She only eats frozen poop so thats really only 11 out of 12 months here in PA……The only thing we have found that works is picking it up as soon as they drop it!

    The visuals on that story will keep me laughing all day!

  • Brian

    2008/01/15 at 1:42 pm

    … all that said, I might have expected a more exciting daily photo 😉

  • Robin

    2008/01/15 at 1:43 pm

    I’m sure the Internets will yell at me for what I’m about to suggest, but here goes: my Mum’s dog was a little shit eater too. Her vet suggested sprinkling her food with a bit of Accent (which is essentially MSG) and that put her right off of it. Something to consider if the issue persists.

  • Jenny

    2008/01/15 at 1:44 pm

    Ha!! That is the kind of story that keeps me coming back to your site for more. That totally made me giggle! Thanks for the hilarous visual & the great writing! 🙂

  • Anonymous

    2008/01/15 at 1:45 pm

    Nothing to add but that I had a seriously stressful (icy!!!!!) drive in to work today, so also vorasciously (???) dream of moving back to SoCal, and want to say thank you for making me laugh. You’ve done my heart rate a tremedous amount of good. Cause it’s all about me, eh?

  • Sara

    2008/01/15 at 1:45 pm

    My pup only eats cat poo…though now that I’m preggo and have to worry about things like toxoplamosis, HUBBY is the one who has to chase the poo-eating furball around the yard!

  • Terra

    2008/01/15 at 1:47 pm

    Our golden retriever is very, very, frightened of her own poop, or any other poop, for that matter. Always been that way through no intervention of my own.

    With the exception of Canada goose poop. When she was a puppy, I had to use all of my body weight to wrestle her away from it when we lived in Ontario, which is lousy with freaking geese.

    Good luck with little miss turd breath.

  • Connie

    2008/01/15 at 1:47 pm

    Maybe it’s a sign? A sign that you need to start feeding Coco some dog poop. Chuck’s poop preferably. It’ll save you money and will prevent future occurrences of you running naked through the harsh winter snow in Utah.

  • TLC in MN

    2008/01/15 at 1:48 pm

    Yes, I should get back to work, but I can’t help but hit the refresh key every few seconds to see how many comments there are now – 37….how many now – 38…how many now – 39…insane, I know.

    Love your site! and my husband and friends are probably tired of hearing about you second-hand.


  • DeeAnne

    2008/01/15 at 1:51 pm

    Oh my…. That was funny. At least during said chase, Chuck didn’t swing the door closed while pressing the latch button in…. Not that THAT would ever actually happen to ANYONE.

  • Jaxon

    2008/01/15 at 1:52 pm

    Why do dogs DO THAT? My daughter and I were out for a walk one evening and we saw a full grown Chow chomping down on poo in his yard. We ran home screaming and completely traumatized. I didn’t realize poop eating dogs were so widespread until reading your story and commments. We just thought that particular Chow was deranged. What do you expect from a dog with a purple tongue?

    However, baby elephants routinely eat adult elephant poop for many months. It gives them all kinds of protections and immunities and they would die if they didn’t do it. But for what possible reason would dogs eat litter covered cat poop? Ack, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. I totally COULD NOT live with a dog who did that. Really could not. But the almond roca line was funny. The visual? Not so much.

  • Heather

    2008/01/15 at 1:53 pm

    There are pills you can buy at pet stores, and I know this because I’ve bought them for my little poop eater, that you feed your dog to make their poop bitter and they won’t eat it.

  • Liz

    2008/01/15 at 1:54 pm

    Jon–I say get the Star Bits while you can. Even if you have to make your kid cry. Some days, especially if you have to make her cry.


  • aisha

    2008/01/15 at 1:55 pm

    Wow. Just… wow.

    If they had given you ten seconds to put your panties on, they would not be family.

  • kri

    2008/01/15 at 1:56 pm

    can’t. stop. laughing.

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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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