the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Shark week except with dogs

Yesterday was Cami’s 25th birthday, and to celebrate she threw herself a Quinceanera. Do you know that is? I do! You want to know why? Because I’ve seen every single episode of Dora the Explorer, and in season 4 episode 6, Dora’s cousin Daisy celebrates her 15th birthday. HER QUINCEANERA. Say it with me! QUINCEANERA! Did you say it? DID YOU? YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO SAY IT. Dora may be patient when she asks but I am not an adorable Latina girl who has the free time to run around with an anthropomorphic monkey wearing a pair of goddamn boots. I HAVE MOMMYBLOGS TO WRITE.


I was of course the first person to show up. In fact, I was an hour early. Listen. I experience an overwhelming sense of dread at the possibility of being late to anything. I am compelled to be early. I show up to the airport days before my scheduled departure, and even then I think I’m going to miss my plane. This is one of the many ways my chronic anxiety manifests itself. A friend once suggested that I go to a shooting range to get out all the pent up unease I carry around and I was like, ARE YOU KIDDING? What if I’m late to the shooting range?

Turns out it was a good thing I showed up early because Cami needed me to run to the liquor store to pick up ingredients for margaritas. NOTE TO THOSE CONCERNED ABOUT CAMI’S ETERNAL SALVATION: I did NOT introduce her to margaritas. I do not have that kind of influence on her. I wouldn’t ever do that. Only a monster would tell her to drink anything other than bourbon.

I was happy to help out, so I headed up the street, grabbed some tequila, and magically scored the same parking spot near her apartment when I returned. Cami lives in a very busy neighborhood near downtown, so I carefully waited for a string of cars to pass by before I lugged the box of liquor out of my car. Just as I shut my door a truck I had not noticed nearly clipped me, and then… seriously… you guys. I am not making this up. WHY ARE THESE ANIMALS CHOOSING ME?


That truck missed this cartoonish, bounding black dog by a few inches. We both made it across the street, and I was able to set the box of liquor down as he jumped up and kissed my face. No tags. No collar. No identification. No one nearby. Just me and this midnight black animal now on its back begging for a belly rub.

I was able to lure him into the lobby of Cami’s apartment building, and when I knocked on her door to drop off the liquor he clumsily jumped inside like QUINCEANERA?! I LOVE QUINCEANERAS! SAY IT WITH ME!

If you’ll recall, Cami has a sometimes bashful, sometimes erratic cat named Fille. So Cami was understandably irate that this animal had crossed her threshold.

“WHOSE DOG IS THAT?” she hissed at me.

“Yeah,” I managed to utter. “Yeah. So. Here’s the thing. The Universe is trying to send me a message and it’s doing so through animals.”


“Long story. Here’s your liquor. I’ll be in the lobby calling animal control.”

STOP RIGHT THERE. Do not get mad at me for calling animal control. There was little I could do because he had come out of nowhere and I am totally unfamiliar with that neighborhood. If he was going to make it back to his owner, his best chance was someone like me working with animal control. So I called them and they dispatched a truck. And then he and I waited.

And waited. And waited. And then waited some more.



When you spend an hour and a half of one-on-one time with a dog that charming (he knew the commands for sit, stay, shake paw, roll over, and fix mama a hot dog) you find yourself going through the catalog of names you might give it if, say, animal control is unable to find its owner or a suitable family to take it home THERE FINE YES I’LL ADMIT IT OKAY ARE YOU HAPPY. I would adopt him and I’d call him Hitchens after the late Christopher Hitchens and he could come home and eat poop in the backyard with the rest of them. The End.

Except. EXCEPT. There’s an even BETTER ending. What could be better than bringing Hitchens home and teaching him how to balance a beer can between his ears? The fact that he was chipped! HE WAS CHIPPED! HE WAS CHIPPED! And they knew immediately who his owners were.

The system worked! IT WORKED. Systems NEVER work. Think back to all the times systems have failed. Like, at least a hundred times, right? But this time IT WORKED. Someone inserted a microchip into their dog in case it ever went missing, and when it did go missing someone intervened and didn’t let it get hit by a car so that animal control could show up and detect that chip. Good job, system.

As for you, Universe? We need to have a talk.

  • Kristen Strong

    2013/03/28 at 4:13 pm

    So his name is Quince? Obviously a well cared-for pooch. Glad things worked out!

  • Jessie Jean

    2013/03/28 at 4:13 pm

    Yay! I love happy endings!

  • Ms. Jen

    2013/03/28 at 4:14 pm

    I want photos of Cami’s QUINCEANERA dress. I hope that the skirt was extra flouncy with LOTS OF TULLE.

  • natalie

    2013/03/28 at 4:14 pm

    Heather, I kid you not, I have seen this dog bounding up 600 East near Trolley Square at lightening speed through the intersections up towards the aves. Twice. Each time by some stroke of luck someone was in their driveway and distracted him – and each time I am pretty sure 10 years were taken off my life from the sheer panic of seeing a black dog dart through 3 intersections like they had just discovered they were invincible and it was the best day of their life.

    If it’s not the same dog, avoid anywhere between 200 S and 900 S near 600 E, or you’ll have another dog on your hands.

  • Rachel Sea

    2013/03/28 at 4:19 pm

    He is adorable, and I’m sure he would happily gone home with you forever, and ever, but hooray for microchips. I’m all for calling animal control for just that reason.

  • Jancave

    2013/03/28 at 4:21 pm

    So happy to see the universe tipping in your favor!! No birds showing up to die on your front porch, bobcats in your house or raccoons in your chimney. Now they are coming just to say Hi or have you get them back home, all good stuff. It’s about effin’ time!!!

  • Claire C

    2013/03/28 at 4:55 pm

    Aww, so glad this story has a happy ending! I hope someone would stop if my little pup got lost on the side of the road.

  • Jen

    2013/03/28 at 4:57 pm

    Christopher Hitchens is my personal hero. What a perfect name for a pooch!

  • Isabella O.

    2013/03/28 at 5:16 pm

    Hitchens is a handsome boy! I had a similar experience the other day in which the Universe put this handsome black cat in front of me, and I imagined taking him home to add to my collection of handsome black cats.

  • Lisa

    2013/03/28 at 5:17 pm

    …I was mightily confused six sentences into this post. Amused, but confused. Why might that be??? (Hint: uno, dos, tres…)

  • Dawn

    2013/03/28 at 5:18 pm

    I’m so happy he was chipped–Chuck might have started to do more than just eat poop if Hitchens had come home with you.

  • Laura

    2013/03/28 at 5:42 pm

    But now I need to know what his real name is!!!

  • Ashley

    2013/03/28 at 5:44 pm

    So glad the dog was chipped. Both my animals are chipped, even though the vet gave me an are-you-crazy look when I wanted my 14ish year old cat chipped (because he is the devil and will eventually escape on me despite his age). Still, dogs should also be wearing a collar with identification and license tags at all times so we humans can reunite them with their owners that much faster and know they are a loved pet!

  • twocharacters

    2013/03/28 at 5:53 pm

    I still want more info about this quinceanera and why it was taking place for a 25 year old. Also, that cake looks delicious.

  • Lisa

    2013/03/28 at 5:54 pm

    Annnd the motion is seconded!

  • Andrés

    2013/03/28 at 6:10 pm

    And thirded!

  • Sharona Zee

    2013/03/28 at 6:57 pm

    Heather and Hitchens….coulda’ been beautiful! Good job on the rescue though!

  • Jennifer Park

    2013/03/28 at 11:06 pm


  • Lisa Newlin

    2013/03/29 at 12:13 am

    I’m quite active in animal rescue and I find so many stray/lost dogs! Granted, I’m always on the look out and have a complete set of supplies in my trunk for such an emergency including food, water bowl, collar, leash, bones, treats, etc.

    Depending on the situation of how the animal got out, I might give the owner a stern talking to when I bring the dog back. I’m pretty sure I’m “the crazy dog lady” in the neighborhood.

  • Katybeth

    2013/03/29 at 6:38 am

    Love happy endings! People who intervene and make them happy are the best.

  • Shannon Hulsey

    2013/03/29 at 8:33 am

    He looks like my adorable Boo. Labs are the sweetest, most enthusiastic, easy to fool dogs ever.

    Did you get to be one of Cami’s attendants? I’m from deep South Texas, and by tradition, she has a bunch of attendants who wear bridesmaids dresses, escorted by their male cousins in tuxes.

  • Megan Gordon

    2013/03/29 at 9:05 am

    He looks exactly like my late dog Milo. Except Milo would never have been loose. He didn’t even like to out to use the bathroom (but he did so grugingly then ran back home) because he was simply terrified of everything. Except me.
    I love the idea of a QUINCEANERA, especially for such a white, white 25-year-old girl. Perfect. Felice Cumpleanos, Cami!

  • WebSavvyMom

    2013/03/29 at 10:02 am

    –>I love that you can tell Hitchens’ tail is wagging in the first photo. What’s his real name?

    Our two labs are chipped, glad to know it works!

  • chickwhitt

    2013/03/29 at 1:16 pm

    Oh, a lab, a black lab especially, those are the very best dogs. You would have been in for a whole new world of crazy with a lab, they’re a unique kind of special.

  • Lisa

    2013/03/29 at 4:12 pm

    Do we hear a “fifthed,” ha ha? Maybe it’s, like, “Utah years” or something? Maybe they get age credit for putting up with interminable winters?

  • Missy

    2013/03/29 at 4:25 pm

    Were you drunk when you wrote this? My gosh it hurt my eyes to read. Otherwise, yay animal control and successful stories!

  • Richard Morey

    2013/03/29 at 9:49 pm

    If the universe was trying to send you a message then you should have named the dog QUINCEANERA! But I’m glad the microchip (“system”) worked! We have our doggy micro-chipped and I would be heart broken if he ever went missing and the system didn’t work.

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