An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

The canine contingent

Who was I talking to recently about this? Was it you? If it was you just send me “SUCK IT” in a text message and I will totally understand and nod and agree. I have been in so many administrative meetings and attended so many school presentations this week that I can’t keep track of who I was talking to or if I’ve told someone this or that, and this glimpse of dementia would be a lot more terrifying if I couldn’t recite entire paragraphs of dialogue from the first season of “Felicity” to you. 


You and I were in a conversation with a few people about dogs when we simultaneously yelled, “PUPPIES ARE WORSE THAN BABIES,” and both of us could not possibly stand by that statement more. I should just publish a book with page after page of photos of Coco and title it DO NOT DO THIS. I’m sure some puppies are just lovely, and many are in small doses. Like, for ten minutes. But hours? Days? You might as well go buy a pink gun that coos and snuggles every time you shoot a toe off of your foot. Same thing.

Babies are a lot of work, yes, a lot, indeed. But one very fun fact is that you do not have to take them outside to go to the bathroom. You can change their diaper right there inside the warmth of your own home! With the proper equipment you can do it right there without leaving your bed! Neither of them sleep through the night, no, but at least you know that babies will one day grow up and maybe read words. That puppy? That puppy will one day grow up and bark at leaves. Right after consuming its own feces.

I do remember that puppies came up because Chuck turned 12 years old recently, and someone asked if I’d get another dog if “anything ever happened to him.” Ahem. If by “anything” you mean WE ALL DIE, well shut up. No, we don’t. You might die. I might die. But Chuck? No. Chuck is not going to die. Chuck might hop on an outstretched wing of the wind as it silently careens through a canyon and ride off into another life, but that motherfucker isn’t going to die. He’s like Willie Nelson. He’ll transmute or some shit. It will be spiritual as hell and shift gravity.

Would I get another dog? I’m not so sure. Would I get another puppy? HELL TO THE NO. Never. Nope. Never again. Nuh-uh. No, no, no, no, no. Take the entire soundtrack to The Sound of Music and replace all the words with “no” and you wouldn’t even come close to how jubilantly I am saying that word.

Chuck’s age is a little worrisome not in that he’s frail or incontinent or looks like he might fall over at any time, no. He’s just as sprightly as ever when he wants to be. It’s worrisome because it’s the only explanation the vet can give me for his flatulence. That dog can melt steel. It’s horrendous and unexpected and deadly. We’ll be eating dinner thinking he’s downstairs in the basement when all of a sudden a sea of rotten egg odor engulfs the room and starts to peel the skin off of our faces. I’ll frantically look around through my impaired vision and find him sitting underneath Marlo’s chair like, “Hi. I brought you my fart.”

Several months ago I stopped giving the dogs any scraps after a meal because I thought it might solve this problem. No such luck since he started eating anything he could find in the backyard: sticks, clumps of dirt, Coco’s poop. I’d try to be more forgiving of him if it weren’t so embarrassing. Because when I have friends over and it happens…. I feel like I’m REALLY trying to sell the fact that I’m not the one with a problem. My dog is just an asshole.

Over the weekend when Marlo was consumed with blowing up an entire box of balloons I ditched plans to take them out for dinner and instead whipped up a dinner of “noodles.” This means I boiled water, poured in a box of rotini and served Marlo a huge bowl of it covered in parmesan cheese. I made myself a meat sauce and skipped the noodles. Leta took a look at both options and dramatically gagged. So she made herself a frozen burrito. Everyone was happy. The end.

I noticed Chuck hanging around a bit through the whole meal and, I don’t know, he’s old. He’s old and depriving him of a scrap here or there hasn’t solved anything. Can’t I cut him a little slack? Where is my heart? Oh, right. HE MELTED IT WITH HIS FART.

After we cleared the table I started to load the dishwasher and for the first time in many, many months I had both dogs sit at one end of the kitchen while I sat the pan that I had cooked the meat sauce in on the floor at the other end. Dogs have to earn treats in this house by performing a trick, waiting, or fixing me a hot dog.

Marlo immediately caught on to the fact that a “game” was going on and wanted to be in charge. What were the rules? When did the chasing start? Where should she stand? I pulled her next to me and told her that I was having the dogs wait until I said a certain word. Then they could come and lick the pan.


“Can I say it?! Can I say it?!” she shouted.

“You most certainly can. We just need to wait a bit longer,” I said.

“BUT I WANT TO SAY IT NOW!” Of course she did. Kid wants her Oompa Loompa PRONTO, Wonka.

“Okay,” I said knowing that enough time had elapsed because pools of drool had accumulated underneath both dogs. “Are you ready?”


If I had said the word out loud both dogs would have come running, so I said to her, “What does G-O spell?”

She turned to face the dogs and yelled, “WHAT DOES G-O SPELL!”

Do not ever accuse her of ignoring directions.

“Marlo, no,” I said. “What word does that spell?”

Again she faced the dogs: “WHAT WORD DOES THAT SPELL!”

Both dogs remained perfectly still. So she yelled it again. “WHAT WORD DOES THAT SPELL?!!

“Marlo,” I said trying to muffle my laughter. “What do you do at a green light?”

She put her index finger to her mouth for just a second and then turned to the dogs again: “DRIVE YOUR CAR!”

Technically speaking, that was right answer to my question, but both dogs didn’t move.

“UGH!” she screamed. “Why aren’t they coming?”

“Let’s say you’re driving your car and you stop at a red light. When that red light turns green, what do you do then?”

She cupped her hands around her mouth and yelled at the dogs, “YOU’RE AT A GREEN LIGHT AND YOU’RE DRIVING!”

I had the feeling that Chuck was sitting there thinking, good god, woman. Are you seen in public with this human? On purpose?

I finally pulled her close enough that I could whisper in her ear, “‘Go.’ You have to say, ‘Go,’ to the dogs.”

She mustered every molecule of air in her lungs, stretched her neck as high as it would reach and bellowed, “GO TO THE DOGS!

Neither dog budged, and since Marlo was already frustrated I immediately followed up with, “She said, ‘GO!'” Once the word left my mouth both Chuck and Coco scrambled across the floor to the pan and had their first scrap in months.

“I said, ‘Go to the dogs,’ and they go’ed!” she squealed.

“They did go’ed,” I said nodding, holding my breath for just a moment to savor the memory of my four-year-old enjoying her dog, her aging and moody and flatulent pet who will hopefully stick around forever.

  • Meg

    Babies don’t come home RUNNING AROUND like puppies do. I am a dog person, I prefer dogs to most people in the world, but a puppy is a crazy kind of exhaustion.

  • cranky kitty

    I am a cat person, but the bit about Chuck living forever resonates with me, I have a 15yo senior kitty, who until this year has had the best of health, this year she’s slowed down and ended up with a nasty infected zit. I keep telling her that she is not allowed to die, not until I do, she has to live at least another 20 years, and then her and I can go to sleep together and just not wake up.

  • John

    Thank you for your frequent reminders that PUPPIES ARE HARD – can you hurry up and publish that book of Coco pictures and set up a kiosk next to the mall pet store?

  • TJ

    My lab as a puppy was so crazy it was enough to make me want to off both of us. It was exhausting. The counter surfing, door chewing, blind ruining… he even at an entire bag of peaches once. He turned two and became the best dog ever for eleven more years, but mark my words, I will NEVER get another lab puppy. Yes, it was almost twenty years ago, but lab puppyhood has not left my memory. It was that bad. My next puppies were a French Mastiff and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The Mastiff was such an easy puppy. He was so calm and good that it worried me he was ill. He wasn’t, just super low maintenance personality, never bothered a thing. Cavalier was easy, too, but a bit more energetic. I’d recommend either as pups. They’re still fantastic at six years old. And as a bonus, neither has farting issues. I go with the notion that buying them really good food prevents that nastiness. At least that is what I tell myself when they ring up the bags at the pet store…

  • C

    I just wanted to write to say, I have a dog (named Chuck!) and he’s older, and I loved this sentence so much that I saved it and want to refer to it in the future: “Chuck is not going to die. Chuck might hop on an outstretched wing of
    the wind as it silently careens through a canyon and ride off into
    another life, but that motherfucker isn’t going to die.”

    You are the best. 🙂

  • “DRIVE YOUR CAR!” I think she might grow up to be a dog trainer. Now that was a fun giggle.

  • KathyB

    dogs are always puppies, loveable but puppies
    Marlo is a trip, seriously

  • katrynka

    This had me laughing out loud!!

  • Joan Hobbs

    I just laughed so hard I peed a little. Thank you for both making me happy and realizing I’m old all at the same time.

  • Angela Walters

    Wait…the kid (My tablet actually autocorrected that to “yid” hoping I wouldn’t notice.) or dog will live to be fifty? If it’s the kid; and who cares about the kid at that age? You’ll be dead and said child is going to be going on vacay with proceeds from the sale of your home.
    So, what are you you feeding it? The kid and the dog? Give the dog chicken breast, yams and rice. Make the kid forage outside for dandelions. Apparently they are edible, according to chefs who make dished the size of baby rabbits. Also, the characters of Walking Dead agree. The dogs already have to work for treats. Children are just gonna be bitter and talk smack to their therapists about that one time in the car you told them to shut up or you would drive them into a lake. Dogs would never tell anyone that shit.

  • Angela Walters

    I laughed so hard I had to decide between finishing the post and getting up to pee. I finished the post. The pee, it was a photo finish. Still, this is funniest, laugh out loud by yourself post I’ve read in a while.

    Seriously though, I have also adopted my very last puppy. No matter how much you research the breed, you will come to find out that YOUR dog is the asshole version of that breed. It will have all the bad traits and none of the good. For dated reference, you will probably end up with the the Jersey Shore of whatever breed mix you adopt. That’s why I like to wait till they are about two years and you can see if you are bringing Snookie home or sweet creature who won’t piss in the bed and eat poop.

  • Ro

    Raw green tripe is meant to have lots of probiotics left in it from the cow’s stomach. And they love eating it. We just started our dog on a natural raw food diet and her health is so much better for it, her skin’s improved massively and she doesn’t get ear infections anymore. And the doggy stink seems to be going as well! I think it’s always better to treat health problems with food when you can. It should work out cheaper in the long run as fewer vets bills, yay.

  • Karen Johnson

    Ditto on the plain yogurt advice. Giving our older lab a heaping tablespoon a day allowed us to start inviting company over again.

  • You’re at the green light and you’re driving. OH Marlo, never ever change. Ever.

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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