Heather B. Armstrong is a speaker and consultant made famous for her popular, funny, and irreverent ‘mommy blog’ Dooce.com. A fixture on the website was the Daily Chuck–an original daily image of her idiosyncratic dog. Chuck passed away this summer and Armstrong documented the experience in a touching post. Chuck’s fame extended to an Instagram account and an annual calendar with proceeds going to a local animal shelter. Armstrong and her two daughters live in Utah.
You have described yourself as a ‘professional blogger’, ‘speaker’, ‘writer’, ‘brand consultant’, and even as a ‘Trivial Pursuit answer’. I would add ‘artist’ and ‘photographer’ to that list. Do you feel like a creative person? Yes, that is at the heart and soul of me. Having stepped away from blogging I have taken on a lot of administrative and business things. Now I realize how much joy creative things brought to my life.
You documented your dog Chuck’s life with over 1,000 images on your website with the Daily Chuck. Back in the early days of my blogging, whenever I would post about Chuck people just adored the dog. People—at least my readers—love dogs and kids. And I was willing to provide content about Chuck. People wanted to see more of him so I started the Daily Chuck. It really started with his talent of balancing things on his head. Literally everyday I would take a photo—it became part of my job. He knew it, too. He knew after the session that he would get a reward. His tail wagged like mad as soon as I picked up the camera.
With some distance now, what are your feelings about Chuck? Very interesting what’s happened. At the end of my blogging the whole experience of the blog became panic inducing. I don’t want to take another picture of my damn dog, but I have to take the photo. But I can’t believe I’m dreading taking a picture of my dog. But back in the day it was so much fun and I loved the readers’ reactions. Now that he’s gone I realize how good my other dog is. I never really appreciated it. Chuck was very cat-like and my other dog is a real dog—and I like dogs.
Tell us about your new business and this new phase of your career. The best part about it is not being beholden to a publishing schedule that was killing me. Not living underneath that weight has been nice. Transition is still ongoing and I haven’t reached the other side yet. Now I’m worrying about spreadsheets, Word documents, and Keynotes. Business is interesting, but I miss writing about my life.