Bourdonner: to hum or buzz in French + The sound of wheat
Doggy Bag - How to say "doggy bag" in French? + Happy Anniversary!

Woof woof! Bow wow! Aboiement (or how to say dog bark or barking in French)

comptoir at Le Bar de la Marine in Marseille France Vieux Port  (c) Kristin Espinasse
Nothing to do with today's word, just an iconic zinc bar in Marseilles: Le Bar de la Marine (made famous by Marcel Pagnol in his "Marius" Trilogy.

un aboiement (ah-bwa-mahn)

    : bark, barking (of dog)

Also: aboyer = to bark, un aboyeur (une aboyeuse) = a barking dog

Reverse dictionary: 
to bark up the wrong tree = porter plainte contre la mauvaise personne
his bark is worse than his bite = il fait plus de bruit que de mal 

Audio File: Today it is 17-year-old Max's voice you'll hear when you click on the following file and listen to this French sentence: Download MP3 or Wav file

Les aboiements de Smokey font peur aux bandits! Smokey's barking scares the bandits!

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

This morning I hurried downstairs to let out our dogs. I wasn't going to make the same mistake as yesterday by enjoying a rare grasse matinée. That extra thirty minutes sleep-in cost me a demi-heure of clean-up time after I was late helping Smokey get to his morning business. Quel dégât!

This time there were no suspicious odors wafting up the stairwell, and I reached le rez-de-chaussée to find the floors clear and dry. Ouf! The week was off to a good start!

"Good morning, doggers!" I offered my warm English greeting quickly followed by some serious French, "Allez les Toutous! Pipi dehors!"

Sliding open the porte-fenêtre in our kitchen, I was amused by the morning routine. Braise paused at the door, letting her son race past her. As Braise waited her turn she looked up at me, anticipating the usual acknowledgment.

"C'est bien, Braise! Très, très bien! Tu attends." I caressed her soft head and rubbed her floppy golden ears between my fingers. She is a sweet dog, if extremely pushy at times (mostly at snack time).

Comme d'habitude, Braise and I turned our attention to Smokey, who had bounded out of the house as fast as a cowboy surprised by bandits. Shooting from the hip—or all guns blazing—Smokey charged forward, propelled by a noisy gargle of aboiements:


Smokey's head shot in every direction, pulled this way and that by his flapping, toothy muzzle—out of which came the skinny dog's tirade of threats. The scene would be hair-raising if seen by any other perspective than our own.

Braise and I watched, unwilling to point out to our voluntary hero the obvious facts: there was, as usual, not a bandit in sight—not even a lowly field mouse sped by.  

Never mind. When Smokey reached the edge of the yellow, parched lawn—fitting of this wild west scene—he began pacing back and forth, coughing out a few more threats in his best impression of gardien. Down below, where the lawn drops off and the grape vines spread out in one great field of spectateurs, Smokey addressed his leafy audience. "I," he barked, "AM Top Dog!"

Braise and I looked at each other knowing very well the truth of the matter: though Smokey is top dog of our hearts, he could not hurt a top fly.

Meantime, he doesn't need to know that... 

"You tell 'em, Smokey! You tell 'em!" in the safety of Smokey's noisy wake, Braise and I cheer the underdog.  Handicapped since the tender age of two months old (his hanging tongue but a hint of les ravages he suffered) he has come a long way since that fateful day, when he crossed paths with a couple of lost and angry dogs who mistook him for an easy target....

What the aggressors failed to notice was the Top Mama nearby.

Braise saved her son that day. After being stapled back together and given a "good chance" of making it. Smokey did. Il a survécu


Read the story of a brave two month old golden retreiver, here.


la grasse matinée
to sleep in

une demi-heure
half an hour

quel dégât
what a mess

le rez-de-chaussée
ground floor


Allez les Toutous! Pipi dehors
Come on, dogs! Pee pee outside!

la porte-fenêtre
glass door 

C'est bien, Braise! Très, très bien! Tu attends.
That's good, Braise. Really, really good! You're waiting. 

comme d'habitude, or simply comme d'hab
as usual 

un aboiement

woof-woof, bow-wow 

le gardien, la gardienne
keeper, watchman(woman) 

les ravages (m)

le spectateur, la spectatrice
onlooker, witness, audience 

il a survécu
he survived 

You've come a long way, Baby. Smokey eventually healed on the outside. On the inside he seems to have gained back his confidence, as evidenced by his morning patrol.


Since Smokey's frightening attack, Mother and Son regularly practice Self Defense for Dogs.

Braise: Son, mind your ears! You look more like the Flying Nun than Rambo!

Smokey: OK Mom, just trying to look scary. By the way, who is the Flying Nun?


It takes many tender moments to rehabilitate a victim, especially a victimized animal.

Smokey, left, says: "I can protect you, too, Mom."

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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William and Lee Mears

Just another "Thank You" for the lovely photos and story about Smokey & Braise. Peace, Lee Mears

Bill in St. Paul

Years ago we had a Golden who was much like Smokey in that he wouldn't hurt a flea, regardless of how loud he barked. Although our backyard was fenced, dear Theo unbeknownst to us had pushed down the fencing in a corner of the yard where the fence was hidden by the hedge. A couple walking their child in a stroller ventured down Theo's alley. He went over the fence and through the hedge in a single bound, barking loudly. Luckily, I was in the yard and raced out into the alley to get Theo and to tell the couple that he was harmless, just loud. I never saw them again walking down our alley, and, yes, the fence was fixed (although he found other ways of getting out).

Karen Whitcome  (Towson, Md)

Very funny. Boy, what you went through to rehabilitate Smokey. You did a great job. He is such a fine young protector. I'm curious about Smokey's bark. Is it very different because of the tongue? Also curious if Braize, in typical house-mother welcoming fashion, bring treats to guests? Our female Golden brings gifts of old socks, a flip-flop - anything within reach - to guests.

They are such creatures of habit, aren't they? Our 4-leggers let us know when it's bedtime. WE, of course, created that routine of lights out and treats as they got in their perspective beds. Now we can't stay up until midnight (an hour after the designated lock-down schedule) without having three pairs of eyes staring us down in disappointment.


What would we do without our guys (and gals). Dogs are one of God's greatest gifts. They are looking great! Mary

Julie F in St. Louis, MO

I loved the image of Braise waiting at the door. It reminded me of when my beloved Millie was still with us. She was top dog in all ways, so even though our Skyler was bigger, Millie got and did everything first. Millie ALWAYS went out the door first, and if Skyler tried she would be reminded with a little nip. After years of Millie being in charge every day, it was interesting to watch Skyler adjust when she was an "only dog." She didn't know how to tell us she needed to go out, or remind us to feed her, or take her on a walk. We had to adjust to life without Millie, too, once we realized how much she had set the routine for everyone in the house.

Loved the pictures of Mom and son today.

Debbie Ambrous

Your picture of the zinc bar in Marseilles made me think that I should share what I read in "Taking Root in Provence". The author has a chapter on Marseilles and says the view from a boat at Quai des Belges when the lights come on in the evening is magnificent. She says to see it and "see if you don't agree with me: see Marseilles and die." Thought Jean Marc would be pleased to hear this.


The pictures tell it all. Sweet Smokey recovering and Mama Braise there beside him. Miracles DO happen; Smokey is definitely one of them. Love those doggies!!!

Nancy L.

Ahhhh, Smokey! I remember that fateful day when he was attacked. It is so wonderful to see these photos of him and his maman enjoying the Sun in the South! He is one lucky pup! As for your beautiful photo of the zinc bar.... I adore sitting at a zinc bar with a glass of quelquechose(-: It feels so French...right out of "Fanny"! There is a terriffic bistro that we frequent in NYC called 'Cognac de Monsieur Ballon' (B'Way and 55th Street). All of the furnishings were imported from Paris including ....the zinc bar! Feels like a little piece of France close to home. Now if I could only get a glass od Domaine Rouge Bleu there.....

Judi Miller, Lake Balboa, CA

I always love your stories of your babies. Smokey is one lucky dog to have survived and to have been healed by Braise and your family's love!

I'm thinking Marseilles has to go on my itinerary if we can ever get our trip to France off the ground. Great bar. Also, congratulations on having your wine in Japan. What an accomplishment. I have to find out where I can buy them in our area - I'm going to look into that today!

Love your photos -Smokey has the most endearing face. He is special!

Kristin Espinasse

Bill in St. Paul, Glad to have a Theo story. He is missed, even if we never met him in person!

Karen, Smokey did not bark normally for a while. Then one day he made up for lost time. He sounds normally to me. No, our dogs do not bring welcome gifts -- but what a sweet gesture!

Nancy, LOL your glass of quelque chose. Wish we would fill it with Domaine Rouge-Bleu!

P.S. the photos of Braise and Smokey in Dog Self Defense school (aka our front lawn) were taken two years ago. Smokey has not changed much, except his tongue seems to have grown longer!

nancy v

Enjoying your story, pictures and happy attitude as usual. My dog, Yogi, is also very happy in the morning. He reminds me, on those mornings that I really think about going back to bed, that there is a lot to do and be happy about each morning. Thanks for doing what you do. Enjoyed your wines I picked up in Houston recently at French Country Wines.

Faye Stampe, Gleneden Beach, OR

Bonjour Kristin,

Wonderful story --- I love hearing about mother & son. I didn't realize what he went through---- such adorable babies.

Merci Kristin ----I love the stories & photos!

Be well.

Overcast but without rain (hope!) on the Oregon Coast.

Tish Tyler

Bonjour Kristin,

Merci for the great Smokey et Braise story and pictures today! I remember the attack on Smokey Dokey and anxiously awaiting your emails to be updated on his progress. You are also a very good maman to Smokey!

Tish (Powhatan, VA)

Julie S. from San Diego

I love to see pictures of your beautiful dogs! The picture of Smokey as a wounded puppy is sad, but precious. I am so happy Smokey made it through. I feel as if I have been on this ride with him, tracking his amazing recovery along with other readers. Thank you for the wonderful pictures today!


Hi dear Kristin,
Another wonderfully written post,and with beautiful pictures to accompany it!
I love dog stories,especially when they have happy endings as did this one about dear Smokey and Braise.
What a super way to start the week!!!
Love, Natalia XO


Another good story that warms the heart of all of us who love dogs. Thanks, Kristin. It's worth pointing out, though, that even gentle, well-known dogs can surprise us. The neighbor's lab has twice recently attacked my much smaller Lhasa Apso, not something either of us would have ever expected. He came charging out of a defective (or inadvertently open) gate on two occasions. Thank goodness my little one wasn't really hurt either time because the other dog's people were around and reacted quickly. But it sure shook me up. I panicked rather than reacting appropriately and was useless. Thank goodness they were there. I can't imagine how frightening it was for you when Smokey was nearly killed by those dogs.

A couple of language notes:
-"pipi" in French
-"He sounds normal" because "normal" is an adjective describing Smokey, not an adverb. The verb "sounds" links the predicate adjective to its subject. (He barks normally. He sounds normal.)

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Kathy! I will fix that one at the blog. And good point about innocent-looking dogs having another side. 

Karen from Phoenix

I love, love,love the pictures of the Smokey and Braise. I am missing my sweet Sox, it will be a year this week she is gone.



Smokey and Braise are a delight. You have a wonderful way of writing about the personalities and telling their stories.
Wish I had more time to spend with them when I was there.
By the way, my husband loved the wine I bought home for him. We celebrated with it on his birthday and will celebrate our anniversary with the other bottle. It is a very special wine for me.
your writings lift me up no matter how down I feel. Thank you for sharing your life with me.


Had to smile at this one. Love my dogs and granddogs! This story reminds me of a children's book series about a west Texas dog. It's an entertaining, humorous series of antics through the eyes of the hero, "Hank, the Cowdog, Head of Ranch Security" Smokey seems to have the same call to responsibility, albeit at times misunderstood. Thanks for the memories.

Leslie Sorensen-Jolink

About nine hours after Smokey goes charging outside, followed by you and Braise, our long-haired dachshund Bob and Golden Retriever Henry do the same thing with me out here in Portland, Oregon. Thank you for helping me better understand their mission (beyond, eventually, doing their jobs).

I love your stories about and photographs of Smokey and Braise. They are beautiful, delightful creatures. I'm so glad Smokey has recovered so well and look forward to more chapters from his and Braise's great French lives!


I just love to read about the continuing adventures of Braise and Smokey.They truly are two very special dogs.Braise is a wonderful mom and Smokey's fighting spirit is inspiration for us all.


Love the zinc bar - yonks ago when I used to comb Alsace for antiques and bric à brac for my antique shop here in Freiburg, I'd run into beautiful bars, sometimes the whole shebang including the back shelving and furniture from a place that had closed. Fabulous pieces of history....LOVE your drôle and dry observations of your fierce gardien - so amusing and so is all your writing...

Delilah Montenegro

Learning some different language is GREAT and I love it. Also Smokey and Braise are very cute. Can I hug them?

Katy Mcman

You really do learn new things everday. Love the puppy. so cute.

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