Come to our winetasting Apr. 20th + Smokey's lump
Get well soon, in French + photos from our winetasting!

Droit au but: Smokey update


Come to our home, this Monday, April 20th at 3p.m. for snacks and a winetasting. (We live near Bandol) To reserve your seat, email [email protected] (p.s if the fava beans are ready, we'll try some :-)

droit au but (dwaht-oh-bewt)

  • to go straight to the goal, directly to the goal
  • to get right to the point

AUDIO FILE: Listen to Jean-Marc read the French words (BTW: Did you hear the train whistle? My husband recorded this soundfile while laboring his vinefields! Today he is removing giant rocks, making room for more grapevines. You can hear his strained breathing as he speaks!) Download MP3 or Wav

Smokey est allé doit au but. Il a couru vers le monstre jusqu'à ce que ce dernier fasse demi-tour pour fuir dans la forêt pour toujours ! Smokey went straight to the goal: he ran toward the monster until the latter turned to flee into the forest forever.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

Yesterday morning, while putting the finishing touches on my feature story for France Today (Ça y est! C'est fini!) Max popped his head into the bedroom. Reaching down, he patted our youngest dog, who was resting on the floor beside me, after Tuesday's biopsy.

"Ah, do I have a story about Smokey!" Max perked up, his eyes traveling from Smokey to the window, beyond which a great field meets the forest.

"See over there? That is where we saw the wild boar! Mathilde and I were playing fetch with Smokey, when I threw the stick... and a giant sanglier charged out of the forest to collect it!

"Oh mon Dieu! Where was Mathilde?" I asked, worried about Max's girlfriend.

"She stood frozen, tétanisée, between those two olive trees as the boar bolted towards her, the ground thundering beneath its feet!" 

Max threw out his arms, trying to describe the beast, which was thrice the size of our golden retriever. "I screamed for Smokey to come back, but he ran in front of Mathilde and charged on towards that boar!"

Max knew what everyone in these parts knows: a dog is no match for a wild boar! Screaming in vain, my son could not stop our dog from pursuing the threat, and so prepared for the worst as Smokey disappeared into the dark forest.

Then suddenly our golden reappeared! Rushing up to the beautiful demoiselle en détresse, he never once stopped to consider his weakness.

*    *    *

I hope you enjoyed Max's story about Smokey The Wonderdog. I shared several others with you, Tuesday, when I told you about that méchant lump. Bad news is the lab report came back positive for cancer. The vet was not able to operate, as planned, owing to excessive inflammation. More info, below, in these posts shared on Instagram, and here's an uplifting comment we received on Facebook, this one by Vayia M:

He will be fine! Yes, he will!!! Only positive thinking, he deserves it!

 Yes, yes! Smokey, you deserve it :-)


(Yesterday's update, on Instagram) The lump could not be removed today. The surgery is in one week, when the swelling subsides. "It is unfair that dogs get cancer," the vet said, agreeing with Jackie, who tried to make sense of the diagnosis. Looking to the bright side, Smokey has hopeful options--this, in addition to the Super Giant Lucky Star that shines down on him.


His upside down umbrella did not shield him from the deluge of kisses he just received from Jackie. He's now planning on bringing this prop to the beach this summer. And the summer after that. Or, as Karen said, on FacebookAnd seven or eight summers after that!

Smokey, when he was a pup.

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What a brave boy! Courage to Smokey and his family. Sending good vibes. xo

Myrna Laracuente

Only good wishes for Smokey. Feel better soon!

carole fitzgerald

Dear Kristin, Smokey certainly does deserve to be okay , what a brave dog xxx

Carol Beers

Just gone through surgery with our thirteen year old...she came through well! These dogs become so much a part of our lives. Stay strong for him.

Audrey Wilson

Ah! bless him in his big collar . Sorry to hear the result of the test ,but as I said previously, he is a survivor & with all the love & care he is getting will come through., I'm sure.
We had some sad news too My daughter ,who lives in Phoenix was walking her Lab, when he suddenly veered to the right on his leash & tore off (he was a big,strong, boy) straight into the road & was killed.Needless to say they are all devastated.Dogs are so much part o the family

Nancy Mulloy-Bonn

May you regain good health, Smokey, and live bring smiles to all of us readers.


Je espere que Smokey recupere tres rapidemente! Il est un brave chien.

Patrine Baptist

My sympathies and love to you all. May I also suggest that a "Cloud collar" is a wonderful alternative to the traditional hard plastic ruff. Much more comfortable and so less distressing for an unwell animal. Good luck.xxxxxxxx

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you,  Patrine. Will look into this.
Audrey,  so sorry about your daughters lab. Thinking of her.

Eileen deCamp

Sweet Smokey! Thinking about you all and hope he will be ok!

Tish Tyler

Smokey is a trooper and I am praying for his recovery.

There's also a inner-tube type collar that we have used on our 2 dogs. You blow it up and the dog has a lot more mobility. We got it at PetCo.


In bocca al cinghiale, Smokey.

In Italian, the way to say good luck is "In bocca al lupo" (into the mouth of the wolf) but I've changed "lupo" to "cinghiale"(wild boar) in honour of Smokey's bravery.

Either way, Smokey, the reply to the good luck wish is "Crepi" (may it -- wolf or boar -- die), so be sure to bark that word in dog talk.

Tami, Austin, TX

You are a wonderful doggie mamma and sounds like you have a good vet. Love and hugs and prayers that all goes well. :)

Cindy Mc

Smokey cheri we love you and are sending prayers for a speedy recovery! Vos amis de Louisiane... Bella, Coco, Diego et M. Toutou. xoxoxox

Micki Simms

Hang in there, Smokey! Soon this will be only a memory! You'll think you were taking a nap and had a bad dream peppered with many loving kisses. We'll be sending many thoughts until we get good news on the other side of your operation next week.

PS The beach umbrella is awesome. It will serve you well in the summer!

Love to your whole family.

Micki & Chami 🐾 Simms

Cindy Mc

J'ai oublié notre petite papillon Skylar. A large dog tried to eat her a few years ago but with surgery and some TLC she is a happy girl today. Our four legged children are all survivors and are sending beaucoup de love to you sweet Smokey.


Best wishes for Smokey's speedy recovery!

Susan Dautel

Such sweet photos and story of Smokey--hope the upcoming surgery goes well and that Smokey hangs tough to beat the diagnosis. I have friends whose dogs have gained years after getting through the treatments. Thank you for the kind words about my ailing pup. She is confused but delighted about all the treats she is getting--"a spoonful of [peanut butter, not sugar] makes the medicine go down"!

catharine ewart-touzot

what an exciting life Mr. Smokey has blessed we are to be allowed to live and love we suffer when they are sick or hurt, healing prayers that this will be yet just another pause in his eventful life..and that he will soon be ready for the next adventure.

Judith Dunn

... Dear Kristin and family.... We will all pray to all the Gods that Smokey will be fine and dandy after his surgery. He was a foolish but wonderfully brave dog to chase after the boar! Reward him well, as he may have saved that girl's life at the peril of his own! Our pets are so much a part of our family and Smokey has a great family and all of us cheering for his complete recovery! BRAVO! Smokey.... Judi Dunn, Tallahassee, Fl.

Cassie Alexandrou

How unfair, indeed, that dogs get cancer, for they are pure goodness. When I look into a dog's eyes, I see all the love in the world. I will continue to hope and pray that your sweet Smokey will win this battle, too, as he has so bravely done in the past. P.S. -- I think the position of Smokey's paw, in the photo with you, tells me that he is French!

Lynn at Southern Fried French

Oh NO! Lots of prayers coming your way for Smokey, le pauvre. (and I love the photo of Smokey as a pup--that French dog is a hound!).

Julie Farrar

Smokey is young, strong of body, and strong of heart. I just know he'll recover from this. Thank you for sharing what I know is a trying time for you. Give that golden-haired boy 500 kisses from me.

Julie Farrar

Oh, and about that cloud collar, if you can't find one then look for a fabric cone. They are just like that plastic but made of fabric that allows the dog to be more comfortable when sleeping, etc.

Chris Allin

Smokey's strength and courage described in the story Max told should help banish the monster that is attacking him now. That a sweet, gentle soul can be so strong is very encouraging. What comfort he must feel from his caring and loving family.

Smokey may be French, but he speaks to everyone in a universal language...heart to heart~


What a sweet, brave dog Smokey is, and Max is a great story teller!


Linda D

Sending love and healing wishes to you, your family and sweet Smokey. We fell in love with your puppy at first glance and we're all pulling for him. <3


Oh!! Sweet Smokey is such a brave dog. He chased off a wild boar so I have no doubt that he can chase off cancer with the help of the vet and your family love for him.

Joanne Ablan

Hi, Kristin, I hope and pray Smokey will be fine. My Golden, Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni, now in heaven, was also a brave heart. It is hard to select from the many times he was my salvation, but I will try.
Once, when my arm was broken Albi put himself in harm's way to
alert me to the danger of a large, old, and likely rabid raccoon. On
another occasion he consoled a friend who had lost a friend. Albi
had never met my friend or the lost lady friend, but accompanied us to the cemetery. My friend was grieving and unable to locate the grave. Who found it? Albi! Also, on one night when he was close to the end of his life here he barked and barked. Thinking he needed to go outside for nature's call, I let him out only to discover that he was alerting me to trespassers. It was dark and when I discovered a burst water pipe I thought the dog had bumped into it, causing the rupture. The local fire/police non-emergency team arrived and discovered a cut line and assured me of something I should have known immediately--my Golden was a hero!
My heart goes out to you. I never cried so much in my life as when my dog was suffering and leaving me for his Creator. My adult son still rescues puppies from abuse and drowning. I believe it is because he was raised with Albi, our most beloved Golden Retriever. Joanne, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

Kristin Espinasse

Joanne, Loved your tribute to Albi!

Dave Kapsiak

Smokey, we love you- get better soon! I wish I could be with you.

Judy Wood

In the short time I have been following your newsletter, I have fallen in love with Smokey. Best wishes for his recovery - and sympathy for his cone, which my dog detests.


My kitty kids, Rosie, Rico and Jack, are all sending kitty kisses to you and Smokey for his speedy recovery. We had 3 kitties who all got cancer, not fair for dogs or cats to get cancer. Give Smokey a rub for all of us. Hugs, Joanne


Smokey has to get well. What a brave, beautiful dog! Sending sparkles of love your way!


I remember when Smokey was born!! I am praying for him. Cancer is a terrible thing, for dogs or for humans. I hope he has a full and swift recovery.


Awww. Dear loveable Smokey dog! I have grown to adore him and he is obviously a brave hearted sweetie of a dog. I hope my good and healing wishes to you and your family help in some way.

Mona Shahgholi

Only the best wishes for Smokey and you...I am very sad but trying to be strong for him. We lost our loveliest Ollie on March 23 to car running him over...I hope he send prayers to

Jan in Colorado

Smokey doesn't look like a cat, but he does seem to have nine lives. Take heart--he still has a few more to go! And with all the positive energy being generated by the thoughts and prayers of his fans worldwide, the prognosis for his recovery is bound to be favorable!

Kristin Espinasse

Warmest thoughts going out to those who have recently lost pets. And,  Monaco,  Mom just told me about your Ollie. My heart goes out to you.


Our dear Kristi,
Please know we send renewed prayers for dear Smokey and you.This is a challenging,worrisome and difficult time,but take heart from Smokey's acceptance of any and all in knowing how much you love him and are doing all in your power to help him.
The trust that our angels put in us reminds me of the trust we now(and always) put in God.
Jesus told us: all will be well.
Sending courage and strength.Bless you all.
Natalia. Xo

Rebecca Scheer

I am a relatively new reader (a few months now!) and enjoy reading about every aspect of your French life. I found myself waiting with baited breath to learn of Smokey's results - we are big "dog people"! We just lost our beautiful 12-year old Alaskan Malamute to liver cancer - something we did not see coming. Your vet was so right - it's just fair when dogs succomb to any form of this disease! Sending best wishes for Smokey's full recovery and many more years ahead romping through the vineyards!

Rebecca Scheer

Oh dear, I forgot to proofread!! I intended to type UNfair - UNFAIR for dogs to get sick!!! They bring such joy and laughter to our lives. Please post my correction!

Linda C. (in California)

Even if we don't write and post, I am sure all your readers love Smokey and send heartfelt wishes for a quick recovery! (I am more a "cat person" than a "dog person," but I see him through your eyes!)

Anne and Edward Bornet

Smokey, we are praying for you. You sweet, wonderful and brave dog. Please get well soon. The world loves you.

Elaine Poynter

Prayers for sweet Smokey!


Prayers for precious Smokey, and his mom, dad, sister, and brother:) Bon Courage, Smokey!!!

Judith Boasberg

So sorry to hear about Smokey! Sending love and healing thoughts! Bon courage à vous tous!

Cynthia P. Lewis

Smokey, the prayers, love and tears from your FWAD family will surely help you to recover. Bon courage, sweet boy.

Michelle Charette

My big orange tabby cat, Monsieur Tubbs, had a cancerous lump on his tail and it had to be amputated. I was an emotional wreck! I truly believe that it bothered me more than it bothered him! Oh, and it has been 2 yrs. and he is fine. Wishing the same for your boy Smokey.


Smokey will overcome this. Such a brave and precious being. Deke, my spaniel mix, and I are sending warm wishes for Smokey's recovery.

Heather in Arles

Kristen, I am a big believer that all of us that are praying for Smokey and/or sending him Good Energy helps. I know that I will keep up my part and for you and your family as well. He is a special boy, that SmokeyDoke. I certainly have had many of my Golden friends come through cancer and continue on.
Gros, gros bisous (and if you wouldn't mind planting one on Smokey from me I would so appreciate it),


Je t' aime beaucoup, Smokey!

Harriet Provence Van Eps

I join all of the loving people above who have expressed their loving energy for all of the Famille Espinasse. Smokey has indeed showed his true heart and courage. My dear Holly Holly Border Collie has gone over the rainbow bridge. She was my black and white daughter. I pray that Smokey will conquer this latest and unfair challenge of his fortitude and fidelity to protect and serve his beloved family. Courage Smokey and many blessings to all of the bystanders. He is a steadfast and true soldier! Harriet sends you healing light and love.

Bette Goode

I can't believe that you might have beans to eat already and so early! Here on the west coast of Canada, we're just now planning our summer veggie gardens. When did you plant those beans?

Have fun with your guests at the wine tasting!

Lisa Smith

Just read the news.....Prayers, loads of love and healing energy to precious Smokey and his family. He's such a beautiful, brave boy, beloved by so many. We stand with you as your dear fur-kid undergoes this next journey. Love and light, Lis xx


Hugs and lots of kisses to sweet, dear Smokey. Get well soon, beautiful, beloved boy.

Holly K

Best wishes for Smokey's quick recovery. I know how awful this is as our retriever was just diagnosed with cancer as well. Our dog is older, but it is still so hard.

On a lighter aside, I noticed your lovely sideboard in the picture! My Mom has the exact same piece in her dining room!!

Eileen Brat

Kristin, I am amazed how I have never met you, yet I hurt for you like you are my sister. I truly have grown to love you through the years,and want you to know I am praying for you and your family. Your friend Eileen

Bill in St. Paul

I'm a bit late in commenting as we're in Pommard for two weeks and had a little trouble getting the Internet to work correctly. We're sending healing wishes Smokey's way and will anxiously await the news of his surgery. (I remember well that picture of Smokey and you when he was a puppy, such a sly dog!)


Sending best wishes and lots of positive thoughts Smokey's way! What a sweet, brave boy he is! I am sure he will come through this with flying colors!

Tracy Wood

Thinking of you all. All my best wishes, happy and positive thoughts for dear Smokey. Cancer sucks. xxxTracy

Jill  Brackstone

I have followed this wonderful dog from the time he was conceived in Marseille by a beautiful Blaise and her beau whose name I have forgotten. Then that dreadful trauma Smokey suffered when he was a pup. You have a big heart Smokey and half the world is praying for a total recovery from your upcoming surgery. I'm just one more two footed person sending love and good wishes to a very special boy😊

Alan Stevenson

I really enjoy reading your blog posts - can't wait for the next!

Pat Cargill

Dear sweet Smokey Dog, we wish you all the best with your upcoming surgery. Know you will come bounding through in your winning style. Loving thoughts to your dear famille Espinasse. Big hugs, Pat

Beverly Aigen

My heart and love is with you Smoky and your family. We have 4 dogs , 3 are Labs. My French might not have progressed as I'd like but I've watched "Smokion" grow up! We love him so. Know that there's love and good thoughts from all over the world thinking of you. Xoxo

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