un aboiement (ah-bwa-mahn)
: bark, barking (of dog)
Also: aboyer = to bark, un aboyeur (une aboyeuse) = a barking dog
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
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.
la grasse matinée
to sleep in
half an hour
what a mess
Allez les Toutous! Pipi dehors
Come on, dogs! Pee pee outside!
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
le gardien, la gardienne
les ravages (m)
le spectateur, la spectatrice
onlooker, witness, audience
il a survécu
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?
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety