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Wednesday, October 21, 2009


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Margaret Dennis

Dear Kristin, Smokey, and family.

Thank you for the much anticipated update. This has been traumatic for all of you. Be prepared for the emotional trauma to take time to heal -- time for all of you. I am not sure what Braise is going through but her trauma and wounds need to heal too. I know that my cat Bacall absolutely freaks out with vet smells and used to attack her poor brother Bogart when he returned from his cancer treatments. Maybe you can rum some baby powder or something on him to neutralize the vet/blood smells. Give them time. It is clear she has not rejected him.

Thank you again for the update. I am glad to see he is looking a bit more perky. I hope you are too.


Margaret Dennis

Sorry, rum should read rub! Maybe some rum isn't a bad idea though....


It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' J'espère que c'est la même chose pour petit Smokey, mai ça me brise le coeur. Tenez bon, Cindy

Suzanne Stegic

Hello Kristin, I'm a friend of Carolyn Mitchell's from Minneapolis. I've read your blog all summer, now through the fall, and enjoy it so very much. The wonderful puppy pictures make me smile daily, and your commentary is great! Had to write to tell you the same thing happened to our yellow lab puppy (Bjorn) at about the same age. And, to make it a bit more awful all around, it was my employee's dog that mauled mine! You are all so loving with that sweet little baby, and he WILL start to chase those butterflies soon....our baby Bjorn grew to be a lively, chewing machine! (He ate my cabinets, oriental rug, and the bumper off my Jeep!) No residual damage. Give Smokey a little hug from me. By the by, we bought a few cases of your wine this summer when your husband flew through. It was the highlight of our summer! When friends came over we opened a bottle of our prized rose' to share with them. It was really really special to drink something with a direct connection to the growers. Best of luck on your venture! You have a customer for life. Suzanne Stegic

lisa marie

Many many bisous to Smokey. xxo


Those pictures capture it all. How sad.

I know you must be upset with Braise. It's hard to understand that behavior. As much as we humanize our pets, we forget that they are still animals who we wish would have deep feelings that rule their lives but instead are truly self survivalists wolf-dogs to the core.

My two adorable dogs are inseparable and loving friends. My one dog, Sadie, is epileptic though, and when she has a seizure the other dog, Molly, turns into a attack wolf. Seizures are a little bit like seeing someone possessed by the devil, so I can somewhat understand the reaction, but the same thing has occurred whenever Sadie has had even the smallest of surgeries or even when Sadie returns from a normal visit to the vet! It seems like it must be some "Get fit, act right or get out" mentality. The strange thing is that Sadie has NEVER done this to Molly. Is it that "alpha dog" issue, I wonder??

Anyway, they will work it all out with no hard feelings. Something us humans have a much harder time doing.

Maryland, USA

Paul and Mandy Mullins

We were so Sorry to hear of Braise and Smokeys ordeal, we too had a nine week old retreiver called Benson, who like Smokey was a brave trusting puppy, with not a care in the world, when he was attacked in our own garden by a large powerful dog, he had vitually the same injuries, a big gash to the face and throat but the sreams from him, have never left us, it was horrible.
However he did recover,but was very timid and nervous for the rest of his 13 years,sadly we lost him after a very good life to old age, last April (the last 4 years of his life living in France, a paradise for him.)
Give Smokey a big hug from us, and tell him to be a brave boy, we have really enjoyed all his pictures,
Wishing you all the best,
Paul and Mandy Mullins (Creuse)

Harriet Wallace

Kristen, I receive your newsletter and have loved the puppy diary. I am so sorry for Smoky. We have a 3 year old Lagado Romagnolo who we rescued at 8 months. He was never physically harmed but he still has fears of other dogs especially Alsatiens, yet he survived in the shelter for six weeks.
Mugsy is getting better.

Hugs and kisses to Smoky,


Bill in St. Paul

Hang in there, Smokey, you will get better. We're all routing for you. My resistance to getting another dog (a Golden, of course) is crumbling seeing the sweet pictures of you and your mother.

Pam Embry

Poor little guy! And how traumatic for all of you. I am so sorry that you and your family experienced this. Your love and care will make the world will seem safe to him again, and he will romp and explore once more. May the amazing resilience of living things, especially the young of all species, inspire your family as you recover from this awful event.

renee lerner

I am so sorry to hear about Smokey. I had a blond lab many years ago, Sally, and she had an accident. She ran out of my car and got hit by another car. I thought I had lost her, but the doctor took care of her. She was very quiet for a long time which she needed to do so her leg would heal well. We kept her where she would not have to go up and down stairs.

When she healed she hardly had a limp. And then she became spunky again. But you are right probably, Smokey's puppyhood has been curtailed, I hope only temporarily until she heals and feels better. My sympathies to you during this difficult and sad time.
Love, Renée


Poor little Smokey...I couldn't even write the other day, I was so overcome with sad that this had to happen to the poor little guy.

But your love will help him heal and trust again.

Big hug to Smokey and Braise too :-) Diane

Lisa Kiely

Cher Smokey,
I'm so sorry to hear about your accident. No doubt it was very frightening for you :( It sure was for your family and friends!!! Get plenty of rest, soak up all that TLC and you'll be chasing butterflies before you know it.
Hugs and Love,


Oh, poor Smokey! I was so sorry to hear about the attack on him. How terrible for him and how frightened he must have been! It may be a while before he realizes that he is a very lucky fellow to have survived such a vicious attack. I am glad that you found him when you did and got him to a vet in time to save him. He needs lots of loves and it's really a bummer that what would comfort him the most, his mom's tummy, is off the menu. I know, though, that his human family will give him lots of pats and cuddles to help him feel better soon.


Dear Smokey,

You remind me of my son. His first day of pre-school a boy came up to him and hit him in the head with a plastic truck. He had never been hit and was utterly shocked, then water began pouring down his cheeks. Gone were the days of him thinking nobody would ever hit him. He was looking over his shoulder for a while, but grew to be a star...just as you will do little guy :)


Poor little guy my heart does go out to him. Lucky for him hes got you and your family to love and care for him. His scars will heal and so will his fears with love and patience. Big hug to him and thanks to you for a wonderful newsletter/blog that I have enjoyed over the last couple of months. Much Love Jackie, Pas de Calais xx


dogs wag taiis, not tales
dead men tell no tales, not tails


Your poor, poor little pup. He is so adorable it is really so sad that he has been beaten up like this. I hope he is soon on the road to recovery and regains his joie de vivre X


Thank you for the update. I've been wondering how he is. Poor baby, I wish I could reach through the computer and scoop him up to cuddle the sad pup. Have faith, it is early days. In time both he and Braise will be better. How fortunate for them both to have such loving owners.


Poor little scared Smokey. Thanks for update. I'm sure your love and attention will make up for what he's not getting from Braise. Perhaps if you give Smokey a bath that will erase whatever smell repels his mother. For all you know, he now smells like the dogs that attacked him, which would explain why Braise does not want to "mother" him in his time of need.

Kristine, dallas

Progress not perfection! The rule for all as time passes.


Catherine Burnett

I was so sad to hear of Smokey's horrible attack but am glad to read that he's physically doing better.

I am a long time Golden owner and I currently raise service animals. I wanted to share my "jolly routine" with you, which will help dear Smokey to overcome his timidness.

When Smokey reacts to something he perceives as scary (a leaf, a balloon, a loud noise), you want to make sure you avoid coddling him at all costs. DO NOT stroke him gently and tell him, "It's ok... I won't let that balloon (ladder, vacuum etc) hurt you!". To dogs, that sounds like praise and you will be reinforcing the fearful behavior. The last thing you want the puppy to think is, "I am supposed to react like this when I am unsure of something".

What TO DO with a fearful reaction is to walk confidently up to the object and do your "Jolly Routine". Release the pup and say "Whoa! Did you see that amazing balloon/scary noise/etc?!? It is soooo much fun!" Use a big voice with lots of intonation. Act goofy, like the object is the best thing in the world, and encourage Smokey to sniff it (but don't force him to get close if he balks). Have lots of treats in your pocket (I use Cheerios and small puppy kibble) and feed Smokey generously as he nears the object, drawing him closer to the object and treating him and giving big pats on his sides. When you're rewarding him, praise him too, saying "yes, good boy" in your big girl voice, not a sweet, coddling voice. If he is not willing to approach the object, you can bend down and touch and talk to the object to show that it's not scary... Yes, you may look crazy if you are in public, but it is best for the pup. :)

Having Smokey come up and sniff the object and perhaps touch it (my current pup was afraid of a stump in the garden, and eventually, she was able to stand on it as if to say "look at me, I've conquered this horrible tree stump!") is the best way to see if he is gaining confidence around the thing that scared him. Doing several passes by the object will help to see if he is still avoiding it and if there is any lingering fear. This takes time, so don't rush this, but be consistent, or Smokey will think that it's okay to balk at something, which will only reinforce his fear.

Be patient and be enthusiastic and give lots of treats. Help Smokey get through this fear period in a positive manner, and he will be his puppy-self soon--chomping on leaves and chasing butteflies!

My current Golden Retriever Bijou sends puppy kisses to Braise and Smokey and wishes she lived in France, since people there would know the meaning of her name (gem; jewel)! And hugs to you Kristin, and your family.
--Catherine Burnett
Virginia (Arizonan at heart)


Ohhhhh, I hope Smokey gets better. He will be OK, with help from his loving owners...time heals all wounds. What happened to the dogs who attacked him?


Great advice from Catherine, above!

Jeannie Leighton

Our first reactions as humans is to coddle and protect; I would smother Smokey in love each time he jumped at anything but Catherine B. is right - it only reinforces the reaction in a puppy - be strong, Mama Kirsten. Positive and brave play is needed to heal Smokey's emotional wounds; his tough little body with do the rest. Love to all of you.

Jeannie - a chilly morning in the hills of north central Arizona, warming to 75 later.


Dear Kristen and family:
I'm happy to read your blog and find out that Smokey is on his way to recovery and before you know it, he will be back being himself again.

Diane Scott

Chere Kristin,

Your heart may feel permanently lodged in your throat but I believe with all my heart that Smokey grows stronger every day and will soon again be that bouncey pup. He just needs the time to heal. That is wonderful advice from Catherine in Virginia, and it probably pertains to humans as well. Take it a day at a time, and stop blaming yourself for all of this (which I am quite sure you are doing even if you don't realize it). My heart goes out to all of you.

Kisses and hugs,


Marianne Rankin

Smokey (and Braise, and readers), "Things that don't actually kill us outright make us stronger" - Piet Hein, Danish nathematician and writer.

Wishing you a complete recovery, Smokey. Think of all the fun you will have when you are mended. Your family will give you lots of good times and plenty of love. You, too, Braise.

I'm sure if anyone can help Smokey and Braise, it is la famille Espinasse.

Jules Greer

Dearest Kristi,

I am always amazed at the wisdom which pours into my soul from your "comments box" -

Years ago (during my 25 years as a 'divorsee' (sp??) my mantra to all of my friends was "Treat your man like a dog and he will love you forever.!" As I read your stories and especially your friends who so generously comment I am taken aback (is aback a word?) by the generous sharing of wisdom you receive from your friends at French-Word-A-Day. As I told you yesterday on the phone, I am constantly amazed at how you are continuely teaching an old dog ( ME ) new tricks as our life unfolds.

I must say I am thoroughly enjoying the way your friends have picked up on you Darling Dad's encouragement to all of us to post our city and country. Jeannie, you have of course expanded this with your current weather - which is brillant for an obsessive (sp?) weather watcher like me.

I love all of you so much.


Cool rain in the jungle here today !!!

Jeff Perez

Looking at your website has been a highlight of our day ever since the puppies have been with you. We talk about them everyday and I have them as my screen saver. My entire household was heartbroken when we heard what happened. Please take care of smokey and braise and give us constant updates!!

Betty Gleason caring for grandkids with flu in Leesburg VA sunny 46

My heartfelt wishes for a speedy resolution. Perhaps rubbing Smokey with the essence of Braise's favorite treat might do the trick to reestablish the bond. I've seen that work. Also give Braise special attention as she may be feeling despondent over not protecting her pup.
With care you will all recover from your wounds. Love & hugs to all


Amor... love... amour...

Andrea - Austin, TX



I am so distressed about what happened to Smokey. I just felt sick to my stomach when I received your email the other day. My thoughts and prayers are with Smokey for his full recovery.


Much love to little Smokey and family as he heals!


Kristin, one commenter mentioned the "jolly game". I've used that with my dog who was rescued from a puppy mill. He was scared of everything and everyone. Once I gained his trust we did the jolly game and it really helped. He will always be a bit timid and scared about stuff but is definitely better. Right now Smokey needs love and in a few days after the staples/stitches are out you might want to start the jolly game.
Rainy and overcast-but then we are in Seattle!

Amy Kraushaar

My puppy and I suffered a similar attack, and it was horribly traumatic. She survived and so did I, but it takes a while. Hold fast to your faith - Smokey will turn back into a fun-loving puppy again. My only words of advice: be sure to slowly reintroduce him to other dogs. I didn't and my Annie was never again comfortable making new acquaintances. Smokey has a wonderful life ahead of him with such an obviously loving family!



My heart goes out to poor dear Smokey and all of you. I have pictures of him and his sisters form our visit to your place; they were all such sweet puppies. It's best that he's quiet now so his body can spend all it's energy healing his wounds. Maybe he seems so pensive because he is plotting the mischief he'll get into when he feels better.


Oh Kristin, it killed me to hear what he and you all had to go through. I really do not take kindly to those who raise dogs who attack puppies. I know you are way too kind but animals that attack are trained to attack.
I can only imagine what the poor little pup is thinking. I think he will start feeling much better as he goes on short little promenades in the safety of his two mamans. I think if this had happened here in the US...well you know that already...
Love to all and special kisses to little pup.



I'm sure the healing power of love and adherence to Catherine's professional advice will push this horrible incident to the very back recesses of Smokey's mind and let the playful pup reemerge. Bon courage to you all!

How does 4-9 inches of snow on the front range of Colorado sound??? I'll be cocooning today and envying Jules in Puerto Vallarta! And to think the temp was in the 80s and we played golf just last Sunday!

Karen from Phoenix, AZ

Much love to all of you. I want to cuddle Smokey too!!

dorothy dufour

As usual, I agree with most of the above. Time is what Smokey needs. A family member took in an abused dog and it took 2 years of good treatment, but I'm sure for a puppy the time will be much shorter. Bonne chance!

Dorothy. The rainy season is upon us after
a lovely summer and fall here in coastal BC.

NJL from New Orleans

Get well soon Smokey! I know you will! I am such an animal lover, it just kills me to see this happen to a puppy. But he seems to be on the road to recovery. I'm sending positive vibes to you and your family...

Jules Greer

Hi Darling Dorothy Dufour,

I don't think most readers here at FWAD realize that you are one of the first readers to come on board years ago to encourage Kristi with your loving letters of support many years ago. I remember receiving a phone call from Kristi a year or so ago telling me she hadn't seen any comments from you for a while and how worried she was about you. I am so happy to see you back again on the comment page and how interesting to finally find out where you live in the wonderful world of French-Word-A-Day. XOXO - JULES

It is now pouring rain here in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - I think the temp. is somewhere in the low 80's.


He will survive and prosper with your love and attention. My best to all of you.

joie  carmel,ca

Today I have tears at the photos. He wants his mother right now....wouldn't you? He will be fine. Love and time will heal. Introduce the playfulness very slow. Play with favorite toys, start short walks out of the house, onto the patio. Probably the only good thing is that he will never again venture off the property. Give him a tummy tickle for me....I love puppy tummies and feet (they smell like popcorn)


I have been reading your posts for about a year and just love all your stories. I was particularly enjoying the stories of Braise and her family. I was heartsick to hear of the attack on le pauvre petit! Catherine gave you the best possible advice, although it is hard to do. It seems so counter-intuitive to humans who naturally want to comfort someoone in pain. Catherine is right, though, you can't let Smokey associate his fear with positive reinforcement. What he needs is your good example that there is nothing for him to fear!! You are in my thoughts and prayers. Pat in Pennsylvania Dutch Country (Lancaster County, PA)

Janine Cortell

Cher Smokey:
Tu as toute la vie devant toi et tu vas guerir. Tu vas recommencer a chasser les papillons dans peu de temps. Je pense a toi, a Braise, et toute ta famille. Je t'embrasse tres tres fort. Janine Cortell
Port Townsend


How heartbreaking! Get well soon Smokey. You are loved and blessed with a wonderful family.

Patricia Anzalone

My heart goes out to Smokey and Braise. I sincerely hope Braise feels nurturing and accepting to him. Please continue to let us know how it goes. My mother's heart is sad over this!
Patricia in warm and sunny Virginia

Janet Corrette

Poor little toutou. I hope he feels better in all ways soon!It may take some time, but thank goodness he is recovering.We are all rooting for you, Smokey!!
Jan in CT

Christine Dashper

So sorry that this has happened Kristin. I am sending love and positive thoughts to Smokey and all of you. It must be so tough to see the little possum it this state. He comes from good stock though, look how Braise her disappearance a while back.

Take care



Hello from rainy Sainte Cécile where a warm and swift southern wind ended in pouring afternoon skies.

Thank you all very much for your generous compassion. I would like to share it right back with you, and with so many that I know who are struggling with health and financial issues at this time (you know who you are, whether readers, family members and friends!)

Thanks to Catherine (and to so many of you for excellent tips which I will use...) for the info on how to act and react around my on-the-mend chien. I had been doing everything backwards! (Rewarding him, it turns out, for his fear.) I have started by removing Smokey from my room, and putting him back in the family area. He is happily distracted by the cooking and construction work (Uncle Jacques is back -- painting and patching up the walls...) -- Smokey is a great audience for my brother-in-law and seems interested in the home-improvements as he sits quietly watching everything.

I can't thank you enough for sharing your thoughts here.

Kristin, from Sainte Cécile "with the streaming skies".

Jill Brackstone

Poor little guy. He still looks so sad----and confused. Prayers to Smokey and Mama Braise, Please keep updates coming on the progress of both dogs.
You are a wonderful family and I'm sure all that love will soon heal both dogs.
Jill - Tarn et Garonne

Nick Kulibaba

Cher Smokey,

Sois mieux, sois bonhomme! Tu as des miliers des amis!

Tonton Nick

Karen Hadley

I'm sure that as the body heals, his spirits will heal too. There are two homeopathic remedies that might be available in your area that are good for injuries and improving recovery (mental and physical). Arnica montana for the physical trauma and Ignatia is good for shocks that are not recovered from. Arnica is good for people too, any soft tissue injury or shock (such as a fall, bruise, car accident, etc.) and is the main remedy for an instance like Smokey's. I wish you all well.


Dear Kristi,

Maybe Smokey's mom is instinctively doing what she needs to do while he is healing. She cannot lick his wounds nor coddle him too much or he will not heal physically or emotionally. It may seem like rejection to us, but in a dogs world Smokey has to be weaned from his infancy. It's just that he was attacked by those aggressive dogs at the same time. Smokey is clearly a survivor and I'm sure Braise does not want him to be feeling sorry for himself. As I recall, Braise was pacing back and forth where Smokey had fallen until help had arrived. She and you are responsible for his initial recovery and getting him to the vet on time. I am amazed that he is eating and healing so quickly.

In any case, I think Smokey will heal both physically and emotionally in due time and he and his mom will establish a new and better relationship when it's all over. My prayers and love continue to go out for Smokey.

Merrie Dail

Hi kristin,

perhaps a puppy play-date might be just what the doctor ordered.. Best wishes to all

Merrie Dail, Annapolis MD


Kristin and family - who could not be moved by these photos. I feel for you all, but am glad others have offered good advice for Smokey's recovery and rehabilitation. The emotional recovery will take longer, but he is in good hands. I look forward to seeing him grow in stature and confidence as the weeks pass.
What a rollercoaster you have been on recently. Warmest wishes from a very dreich Scotland.

Evelyn Jackson

Cloudy and a drizzle of rain in Iowa this evening...feels a lot like my heart when I read about Smokey's horrible trauma. I know between your love, Jean-Marc's and the kids' he'll bounce back and be your playful puppy once again.


Puppies, like children, are resilient - before you know it, he'll be back to puppyhood. Patience.

suzy white

Courage,mon ami. Les jours meilleurs ont d'avance(don't know if that translates well, but i wanted to say better days are ahead)!Godspeed to all of you.


You will heal and once again be the wonderful puppy that you are. It's not fair, and I hate the 2 dogs that attacked you ( & perhaps the owner that let them escape). But you, Smokey, are the brave pup and will wag your tail again.


I am so sorry about what happened to your puppy! They are resilient and he will heal both externally and internally. All he needs is your love!

Christine Jackson

So sad to see innocence gone! Yet it is the same for us isn't it? Once hurt, we are much more leary of trusting again.

I am constantly amazed by the kindness of FWAD readers. I love coming here because I am encouraged by the goodness of the people who comment.

Christine in Salt Lake City, UT
60 and sunny here today

Karen K.

Such a sweet innocent to be so severely abused by les chiens mauvais. I'm amazed at the depth of dog knowledge and wisdom - and the puppy love :-) that many of your friends have been sending your way. Best wishes to le pauvre petit, and many healing thoughts are winging in his direction from northern Virginia, where the weather was bright and clear and sunny today.


Poor puppy and his Mum. I hope Jackie and Max are OK.
And K and JM too! Love Sarah A

Nancy Rude

Give Smokey a big hug for me. I have a cat named Smokey and I love him dearly. He is the most gentle animal I can imagine. So I love all pets named Smokey! He just needs lots of TLC and he'll be a loving animal again.

Nancy in Roseville, Minnesota


Still thinking about and praying for physical and emotional healing for sweet, tender little Smokey and all of his caregivers!

Anne Brixner

Smokey, look how much love you have from both in France (chez toi!) and from all over the world! Let that love and joy for your
life surround and heal you. Love heals ALL wounds!
oxo Anne and Mike from Seattle

alex suede

dear kristine,Smokey and family,

Your story was so touching to me as I do really emphatise with what you have been through, moi-meme! I used to have a lovely little fellow he was grown up but toujours petit chien and a son to me it was hell when the day came I had to put him down I as I cried I asked God to keep for me till the day I return to him. I still keep his feeding bowl and the things that belonged to him and yes I still do feel his presence especially when I need him.........sometime we just can't understand pourquoi la vie c'est ca..I love the pics you display I do hope you will continue to keep us abreast of Smokey's activities and keep him safe always a precious gift that will never be replaced.

Marjie and her retired greyhound boys, Hobbs and Bennet

Oh, darling Smokey. So, so sorry to hear of the injuries to your body and spirit. We are sending our very best wishes, hugs and scritches from Minnesota. We are thinking of you and wishing you quick healing. Your humans love you so very much. I hope your trust in them and your momma Blaise restore your happy puppy spirit very soon. Take care, sweet puppy.

Polly Adkins

J'ai raconté la triste histoire de Smokey à mes six chiens, qui ont écouté, les yeux ouverts avec concerne. Après, le plus vieux chien, qui est paralyzé depuis huit ans d'un incident semblable, m'a dit: C'est vrai que la vie va changer pour le petit, mais c'est mieux comme ça. On est plus sage, plus attentif des dangers de la vie, et avec l'amour d'une bonne famille, on peut être guéri au corps et au coeur. Je lui ai remercié de ces mots sages, et il m'ai souri avec la queue.
Polly (de Fort Mill en Caroline du Sud)


Love heals all!
We send ours to Smokey and Braise as she mothers him as well as all of you human mothers in his life. Kisses and touch heal the body and soul of man or beast, all creatures great and small respond to the healing love he's receiving during his days of healing!
Healthy wishes to all of you!
Sadie (the bloodhound) & the Patrick's in Ocala!

Pat Cargill

Much love to Smokey, Braise et famille...and wishes for a speedy recovery in body and soul...cher puppy.

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