The closest thing to a sleigh that I could find in my photo album. Taken in the Piedmont.

Faire le Traineau

to drag one's bottom


As if my son and my daughter aren't busy enough doling out French vocabulary and minding their mother's grammar, I now have a dog teaching me quirky Gallic slang! The latest expression, holiday-related at that, sounds more like a dance:

"To do The Sleigh."

On second thought, and depending on which meaning of today's word you use, "faire le traîneau" might not be a Christmas term at all, but a cross-dressing one:

"To do The Drag."

It was while watching our dog, Braise, schlep her furry bottom across the front lawn that a friend inquired: "Elle a des vers?" suggesting that our golden might need to be ver-me-foo-zhay (something that sounded like "worm fumigation" to me, a fate I wouldn't wish upon even a worm).

"Elle fait le traîneau," the vétérinaire explained, during yesterday's appointment.

"I'm sorry Doctor, could you repeat that?" said I.

"Elle fait le traîneau," she's doing the drag. 

"Ah, bon?" I looked over at our four-legged Drag Queen. Oh she's sly, that one, busy illustrating double-meaninged French expressions, and all the while living a double life! Next thing you know she'll fancy fuchsia on her claws and a conical-cupped bra à la Madonna.

French Vocabulary

Elle a des vers? = Does she have worms?

vermifuger = to deworm

le/la vétérinaire = veterinarian

Elle fait le traîneau = she's doing the drag

Ah, bon? = Oh, really?

===Text beyond this point will not appear in the book=== 

Did you spot any typos or misspelled words (in French or in English). Does the formatting look "off"?  Any suggestions will be helpful to me! Click here to comment.

Update: maybe we need to scrap this story.... I'm reading your comments and will see about either fixing the vague parts and/or changing the story ending. This story has been scrapped! It  won't appear in the book. 

Listen to French: hear Jean-Marc recite today's quote: Download traineau.mp3
Il devient alors chien de traîneau dans un pays de glace et de neige ou seuls les plus forts peuvent survivre.

Terms & Expressions:
le chien de traîneau = sled dog
la promenade en traîneau = sleigh ride
l'aspirateur traîneau = canister vacuum

French Christmas CD 

 You'll love this French Christmas CD, click here!


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This too is fine, if a little short. Sandra


I'm not sure I would include this story in the book. It's not quite "comment il faut," should we say. As Sandra says, it's too short for one thing, but I don't think the subject matter is as charming as your other ones, to put it diplomatically.

Sarah LaBelle

This one confuses me. Doing the drag does not mean much to me as an American phrase. Idioms from one language to another, that is so difficult. Literal translation of an idiom never helps me out.
Maybe if the text used the same phrase as in the opening lines, the dog is dragging his bottom, it would work better in English. That American phrase has a meanin got me -- going too slowly on a task.

Maybe also add a line of dialogue to the veterinarian, even if it was never said. Nothing is wrong with your dog, but said in French like the rest of the vet dialogue. Maybe the dog did have worms -- I do not know the rest of the story.

It would add a bit of heft to the story if the dog's story surrounded the idiom story. Was the dog okay? That would be the dog's story. Now it seems like you took the dog to the vet for nothing, it was just a playful dog, and you were stumped by the vet's words. Then we hear about Drag Queens, wbich is a whole other sort of idiom in American slang.

I do find idioms fascinating, so I like the topic.

BAFA Studio

I must agree with not including in this book for all of the above reasons...


Oh, she's sly, that one, seems like unnecessary words set off by commas. I would delete
'that one'.
I agree we should know if in fact the vet meant that she did, indeed have worms.

Herm in Phoenix, Az

Salut Kristin,

I agree, compared to your other stories, this one is a little short.

I like the “drag queen” association.

Maybe you could add something about cleaning up what you thought were shoe scuff marks off the carpet in the house that were really “Braise’s skid marks”. All the while you had blamed Jean-Marc… shame on you!

À bientôt

Jules Greer

I agree with all of the above, but as this is the only story about BRAISE in this time period. We are trying to bring her into the family in 2006. I think you might want to clarify her person by ranting on a little about how she is the first dog you have ever let your kids have..Max has had to wait almost ten years for this drag queen to arrive. She has enriched your French vocabulary in ways that we all would have missed if you hadn't weakened to all of our pleas for finally having a dog in the family. Yes, now we all know what a valuable asset she has become to FWAD over the past 6 years.

Maybe we should talk about this on the me Honey, I'm ready to tell you all about a few of our new friends I just met today...



Charles Orr in Flat Rock, NC

I like the story, but I also agree that it could be lengthened a bit, if there's something more to be said that's relevant. E.g., was the vet's expression a normal one that describes that doggy behavior in French, or was he/she trying to make a play on words?

I don't see any errors. As to the decision to keep a story, I would be inclined first to come up with a set of candidates (a few more than needed), then rank them and drop off the extra number from the bottom of the list. Without being able to compare, it's difficult in some cases to say yes or no.


Hi Kristin
I would omit this story. It's too short and it just doesn't seem worth inclusion. Also, the genders have got a bit confused here. Braise is female; a drag queen is generally male. Therefore, it seems odd to have a female dog described as a drag queen.

I really liked the photo of the red barrels on the cart; you should try to incorporate it somewhere in your book.


I am tickled by this piece, mainly because I am well familiar with the subject matter, having a dog that is doing the drag right now. My family has been somewhat disgusted with viewing this peculiar behavior during the last couple of weeks. I knew what it indicated, but haven't had time to proceed to the vet.
Now when I do take in the silly fellow to the vet, or at least his "sample," I can perhaps amuse the staff with the fancy french terminology for this rather distasteful medical symptom.
I will certainly entertain my family today when I tell them the new name for Ollie's unappealing behavior. I appreciate your story that has penned humor to a commom event shared by many pet owners.
Thank you for your post. I think there might be others who might get a laugh from this one, too.

Allen Laskin

Love the "sleigh"!

The story--not so much. I had Carmela at the vet last week to treat the same symptom. Not worms, but (pardon the expression) her anal glands
(anal sacs) needed to be expressed (I won't go into details--Google it).
I would recommend dropping this story.

Betty Gleason with blue pencil in hand

Agreed. Braise may be an earthy French femme, but she needs a better intro.

Kip Ingham

I agree...drop the story. Braise would appreciate it...Dad

Andrew Savill

Only just found this website. Love it!

Please forgive my slight confusion with your post. In addition to "to drag one's bottom" does "faire le traineau" also translate as "to drag up" or " to be in drag" or "to perform as a drag artiste" in the context of a drag queen?

If not, what is the correct phrase for this. Asking for a friend... Merci.

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