la journee mondiale de l'alimentation

une plaie

golden retriever, injured, accident, star pillow, books, nightstand, argile, plaie, heal (c) Kristin Espinasse,
Smokey and his new silver cheek. Our vet stapled Smokey back together: his cheek and upper jaw were mended and several more staples were used to patch up his throat after a couple of attack dogs wandered into our yard on Friday. Read on, in today's story column just below.

une plaie (play) noun, feminine

    : wound

une plaie béante = open/gaping/wide open wound

Audio File and Example Sentence: Download MP3 or Download Wav file

Please help translate the following quote (in the comments box). Merci!

Le trafic de faux médicaments dans les pays en voie de développement est une plaie béante planétaire. -Bloob

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


(Dear Friends, I will spare you of unnecessary heartbreak and share with you, now, the bright ending to today's story: our puppy is home, safe, and recuperating. As the veterinarian said, on Friday, "normalement, il doit s'en sortir."  ("It looks like he's going to make it.")


*   *   *

It feels as if weeks have passed since the accident; in reality, only three days ago our puppy was mauled by two attack dogs.

It happened on Friday, just before five in the afternoon. I was on my way out the door when Jean-Marc called down, from his office upstairs.

"Fais rentrer Braise et Smokey avant de partir*...." he said. My brain processed the bits of information: Braise, Smokey... outside? I had not realized our dogs were déhors.*

We had had an unexpected visit from a friend, just minutes before... the dogs must have slipped out then. During the brief moment of inattention, Mother dog and son wandered over to the edge of the property, where two stocky chiens* were roaming -- having escaped, we would later learn, from their fenced yard some five kilometers away....

I had been upstairs folding clothes when I heard the excited aboiements*... which I thought to be coming from the field, where hunting season is underway; of the barking, I remember thinking: "les chiens de chasse ont dû trouver leur proie".*

Little did I know that the prey was our two-month old golden retriever and that these were not the hunters' dogs.

Just as soon as Jean-Marc had spoken, I ran out the door, calling after our dogs.
Braise! Smokey! B R A I S E: il est où Smokey?!*

I quickly ran over to the field and saw Braise excitedly pacing back and forth, barking and crying. I followed her over to the edge of our property, to where the land drops off a few feet -- level with the brook below. That is when my eyes locked on our lifeless pup.

I automatically turned away, horrified, having seen our young dog lying on his side, stiff as death.
"Il est mort!"* I screamed, seeing blood streaming.

Innocence Downed
Our playful puppy had been brought down by something savage. Was it the pack of dogs that I had heard earlier? Or was it a hunter's bullet? Could a wild boar or a renard* have attacked? What -- or who -- did this to our sweet puppy?

I ran toward the house screaming for my husband, but the Mistral wind muffled my cries.

Not long after, Jean-Marc, having heard shouting, was by my side.
"Qu'est-ce qui se passe! Il est où?! Il est où Smokey?!"*
"Il est mort!"*

I pointed to the edge of the property line and Jean-Marc took off, following les taches de sang* which began at the end of our arrière-cour.*

"Non!" He shouted, on seeing our pup. "Ce n'est pas possible. Ce n'est pas possible!"*

I watched, heartsick and immobile, as Jean-Marc reached down to collect our puppy off the ground.

"I can't look. I don't want to see!" I said as my husband approached.

"Il est toujours vivant!"* Jean-Marc said -- for at that very moment... a soft beating could be felt from within the little furry body that hung in my husband's arms.

At that point I could bring myself to look... beyond the crimson jaw and neck where the dogs had aimed to kill.

Smokey's tongue hung from the side of his mouth, which was full of fresh blood. Along with his tongue, he was entirely immobile...

...except, we soon discovered, for his lovely chocolate brown eyes, which followed, calmly, the figures hovering above him. Smokey's chocolate eyes looked left, then right. As he lay cradled in solid arms, there, above him, two frightened faces released tears of hope as they looked down at their lucky dog.

*   *   *

Read an update of the story, here. More updates continue in the archives.

Comments & messages to Smokey welcome. Our puppy loves to hear our voices read your messages. It does seem to comfort him! Meantime, I'll continue to sing him Amazing Grace... "that saved *an amazing dog* like me!" (he loves that one too!)

Post note: I won't mention which breed of dog attacked our puppy. The important thing to remember, as my mom, Jules, always says, is that dogs are animals (though some like to think of them as "children") : they have their instincts and we must always remember that -- and be aware of the dangers whether it is our dog or another's.

French Vocabulary

Fais rentrer Braise et Smokey avant de partir = bring in Braise and Smokey before you leave; dehors = outside; le chien (m) = dog; un aboiement (m) = barking; les chiens de chasse ont dû trouver leurproie = the hunting dogs have found their prey; il est où where is he?; il est mort = he is dead; le renard (m) = fox; Qu'est-ce qui se passe! Il est où?! Il est où Smokey? = what's happening? Where's Smokey?; les taches (f) de sang = spots of blood; une arrière-cours (f) = backyard; Ce n'est pas possible = it can't be; il est toujours vivant! = he is still alive!



painted shop sign, books, reading, candlelight, awning, Hyérès France (c) Kristin Espinasse,
A sign outside a book shop in the old town of Hyérès. Hundreds more photos over at my private photo journal.


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