Une embuche: Obstacle, pitfall, difficulty in French + My Writing Process, deadlines, and How to finish a post
Un feuilleton: French for soap opera + recipe for Pumpkin-Ginger soup

Une sequelle: The aftermath or scars after an accident

Smokey (c) Kristin Espinasse
One of the "séquelles" that remain after the two-dog attack on Smokey (years ago!) is that hanging tongue. Read about another, in today's story. 

une séquelle (say-kel)

    :  aftereffect, aftermath scar, legacy

Une séquelle est une lésion qui persiste après la guérison d'une maladie ou blessure. Mot également utilisé lorsque l'on parle d'une conséquence plus ou moins lointaine qui est le contrecoup d'un évènement, d'une situation. A séquelle is a lesion that persists after the healing of an illness or injury. The word is equally used when talking about a consequence, more or less distant, that is the aftershock of an event or situation.

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

Dog Therapy

In the parking lot not far from the sea, the sky is barely visible beyond a canopy of parasol pines. The tall thin trees slant permanently and I sometimes wonder if it is the aftereffect of the wind, forever blowing on them?

"Look, Smokey, there's a friend!" I say, when we encounter the first hikers on our 20-minute parcours. Only, as our parties pass each other I notice the impersonal looks on the hikers' faces. As their black Labrador pauses to sniff Smokey, I smile at the different members of the group, but each set of eyes is glued to the path.

I tug on Smokey's leash, careful not to delay the hikers. "Maybe they've got other things on their mind," I explain to Smokey.  You know how it is on a hike, some people are quick to offer a cheery hello, while others are lost in thought—and still others have invisible signs marked "Do Not Disturb!" 

Farther along the sentier, we spy a trio of women. A little white dog is trotting alongside the ladies, who are already waving their hands and puckering their lips, in one warm extended greeting.

"Isn't he nice!" the women remark,  as they bend down to pet Smokey. Their encouraging words are touching. 

"It is wonderful therapy," I admit, telling the women a little about Smokey, who benefits so much from these friendly encounters. As I talk, I feel myself relaxing.

"What is her name?" I ask, smiling at the little dog with the long white hair.

"Etoile." The three women have that gentle confidence that comes from being a veteran aunt or sister or friend or caring co-worker. I feel their affection. With a spring in our step, Smokey and I walk on.  Au revoir, we say goodbye to "Star" and her twinkling entourage.

Next, we pass a bulldog who hops along, all but dragging his stomach with him. Walking alongside the wobbling gourmand a young couple is lost in a bubble of love. The lovers wake briefly when the bulldog and the golden retriever exchange growling menaces. Yanking our respective leashes, the couple and I take a moment to exchange a friendly "no worries" greeting.

For the rest of our journey it is people-only encounters and I notice how some hikers can't resist reaching out to caress Smokey while others keep to themselves. Occasionally I notice a look of distaste, and I remember to pull out my tissue and wipe my dog's slobbering face. He can't help it, all that frothing at the mouth is just one of the séquelles of the attack he endured as a puppy. 

Heading down the hill toward our car, I see a couple walking toward us. I quickly reach for the tissue and clean up my dog. Noticing some of the slobber is dripping down my pant leg, and another bit is dangling from the cuff of my sleeve I quickly brush the two together. Beurk!

"Il est magnifique," the woman with the red hair cheers and her partner, who reaches to pat Smokey on the head, assures me this is so.

I hear the woman repeat her words, adding a few more for good measure, "Il est magnifique, comme sa maitresse!"

The extra generous words take me by surprise and I can't help but be moved by the manner in which strangers reach out to one another. I have to wonder, Why us

As the strangers walk off, I bend down to examine Smokey's crooked face, as I caress his golden chest. It is easy to see why he is so loved.  And suddenly, I feel a little lucky about how, once again, some of that love has rubbed off on me. It's another of those gifts that our animals bring us: connection with the world out there.

To comment, click here. I'd love to read your thoughts about your animals. How does your cat or dog or... behave with other animals? Has your pet ever led you to a friendship? Healed you of a wound, internal or external? Click here to leave a comment or to read one.   

* To read about Smokey's attack, click here.

Dog Therapy (c) Kristin Espinasse
Have you read A Dog's Life by Peter Mayle? Click here to read the reviews.

French Vocab

parcours = training course (for walking, jogging...)

le sentier = path

une étoile = star

au revoir = goodbye

une séquelle = scar, aftermath

beurk = yuck, gross
Il est magnifique = he is magnificent

comme sa maîtresse = like his mistress 


An unusual place to write a story about quitting wine, but when my dear cousin-in-law gave me the poster, I couldn't help but smile to myself. Book update (and thanks for asking me to check in! I began chapter 2 on Friday and will continue this evening. When "blocking" the book in my head, various scenes, so vibrant and memorable, floated naturally to the surface of my mind. If each of these scenes is a chapter, this means the book will go forwards and backwards in time (i.e. the Prologue begin in 2013, while Chapter 1 unfolds in 2002. Chapter 2 opens up in 1994, just before our wedding...) My question to you now: Do you find it bothersome to read a book that goes backwards and forwards in time?

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

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