Goodbye, Breizh.
Illegal Alien, Moi? Sans papiers? Carte de sejour & Lettre de motivation + Ratatouilasse recipe (ratatouille + hamburger)

The 5 senses in French + Smokey's Grief

male female golden retrievers dog chien straw hat

Pictured: Sam and Breizh, in 2009. Smokey's parents met and eloped in Marseilles. It is the most amazing story ever. A miracle! Please read  "Chien Perdu" here. (But don't miss the update, below).

l'ouïe (wee) noun, feminine

   : hearing

Related Terms & Expressions:

  l'ouï-dire = hearsay, rumor
  avoir l'ouïe fine = to have sharp hearing
  avoir l'ouïe un peu dure = to be hard of hearing
  être tout ouïe = to be all ears
  à portée de l'ouïe = within hearing
  les ouïes des poissons = fish gills

AUDIO FILE: listen to Jean-Marc read today's example sentence: 
Download MP3 or Download wav


Les cinq sens. Nos cinq sens sont les suivant: la vue, l'ouïe, le goût, l'odorat, le toucher. The five senses. Our five senses are the following: sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

To sharpen. I spoke about the French word aiguiser in a previous post, and was set to feature the verb today, when plans changed. It may seem like a strange word choice following the news about our dog's death--but then my senses seem sharper since Breizh passed away on Saturday.

With the past four days being cloaked in sadness, I began to wonder if grief isn't one of our 5 senses... but of course it isn't, as evidenced by the following list (quickly counted on my right hand, beginning with le pouce, or thumb). 

  • la vue (sight)
  • l'ouïe (hearing)
  • le goût (taste)
  • l'odorat (smell)
  • le toucher (touch)

No, grief is not a sense, but a stirrer of the senses, as we see in these examples:

Soonafter our 9-year-old golden retriever passed, I saw something alarming, quelque chose I had never before noticed. Smokey, Breizh's 6-year-old son, was sporting a silver barbe, or beard.

I remember the day, not three months ago, that I saw Breizh's gray mustache (or was it white?)--after someone pointed it out to me. And I wonder, how many more things--evident, present, glaring--are we not seeing? 

J'entends. I hear a whistle in Smokey's breathing, one that wasn't there before. It is le souffle of sadness and it sometimes terminates with un gros soupir.

Patting his soft, lopsided head, I murmur: Je sais, Smokey, je sais. Elle est partie, notre Breizh. Elle est partie. But it's okay. It is okay. All will be okay.

Food was tasteless, but my appetite returned on day two, arriving on a rumble of hunger pangs. But for Smokey, who lost his mama, it would be 5 days before he would show any interest in his croquettes--the sound of which used to make him do twirls in the air! This morning, no air-twirls, but he did wag his tail excitedly as I set down his bowl. His hunger had finally returned.

Together, Jean-Marc and I buried Breizh before a field of sunflowers, in front of the laundry line where I go almost daily to dry our clothes.  A wooden wine box doubles as a headstone and a shelf where we can set mementos--like the mug with Breizh's picture, which doubles as a vase.

This morning, while collecting escargot shells from the surrounding field, to set beside the vase of bougainvillea, I remembered Smokey's unusual behavior, when days before he strolled up to the grave and lay down beside it.  He must sense she is here... I thought. Only to watch him walk off with half a cross!

Smokey! Bring that back! I called, hurrying up to him to retrieve the horizontal piece of the cross. Setting the broken tree limb back in place, over the grave, I stared at the cross I'd replaced.  Death, it seems, has a sense of humor, too. 

Smokey's hair has never felt softer, and touching him has its effet tranquillisant. I wish I'd saved a lock of Breizh's hair. Then again, what would I do with it? Wear it around my neck? No! Like those small plastic envelopes holding my children's first teeth, it would be forever hidden in a shoebox, somewhere discreet.


(These paragraphs were originally posted under the "sight" section, above. But I found a better example and needed to move this one somewhere else. The concluding section seems fitting.)

On the phone with my aunt, we were talking about the planet Pluto which has been making headlines lately. "It really makes you wonder how it all began. Consider the endless galaxies!" 

My aunt's words queued my mind which now pictured a vibrant midnight blue outer space with rolling waves of silver stars. Suddenly a smiling golden retriever jetted right past me! There was Breizh, riding an asteroid the size of a basketball! My head got whiplash watching her streak past me, a line of sparkly stardust in her wake. I watched as she disappeared into the future (or the past?). Oh the mystery of where exactly she is, the spirit of our sweet, golden girl.

I had to share the image of a beaming Breizh transported through space-- had to share the vision with my aunt, who very sweetly and politely responded, as if she, too, could picture that intergalactic dog of mine rocketing across the starry sky.

And it dawns on me now, clearer-headed days later, the delicateness that framed my aunt's sympathetic response. I hope to remember to react as she did the next time someone is grieving - to remember to see the intergalactic dog that is not. Nod your head wildly, utter your conviction - let her know that you see just what she sees... and so let her grieve. 

                                                  *    *    *  


Dear Reader, Thank you so much for your comforting words regarding Breizh. The empathy you shared, via the comments box and by email, helped to unblock further streams of emotion. 

Here is the most recent photo of our golden girl. At the time I took the picture I did not know it would be the last, or I would have taken a thousand more. As it is, this image fills me with peace, representing, so sweetly, her ongoing journey.


Breizh golden retriever cabanon france straw hats

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Tow of the senses listed the touch and the smell are switched in French.


This is a beautiful post that you wrote for your wonderful Breizh


Dear Kristin.

Beautiful... I wept anew.

We have all been grieving with you, each in our own way. And I wholeheartedly concur, we must never steal the visions, or dreams, of those who are dying-- or grieving-- for to do so would rob them of comfort and peace.

And the senses are heightened. We seem to become one with everyone and everything, more empathic as well as empathetic. This, too, is a God-given gift. You are wise to have recognized it.

So sweet of Smokey to give you a laugh just when you needed it. So like him-- picking up where his precious mama left off-- helping his masters along, even while he himself is grieving. She would be proud!

Fly on, Dear Breizh! our hearts go with you...


bj tuininga

Sunflowers mean rebirth or regrowth...appropriate that your golden girl should be laid to rest among this field of golden giants...She now has been reborn as a spiritual being to streak among the planets and the stars...forever young. love bj

Jens from Copenhagen

The very last picture shows Breizh departing for the Rainbow Bridge.


Dear Kristen,
I have followed your blog for a long time without commenting but do share in your sadness. My own sweet Golden is nine and white bearded and cranky in the hips but such a joy. We are so lucky to be able to share in and learn from their lives so rooted in the present moment.


Tears filled my eyes reading your descriptions of your Golden Girl's passing, so very precious and heart moving, especially the last photo. A beloved family pet, Breizh, on her journey but never far from you .. love J xx


The loss of your Breizh touches us all who see your beautiful words and pictures. I hope to carry with me the image of coping with grief with such love, gratitude and serenity. Thank you, and I hope you see Breizh many more times...


This was one of your most touching posts. And still a great French learning lesson. I am just reading your book, Blossoming in Provence, and I realized that I do not take the time to thank you enough for your work. Please know that it is much appreciated. Merci beaucoup et bien amicalement, Lorraine Visovsky

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you so much,  Lorraine. And thank you all for these tender and thoughtful words which have helped more than you can ever know.

Julie Farrar

So beautiful, as always. I, too, think I still hear or see my dear Millie around the house. The best dogs are forever with us. Glad to hear Smokey is eating again. And you, too.


Tears welled in my eyes- again- as I read your lovely post today. I will share a quote from Bridges...a small book offering hope for loss, grief and struggle.

she passed through so quickly...
just long enough to make me love her.
we had only touched the surface -
and yet, she is in my depths forever.

-Terri St.Cloud

Pauline Kneebone

So sad to hear of the passing of your beautiful girl. Enjoy all the wonderful memories of her with your family. She was a lucky dog to have such a great life with you all.Pauline K.

Marjorie Cannon

Thinking of all of you with love re the passing of your Breizh.Such a dear companion. Such dear memories, too.I am from the San Diego area, but have been in Basel, and now in Paris. I feel just as close to you when I am in Rancho Bernardo, CA. tho, but join you and others now with thoughts of love.


So sorry for your family's loss. We were fortunate to visit you several years ago and to meet and fall in love with Breizh and Smokey. Breizh is forever all around you, in the sky, the earth, the wind, the stars and your hearts.

surbuban gal

Such a beautiful expression of love and its connection with grief--using it to increase the capacity to love and be grateful. Much sympathy and thank you for the comfort you have shared with all of us who have lost our much loved dogs.


So touched, really evoke the whole context of a treasured pet dying......A lovely post for all of us....who've been there as well. Thank you so much.

Betty Gleason

Breizh exiting the frame, but still very much in our hearts.
When grief/sorrow is so all-encompassing that it mutates our mind and senses for a time, it is a cloud that only true empathy can pierce and time and love can banish. Peace, love & hugs Kristi.

Cindy Mc

Dear Kristi, thank you for this wonderful post. Experiencing the loss of someone you are so close to, someone you love so much, can be depressingly dark ..and relentless. But for me the darkness of grieving has always been followed by an acute awareness of living, like walking from the deep shadows into beautiful sunlight. All your senses seem to be intensified in experiencing the beautify of life...the smell, touch and beauty of a rose, the song of a bird. Personally, I think it's His gift to us...reassuring us, and our loved ones are telling us, not to worry, 'tout va bien'. Bisous à tous.

Sandra Deacon

Dear Kristi,
I'm so sorry. Thank you for writing so beautifully about such a sad event. I still grieve for my dear old Golden who radiated love and joy. He wagged his whole silky body when he was glad to see someone. I'm imagining Breizh and Noils young again and leaping through a field of milkweed on their way home. Sandra

Rosalie Hill Isom

Dear Kristin and family,
Puppy, mama dog, her own puppy - the images tumble into heart and memory. Intergalactic adventure dog, sweetness. Thanks for sharing your stories, your life. Rosalie, Colorado.


Smokey will be ok, but it will take time. I had two dogs at a time and every time the one left behind would howl when I was not at home. It went on with one for 3 weeks. And you will forever sense in your mind Breizh walking through the kitchen door or lay down by the sunflowers as you hang the laundry out. This is a good thing.
Please look at my FB page. I posted something the other day that I think you should see.
Hugs and more. Joie

phyllis morton

Again. tears. It was over two years before I could handle replacing my black lab, Ajax. Now I have Sophie, she is three and I adopted her at 8 weeks. We know having a dog will be both joyful and painful.

Linda Sargent

Beautiful words - a lovely memorial to your beloved companion...


We lost our beautiful cat Tanaquil (Tani) in March & we still grieve. I was shocked to read about Breizh! I wish I could say it gets easier but it doesn't. But I guess we settle into a kind of melancholic resignation - life & death, it's just the way it happens... How lucky we are, though, to have had these extraordinary friends in our lives. xxx


When my dog Fletch died a friend sent me a link - a poem Jimmy Stewart wrote about his dog named Beau, he read it on the Johnny Carson show many years ago. It was only a week after Fletch had died and I was very sad, but it was such a comfort to hear Jimmy Stewart talking about his old dog with such love and warmth. I think it was somehow comforting to know he had felt just like me. That was 4 years ago. After reading your story this week I listened to the poem again, it still evokes the same feelings now. I've posted the link below.


Amazing how quickly your words and your photos get to the depth of our emotions. Another truly lovely post.

Deb Arapa

The only thing worse than losing a pup has to be never enjoying air twirls -
or in the case of my cockers - docked tails twitching like they are baby hippos
so delighted by life they could fly.
The little snips of fur are in a special box with their last collar and tag and stacks of never enough pictures of how beautiful, smart and funny they were. And what conversationalists!
Many thanks for your delicate writing.
Best regards.

Connie Venskus

Dear Kristi, so sorry for the loss of your sweet pup. I never understood until lately how much our furry children/grandchildren can become part of our family. I now "get it" because we have a greyhound grand dog and I do not look forward to the day when he is no longer around. I did recently take some comfort when I read that Pope Francis said he believed that we would see our pets in heaven. Looking into the eyes of our Gipper, I see a soul, albeit an animal soul. I offer you sympathy in your sadness...


Dear Kristin,
God is near to the broken-hearted and is concerned with what concerns us (even the death of a pet). My heart hurts with yours. You are so blessed to have such a discerning Aunt who could empathize with you right when you needed it and all of your well-wishers here :-)

You are loved!

Lynn McBride

I'm so so sorry for you and all the family. We all grieve, as we have gotten to know that sweet pup over the years! Comme d'hab, you have made it into a beautiful and inspiring story. xxoo, Lynn

Judi, Lake Balboa, CA

Dear Kristi,
What a lovely missive you gave us today. I think we all share in your grief and in Smokey's. I love how you related all of the senses to the grieving for Breizh. I am enamored with "Breizh in the sky with diamonds" as we always referred to our sweet Lucy as 'Lucy in the sky with diamonds' and I just know they are both blazing sky trails together up in Heaven! With love, Judi


So beautiful, so loving so well written and more wet running eyes. Endless appreciation and affection from this old very emotional man who feels within that his time too will come within the following two years. Hugs

Gypsy B Perry

My heart hurts for you and with you over your beautiful Breizh's death. What a wonderful home she had with you. Your memories will be treasures.


Thank you, Kristen. I've been concerned for Smokey as I remember watching our cocker spaniel grieving when my mom died. My prayers continue.


Crying with you and sending many hugs to your family. My Yogi grieved almost a week for Manfred our Lhasa. I am so glad that Smokey is eating again. Still crying - must not have finished grieving Manfred for sure not Breizh. Kleenex and time are really good things. Here comes Yogi into my lap, kissing away the salty tears. Just like that, laughter replaces the sadness. thank you god for doggies.


The last picture you took of Breihz shows him starting his going away. This was a lovely tribute . May you find more and more things to smile and laugh about.

Cathy - California

Breizh gave you the gift of herself in your lives and now you must give her the gift of leaving your lives. You will meet again.

Karen Lee Kimbrough

She is now in her forever home.

Jackie Clark Mancuso

I love this photo of breizh and sam. i linked back to read chien perdu. it's a wonderful story.

Karen Cafarella

What a moving and loving story. Tugged at my heart. I do believe you saw Breizh, and that will bring you comfort as well. It takes time but you, Smokey and the family will heal.


Dear Kristi....I am so sorry to hear about your sweet dog. All they give us is love and joy. It creates such a large hole in our hearts. She was a beauty and I am so glad you got to spend your days with such a golden-y dear companion.


Kristen ,
You have an amazing gift to be able to capture emotion and put it on a page. Never stop using your gift!

I so appreciate your wonderful soul!
Thank you!

ann sorocki

bonjour: your words so touch the heart. This, too, is a sense, but not a sense in the meaning of sense. The feeling that is evoked is empathy, warmth, familiarity, compassion. I, too, saw that fleeting star; I thought it was my long-gone cat, Dorsey. A biento. Ann

Sheryl in Denver

A caption for your last picture of Sweet Breizh could be:

"I am going to walk down this path over here, just outside of your view, but I'll still be out here in the garden. Come and talk with me soon, I'll be here to listen, and to understand, and to love you. And I'll save you a special place in heaven, where we'll be together forever and always."

Katherine Graham

Tears run down my cheeks as I see the last photo of Breizh. Saying goodbye to a joyful and loyal dog
is so heart wrenching. Thank you for including us
in your journey. May you and Smokey help each other
through the grieving process. What a gift those 9 years were!

Nancy Milburn

Really enjoyed this posting on our senses. One to re-read often. Thx for sharing.


Beautiful love story between Sam & Brezih. Smokey absolutely knows where her mother is. Your story is reminiscent of all the animal/people stories I heard when I worked with a local Hospice...these stories give me great peace & assurance about the great Mystery of all things. We all live in the world soul & this soul is within all of us, including animals and all living things.
A special hug to Smokey.

Nancy Milburn

Kristi- Does your list of Rentals ever include towns in Languedoc area?
Have seen it listed as one of the less expensive areas to visit.


Kimberley Cameron

Dear Dear Kristi,

My heart is heavy with your loss, but again, your words... are so expressive, and enlightens us with new words and phrases.

We are all mere mortals - even our pets, and the cycle of live moves on.'


It will hurt, less and less.

Warm embrace



Our dear Kristi,
Once again your beautiful words make my eyes fill with tears.
The only thing I can add is that"today is a gift,that's why it's called the present".(Eleanor Roosevelt)
I am more determined than ever to make each one count.
Natalia. Xo

Maxine Bless

Having lost my most wonderful Rottweiler of just nine years, Loki, in February, my heart breaks with your loss. They steal into our hearts and settle in, never to leave us. My your golden girl always smile down on you. My her memory bring you comfort.

catharine ewart-touzot

We all can feel your sadness and most of us have had to say goodbye to one or more of our treasured "pets" is an awful experience..having part of our very being ripped away. My Hannah, also refused to eat for 5 days, only leaving her Mother Dog's rug to go to the she is starting down that all too difficult path, needing constant pats and rubs of reassurance. I planted a tree on top of my Sophie, and I have watched it grow. I did keep some of her hair, that I look at from time to time; but really it adds nothing to my loving memory of her and her likes and dislikes. What a gift our pets are. How fortunate we have been to have been able to live and love with them.

Kristen Tesoro Lumsden

I'm so sorry to hear of loss of Breizh, such a sweet, constant family member. Grief, like love or joy, is an emotion meant to be shared. Thank you for the gift of letting us all into your grief, so we can mourn with you and help you with this burden.

Kristin Espinasse

Nancy,  Thank you for asking about my sponsors properties. In this case,  you could click on the second ad,  for Mas de Monaque. This will put you in touch with David Hulston,  who has several other properties for rent in France.
And thank you all for the continued well wishes, words which have done a world of good!

Georgia Catasca

Dear Kristin

I had a big great big Great Pytenees.

I loved her very much !!

I am now eighty years old and can not have another dog

Georgia Catasca--
Madeleine (my dog)

Georgia & Madeline)

I followed you and your family for years--your vhildren, husband,


It is very hard to say good bye. I am sure that Smokey knows where his mom is buried and just wants to visit. He also has to grieve. Time heals, but the memories stay forever.


Kristin Espinasse

Georgia,  I love those great pyrenees. My dear friend Stacy at Sweet Life Farm has one. 

Kristin Espinasse

Fred,  you are not going anywhere until you bring Nancy back here for another visit!

Eileen deCamp

I'm so sorry Kristin. I know how much you and your family miss Breizh. It is a difficult thing but just keep those great memories of Breizh in your heart. I know Smokey misses his mama.


Hugs to you and your family! Such a sweet girl, romantic adventurer, fiercely protective mother and faithful, true companion. Realizing that could just as well describe you, Kristi. You were so lucky to have each other. She will live on in many hearts. Deepest sympathies for your loss.

Jim Nendel

A friend sent me this this week as I grieved the loss of my Golden Retriever and it brought a smile to my face in the grieving, maybe it will for you as well. It is from Dogheirs .com and is written by Ernest Montague "Dogs never die. They don’t know how to. They get tired, and sick or old, and their bones hurt. Of course they don’t die. If they did they would not want to always go for a walk, even long after their bones say: 'No, no, not a good idea. Let's not go for a walk.' Nope, dogs always want to go for a walk. They might get one step before their tendons collapse them into a heap on the floor, but that's what dogs are. They walk.
It’s not that they dislike your company. On the contrary, a walk with you is all there is. Their boss, and the cacaphonic symphony of odor that the world is. Cat poop, another dog’s mark, a rotting chicken bone (exultation), and you. That’s what makes their world perfect, and in a perfect world death has no place.
However, dogs get very very sleepy. That’s the thing, you see. They don't teach you that at the fancy university where they explain about quarks, gluons, and Keynesian economics. They know so much they forget that dogs never die. It’s a shame, really. Dogs have so much to offer and people just talk a lot.
When you think your dog has died, it has just fallen asleep in your heart. And by the way, it is wagging its tail madly, you see, and that’s why your chest hurts so much and you cry all the time. Who would not cry with a happy dog wagging its tail in their chest. Ouch! Wap wap wap wap wap, that hurts. But they only wag when they wake up. That’s when they say: 'Thanks Boss! Thanks for a warm place to sleep and always next to your heart, the best place.'
When they first fall asleep, they wake up all the time, and that’s why, of course, you cry all the time. Wap, wap, wap. After a while they sleep more. (remember, a dog while is not a human. You take your dog for walk, it’s a day full of adventure in an hour. Then you come home and it's a week, well one of your days, but a week, really, before the dog gets another walk. No WONDER they love walks.)
Anyway, like I was saying, they fall asleep in your heart, and when they wake up, they wag their tail. After a few dog years, they sleep for longer naps, and you would too. They were a GOOD DOG all their life, and you both know it. It gets tiring being a good dog all the time, particularly when you get old or sick, and your bones hurt, and you fall on your face, and don’t want to go outside to pee when it is raining but do anyway, because you are a good dog. So understand, after they have been sleeping in your heart, they will sleep longer and longer.
But don’t get fooled. They are not 'dead.' There’s no such thing, really. They are sleeping in your heart, and they will wake up, usually when you’re not expecting it. It’s just who they are.
I feel sorry for people who don’t have dogs sleeping in their heart. You’ve missed so much. Excuse me, I have to go cry now."

Blessings to you.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you,  Jim =-)

Anne and Edward Bornet

Anne and I feel your grief. We have English Springers and have dealt with he pass of several. Their companions will search for them and them come to us for consolation and to console us.

It is a sad time. Smokey will come around. After a while you can find him a new Golden companion, perhaps. Our condolences.
Be strong and keep her memory alive in your heart.

Leslie in Oregon

Thank you, BJ...I share your lovely thoughts and sentiments and join you, if I may, in sending them to Kristin, Smokey and their family.

Leslie A. Riley

Dear Kristin and Family,
I couldn't write the other day. Losing a beloved family member is so hard. They just don't live long enough. Below is The Rainbow Bridge, something that brings me comfort when I lose a pet. Not Biblical, but I hope it helps. Toutes mes condoleances!

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

susan rousseau

Dear Kristi,
I feel it is time that I write you. I have been reading your posts this past 12 years...since a friend told me of you. At the time, I was beginning french lessons...I had met my husband in Napa Valley. I am originally from Texas, he is from the Gers county of Gascony...or the old region of Armagnac, as he prefers to think of it. He is a french winemaker, making wines in California, mostly because of me...he would prefer to be in his beloved Gascony. That is a longer tale...

I cried today while reading and feeling your and Smokey's grief for Bräise. I remember when you got her because it was the same year we got Kiva, our beloved Australian Shepherd . We lost her to a house fire 3 years ago. It was a tragic time for us, but now we have our sweet Rosey, her distant cousine, and she fills most of the place in my heart that will always sting a little for Kiva.

In June, we visited Bandol and Cassis after leading a tour of wine friends to Gascony. I thought of you then, again. La mer, les calanques, ta jardin and the Rosé...Beautiful!!!

One day soon, we will purchase our own land in France, bring Rosey to her french home, and live where my husband's family have lived for centuries. So you see, we share a lot in common. Perhaps we and our pups will meet one day.

Pour maintenant, je vous souhaite bon courage, Susan

Mervin Moore

I remember when Breizh came into your lives. His life has enhanced us in Word-a-Day. So sorry for your loss and ours.

Janet Corrette

I'm so sorry for your loss. I think of Smokey often, whenever I get the email. It never gets easier to lose a dear friend, and they remain with us always. I hope my Penny will meet Breiz at the Rainbow Bridge. Love and hugs for you and Smokey.

Diane Young

What a loving God we have, who gives us wonderful pets to help us through life. A blessed priest once did a short funeral for a dog we mourned, and that was one of the best memories we could have asked for. Thank you for sharing with us the lovely Breizh all these years. You and she enriched our lives forever.


Aww, Kristi - Your last photo of Breizh shows her walking with that particular old dog gate - head down and tail down, almost as if she is a bit stiff or sore. My old dog walks that way too.

It's maybe better that Breizh is gone rather than to struggle and suffer. Maybe there is some comfort in that?


"If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever". From All of our animal friends. XOXO

Sally De Fazio

Dear Kristi,
You spoke in your eloquent tribute about the physical sense of touch. But there is another kind of touch, the way that music, art, beautiful writing, nature, and especially our loved ones touch our hearts in a special place. Dogs somehow know a shortcut into that place, but alas, their lives are short. My sympathies to you and your family, including Smokey. If you are lucky, you will be visited again by Breizh in your dreams, as my old pal The Doggy still visits me from time to time even 25 years after his last tail wag. An e-hug for you.


Dear Kristen. What a beautiful memorial you wrote for Briezh. Love my dog, Schnebly so much that at 82 can't bear the thought of losing her. She is 9 and a Wheaten Terrier. Hope I will go first since she is my constant companion.

Bless you in your grief. Fondly, Mary-Audrey, scottsdale, AZ.

Susan Fournier

Hi Krisin,
I try to read your posts regularly, but admit with work and other responsibilities I do not always have the time to really read them and enjoy your writing and your words. But I felt I had to send you a note to express my sympathy for the loss of Breizh. I am so sorry. I send long-distance love and good thoughts to you and your family!

Harriet Hughes

We have had two lovely Golden Retrievers over the years, so I understand your affection for the breed. They are great lovers of their people, "the best dogs in the world", as an older lady said to me once. Yes, they are. And I am so sorry for your loss. Our dogs give us so much love, and ask for so little in return.

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

I wanted to hear the five senses pronounced, but the audio ends before those five words. This word l'oiue is quite new to me.

It is sad that Breizh had died. But so good that you could bury her on your own land.


Translate into French, pronounce, and repeat rapidly ...

"The eggs in my ears hurt my hearing".

LOL. Bisous.

Jane Hoppe

Kristi, this is the most beautiful, profound, touching post. And that last, symbolic photo of Breizh ... oh, I just want to cry.

Faye, Gleneden Beach, Oregon

Dear Kristin, Such a lovely post. The last photo of Breizh was so bittersweet. She looked like she was "on her way". Thank you for sharing your thoughts & feelings. Both you & your family & Smokey will always have her in your heart.

Be well.

edie schmidt


A lovely last photo of Breizh going on her way.

Edie from Savannah

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,

I believe we have a sixth sense and that our dogs do as well. It is that sixth sense that lead Smokey to lie down beside Breizh. It is that sixth sense that helps a dog understand when people grieve, and allows the dog to grieve as well.

When I was fourteen we moved to France and took our two dogs with us. The fourteen year old dog died seven months later. We left him buried under the trees in that little village on the Seine. Our other dog grieved for many months... it was heart wrenching and eerie as he seemed to understand the loss.

Our hearts go out to you all. Breizh may be forever gone but will always in your hearts and ever present as you walk the paths she walked with you. It may be that sixth sense that lets you and Smokey know that she walks beside you.

Chris Allin

P. S. And Jean-Marc! I was touched by the picture you posted today of JM in the vine field with the journalist and author, Robert Camuto . Smokey seemed to be nuzzling Jean-Marc, who is patting Smokey's head. I could only think of all the times you showed us Breizh in the the vine fields with Jean-Marc. He seemed to always refer to her as Mama Breizh. Makes me tearful to think of that..

Rebecca Ward

My heart goes out to you and your family and to Smokey. What a wonderful tribute you paid to Briezh on this page. Thank you. I, too, have lost dogs that I love still. And their pictures give me solace because I know how much I loved them and I know they knew. Bless you and your family and sweet Smokey. Thanks to you, I can now see my intergalactic dogs, too, and one day we will ride the stars together.

Stella Ling

Dear Kristin,
That was a great post that you wrote recently about your dog and the five senses. We wanted to come and visit your vinyard if possible. Do you share your address with your readers?
I have been following your posts for about 2 years now.

Heather in Arles

Dear Kristin, that you are able to convey such beauty in the midst of your grief is a fine tribute to the love that you have for Breizh. We are all connected and literally have the stars within us, so your beautiful Intergalactic Girl is there with you, still.

I am so grateful for all of the beautiful words and wishes here as I find myself unable to express adequately that we feel your pain, that of your family's and of course Smokey's as well.

I am sending and will continue to send much Love and Strength to you all.

Leslie NYC

Several years ago I adopted two street cats, a brother and sister. The brother was so dear to me. He had been the runt and sickly as a kitten, but grew up to be a charmer. He slept with his legs wrapped around my forearm or over his sister, like a koala bear holding a tree trunk. He was all black with butterscotch eyes. At 6 1/2 he died from an embolism and congestive heart failure. His sister cried every morning--piercing wails--for 3 months. She used to live to hit her brother, or wash his face. Now she follows me everywhere in the apt. Pets go through great grief and then reorient their lives. I am sure Smokey will as well.
I was heartbroken and stunned for a long time. I still miss my little guy. He was pure love and a great blessing.


Krisitn I am sending you a virtual hug. The comments before mine have said everything so eloquently but I still needed to reach out to you. Hold Smokey tight, he is a delicious piece of Breizh and you can comfort one another.

Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

The photo of Sam and Breizh became a favorite the first time I saw it. Very telling, the last photo taken of Breizh. It is as if she left you a picture of her peacefully leaving on her way home.


I went on the archives to August and September 2009 and saw the cutest photos of Breizh and her puppies! Also a photo of Breizh as a puppy herself. It helped to see them...
And the story of "the elopement" was great!


This is a beautiful post about your wonderful friend and loyal companion. I loved it! And the photo with Smokey is precious.


Hi Kristi,
Being in vacations in the wonderful region called Jura (the french one), land of my husband's ancestors, I'm not connected very often. That's why I discovered lately your post about your grief...
Almost everyone here, has written about his or her dog, since when you have - or had - such an animal, he or she is considered as a friend for... a few years, alas too few.
And his (her) death is like a family drama.

J'ai connu ça, il y a un an, lorsqu'après 4 opérations - qu'elle a supportées merveilleusement - ma magnifique Boxer nous a quittés le 26/07/14 sans se plaindre...
Elle m'avait redonné le sourire et le rire, après le départ de ma Maman.
Je ne l'ai pas encore remplacée, si toutefois l'on peut remplacer un tel "coeur sur pattes".

Bon courage, chère Kristi.

Kristin Espinasse

You brought joy to my heart! If it can happen, we will come. Never say No but ........ Affectueusement toujours a tous!

On Thursday, July 30, 2015 1:18 PM, Kristin Espinasse [email protected] wrote:

Fred, you are not going anywhere until you bring Nancy back here for another visit!

Chere Kristi, can you talk JM into coming to see us?


Kristi, I was away on vacation and was wondering how Breizh was faring. When I returned and saw your posting about her, I was heartbroken. I am so sorry for you. Over the years, by posting photos and stories about her here, you have created a wonderful record of her life that has touched so many people.


Kristi, I want to express my condolences to you and your family over the loss of your precious Breizh. Your eloquent post would have brought tears to my eyes even if I were not an animal lover. It's so true that our pets become family and we grieve for them as we would for any other family member. Hugs to you from Kansas!

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks Jan and friends, for all these heartfelt condoleances. Much appreciated!

Karen Posner and Jamie, a red-headed eleven year old rescue Golden

Your beautiful boy, a Golden love forever. A loss so impossible, yet forever a loving memory in your mind and your heart.
Golden Retriever rescue is thriving in Sacramento, California. Since 2000, we have rescued and placed over 8,000 dogs. Bruizh is well over the rainbow bridge, meeting and greeting all his Golden and canine friends. Of course, he flew right by you. He will be dropping by often, to let you know he is healthy and happy.
Extra hugs and kisses to Sam.

Marina Garcia

Maybe someone already noticed Just in case... on the vocab
list la toucher and l'odorat need adjustment..Thank you for sharing..

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