France is a Dog Eat Dog Whirl

I’ve realized that most of the things I write about France inevitably come back to food. This blog post started out about food because that’s where I was—in a very cool little pizza restaurant on a cozy cobblestone alley in Aix-en-Provence—when I was reminded that in France you often share your meal with dogs.

I’ve always had dogs and honestly I don’t love leaving them behind when I go off to go enjoy my human life. (And considering the mild destruction I often return to in the form of ripped magazines and deposits in the middle of the floor (so I’ll be sure not to miss it, you see), they don’t love my leaving them either.)

When I was single, a thousand years ago, my dog Little—a rescue mixed breed terrier—was my constant companion to the point where she always sat on my lap when I had my hair colored (and as a result more than once sported a blob of brown dye on her whitish fur). My hobby at the time was horseback riding and so Little came with me every day and ran alongside me as I rode, rolled in horse manure while I was busy feeding or grooming said horse, and chased the barn cats with rampant glee. Like me, she had a great time.

I always took her with me to friends’ houses, smuggled her into department stores (she wasn’t tiny by any means but she knew how to be quiet in a knapsack), and generally made sure my best friend didn’t spend any time home alone if she didn’t have to. (I also was a freelance copywriter at the time so that worked out for both of us.)

The one place Little couldn’t come with me was to restaurants. Not even outdoor restaurants, at least not in Atlanta in the nineties, and I’d bet not now either.

But France has always had an open door policy with les chiens and I totally love that about them. How nice it must be to relax with a glass of wine, your dog at your feet, the evening before you and no concern about having to hose down your living room when you get home.

This dog is looking for more of those tasty pommes frites that the waiter dropped five minutes earlier!

Now my current dog (one of two) is a certifiable ratbag and I’d honestly spend too much time trying to make her behave than enjoying my moules frites but I think I might actually be motivated to train her up if I thought there were more places I could bring her.

In France, I’m reminded that these little animals are considered acceptable, viable companions and all the interactions I saw between them and any of their owners reinforced that notion.

After all, in a civilized world would you really leave your best friend at home all alone while you went out for your aperos and foie gras?

Hey, next blog post I’m going to tell you what I’ve noticed about the pigeons of Provence! Until then, mes amis, á bientôt!

NB: for my Maggie Newberry readers, my dog Little was the model for Maggie’s precious little Petit-Four.

8 thoughts on “France is a Dog Eat Dog Whirl

  1. Loved your blog re the dog (rhyme) here in the U.K. Dogs are not allowed into eating places where the food is prepared and served but are allowed where tables are set outside.

  2. Hello! My husband is French and we live with our horses, dog and chickens in California on a little rancho, Rancho Clairet, just north of Los Angeles. I am on your 10th Maggie Newberry series and really enjoy them. You really capture the small French village life and especially the French husband temperament (!). My husband was raised in a big family on a working farm outside LeMans, in Pruille Le Chetif. I grew up in Southern California, native born. My grandfather raised quarter horses here. I look forward to more in the series. Thank you for your novels! Best wishes, Alisa Clairet

    • Hello, Alisa, so glad you found me! What a fascinating background you have. I’d be curious to hear how you met your French husband! Cheers, Susan

  3. P.S. When our dog, Jack, a cocker spaniel, was younger, he would travel with us to visit my husband’s family in France. We (and I believe, Jack) loved traveling to see the family on these trips. Sometimes, I think the family was more interested if Jack was coming to visit with my husband than I was…haha! My French family love him so much it’s ridiculous. We have to be sure to bring Jack up to the screen whenever we Skype. When they visit, they take photos of Jack and the horses to share with the family, much more than with the humans. Thank you again!

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