Elle mène une vie de chien.

Elle mène une vie de chien.

ell men new-nuh veed sheeYAA.  Click below to hear this pronounced.  

She leads a dog’s life.

Equal time for the dogs! That’s only fair, isn’t it? Yesterday’s post may have been a little unfair to les chats, and today’s could be construed as unkind to les chiens.

Thing is, there are dogs and there are dogs. The strays, the curs, the mutts that roam the street and upset garbage cans, really do lead an unpleasant life. A homeless dog usually winds up as a dirty, unkempt, wild thing, always on guard because it is always in danger. That’s une vie de chien.

Then there are our beloved pets. They lie around all day, pampered, licking plates, trading grins for pats, lapping at cool clean water. Isn’t that a dog’s life too?

That’s why it took me years to understand this phrase, in English or in French. I wasn’t sure which life it was referring to. Is it the comfortable life most of us lead in the Western world? We want for nothing. Or is it the hardscrabble life of someone for whom nothing ever goes right, who goes hungry either physically or spiritually? It was the dictionary of synonyms that finally set me straight: Une vie de chien = misérable, difficile. Okay.

So, it’s definitive: Isabella ne mène pas une vie de chien. And I hope you are counting your blessings.

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