Mort de rire

‘Mort de rire’, abbreviated as ‘mdr’ is the French equivalent of LOL. It means, quite literally, to die laughing.

French president Emmanuel Macron seemed ready to do just that when his rescue dog, Nemo, decided to leave his mark on the fireplace at the Elysée Palace this week during a working meeting.

It seems there’s a longstanding tradition of dogs in the French presidency. This video shows all of the pooches from Giscard to Macron (en français – sorry!)

Way before the internet started bringing us a daily dose of cute cats and funny animal memes, the dogs in our family provided moments of pure hilarity.

One of the funniest moments in my childhood was when the dog chewed my 85-year-old grandmother’s false teeth. She had left her set of choppers on the night table and one of our mutts chewed them out of shape. It was Christmas, and I remember how upset she was about not being able to properly enjoy her turkey dinner. Still, being a British-born woman of strong stuff, she laughed and said: “Must’ve had a bit of grub on ‘em.”

Flash forward to France in 1992 where husband and I decided to attend the only prenatal classes we could find in our area, then near Paris. Belle-mère raved to me about the wonders of the French method of ‘haptonomie’, in which both parents create a bond with the baby. Memory fails as to why our two Frenchies were with us when we went to the first class. We left them in the car (something I would normally never do, but it was a cool evening with no chance of them getting too hot).

We arrive in the room where the class is held, and join a dozen couples stretching out on yoga mats while the instructor talks to us about our emotions and the mysteries of bonding with our future child. Perhaps 10 minutes go by, during which I sense that husband is getting increasingly antsy. This is not his thing. Nor, to be honest, is it mine.

Suddenly, the peace of the session is disrupted by a loud honking of a car horn outside. Not one blast but several, long and insistent. Husband looks at me and whispers: “I think the dogs have had enough.” That was it. I was in stitches. Every time that horn honked I imagined our Frenchies impatiently leaning on the horn. We gathered our things and crept away.

Morts de rire.

Laughing out loud.

What’s your funniest memory of a pet?



  1. davidprosser · October 26, 2017

    We had a copper jug with a narrow neck so popular in the eighties.we came home one day from a shopping expedition so weren’t immediately aware there was no sign of the bird.When eventually we realised he was missing we wandered round the house whistling and calling his name.He had the full freedom of the house and usually greeted us with some kind of attention.It was a while before we started hearing a very echoey tweet and had to start seeing where it came from.
    Any way, the daft beggar had decided to investigate the jug and actually got suck in the neck and couldn’t turn. I had to lie it on the floor assist him to move forward until he could turn in the bowl of the jug and come strutting out like a winner.From that day a ping pong ball has always occupied the neck of anything the bird could disappear down. The current one rarely leaves his cage though.
    xxx Massive Hugs Mel xxx

    • MELewis · October 26, 2017

      What a story! You had me worried about the fate of Joey’s predecessor….so glad to hear that your ingenuity got him to strut out safely. Talk about a bottleneck! 😉 Our pets keep us human, methinks. Such antics!

  2. francetaste · October 26, 2017

    I’m not an animal person, but my brother had a black Lab that was very naughty. It should have been named Houdini. No matter how my brother tried to keep that dog in the very spacious back yard, it escaped. And it was a thief. It would come home with neighbors’ shoes. Just one. Luckily, the neighbors had no idea of the culprit (but my brother didn’t know which shoe went with which neighbor, so returns weren’t possible). This was in one of those U.S. suburbs where people feel free to leave the garage door open, or they set things out on their front or back porches. Shoes, for example.
    One day, my brother saw the dog was out and went out looking for him. It was a cold winter day and he saw a little boy, all bundled up, making a snowman on a front lawn. Then Houdini appeared out of nowhere, snatched the boy’s hat and scarf right off him, and tore down the street. My brother took off after the dog, but heard the boy’s mother open the door and yell, “I TOLD YOU TO KEEP YOUR HAT AND SCARF ON!”

    • MELewis · October 26, 2017

      What a lively memory you share. For a not-pet person, you have captured so well the character of that dog, who sounds like a bit of a scoundrel. And the mother! I am ‘mdr.’ 😀 But the Houdini reference also makes me smile, because that is what I was calling our Higgins during his recovery from surgery. He had to wear what the French call ‘un body’, meaning a kind of baby’s onesie. It was meant to keep him from licking his stitches. The tight thing barely fit over his massive head, and was snapped closed just by the tail (which being a bulldog, he doesn’t really have…) For a whole week I put him to bed in it. Each morning, he had wriggled his way out, snaps intact!

  3. midihideaways · October 26, 2017

    Your two Frenchies sound absolutely wonderful!! made me chuckle!

    • MELewis · October 26, 2017

      They were indeed a hoot! Edouard and Dorothée were our very first children. Now we have two boys, Higgins and Humphrey. Not quite up to star quality of the first pair, whom we called the dynamic duo, but surely a couple of characters in their own right. So glad it made you smile!

  4. Dana · October 26, 2017

    Those photos had me in stitches! Love it! Thanks for the laugh 🙂

    • MELewis · October 26, 2017

      Thank you, Mlle Dana! I have no greater ambition than to make you laugh. (Insert appropriate emoji…)

  5. Garfield Hug · October 26, 2017

    This is so funny. I can picture it too…honking away to get you out 😁

    • MELewis · October 26, 2017

      Right, eh? Glad the image made you smile. It was indeed hilarious but I was afraid the retelling would be one of those ‘you had to be there’ memories.

  6. awtytravels · October 28, 2017

    I’ve had a Dalmatian when I was a kid, she had a spot shaped like a question mark right between her eyes (which were of two colours, brown and blue). Just that was hilarious.

    Then we had a German shepherd. One day in the winter of 2004 we got a really massive snowstorm, which dumped one meter of snow over two days. Never seen anything like this. Schools closed, lots of time to go ’round playing, she adored it. At the end of a day playing in the snow, we were at home, I was in my room. She barges in, arrives up to me as if she wanted to announce something, she even had that “Look, I’ve got something!” dogs have when they have something (normally a dead animal, in my case)… and she farted. The nastiest ever gaseous emission ever to sprout out of a living animal, and a few dead ones I should say.

    It was minus whatever, but I had to open all three windows to create even an impression of a draft. All whilst she just ruffled her fur, looking extremely proud, made herself into a ball and, good deed of the day done, went to sleep.


    • MELewis · October 29, 2017

      That’s hilarious! Are you sure she didn’t gas herself into sleep? 😉 Some of my fondest memories are of snow days. Where did you grow up? Oh, and we also had a Dalmatian. She didn’t have the unusual markings yours did, but she did have one particular trait: she smiled. No one but our family believed it, of course. They all thought she was snarling but it was indeed her way of greeting people she liked.

      • awtytravels · October 29, 2017

        North-west Italy, Piedmont to be precise… It’s quite rare to get heavy snow on the flatland, so it was a once-in-a-lifetime-event! How do I know she didn’t gas herself? She was basically immune to her own gaseous emissions… Much like your dog smiled, she had a sort of air of pride when breaking winds. Still, I adored that dog.

  7. Osyth · October 30, 2017

    My mother, who is stoically British and therefore reluctant to embrace the French has become Macaroon’s greatest fan since he adopted the dog. She is putty in his hands. But then, my mother is someone who always put the dogs before the rest of the family …. I’ll leave it at that but suffice to say, I have many many doggy memories. But my favourite pet memory is the time my younger brother, then aged three ran into the kitchen and said dramatically ‘Christie has measels’. Mother, at the sink, dropped everything and ran outside to find our cat embellished with large red blotches. Brother had recently favoured a story of some mice who contracted measels and had found the tin of gloss my father had been painting the garage door with. It was scarlet. Mother seized cat and thrust it scratching and hissing into the soapy water in the sink. She achieved a pink cat (he was mostly white). The post-script is that our neighbor (half French, in fact) was quite a boozer on the quiet. The following day she came knocking, breath laden with brandy. She peered at the cat and said ‘is it pink?’ Mother replied, with not so much as a whisper of a flinch, ‘no dear, I don’t think so …have you been on the bottle?’ The story goes that Mrs G was sober for 2 months which is the exact time it took for Cat to revert to his normal pelt.

    • MELewis · November 2, 2017

      Ha, ha…your mother sounds like a hoot! Perhaps it’s a cultural thing – I have known more than one British lady to show more affection to her dogs than her own children. Love the story of the pink cat! Your neighbour must have had a fright to give up the booze for that long. 😉

      • Osyth · November 2, 2017

        I doubt she did really … my mother’s other over-riding trait is a well-inflated sense of her own effect on others 😉

  8. Mél@nie · November 9, 2017

    LOL of the total LOL, chère Mel!!! 😀 ❤

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