Former French president Jacques Chirac was, as the gleeful British press puts it, "mauled by his own 'clinically depressed' pet dog." He — and French stereotypes — are expected to make a full recovery.

Relations between Chirac's wife and the petite canine, a Maltese Bichon named Sumo, however, are in crisis:

France's former president Jacques Chirac has been bitten by his lap dog Sumo, who is being treated for depression, in a dramatic incident that rattled his wife Bernadette, she told a magazine.

"If you only knew! I had a dramatic day yesterday," she told VSD magazine. "Sumo bit my husband!"

After Chirac was replaced by Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007, Sumo, you see, was probably having a hard time adjusting to life as something less than the most powerful dog in all of France. The small organism was "being treated with pills for depression," according to Mrs. Chirac.

This is all quite natural, of course. The New York Times addressed the issue back in 1981, sympathizing with the plight of presidents who have lost power:

''For many who have gone to the pinnacle of power, anything after that can seem to be a bit antiseptic,'' said Dr. Robert Cancro, chairman of the department of psychiatry at the New York University Medical Center... ''You feel anger, you think it was unfair. Depression, disappointment, bitterness are always there. There is a sadness, and a feeling of mourning.''

And if you think first dogs are any less sensitive than statesmen, you are a human-normative whore. This syndrome manifested itself just months ago when Bush dog Barney chomped a reporter, in a desperate final cry for attention. Chirac needs to give Sumo more avenues to express himself now that he's suddenly been yanked from power; it's the only way to prevent these sorts of incidents.

Or just keep the ugly ass dog tied up back by the shed. [Pic: Daily Mail]