I need to do this; to talk about Raggy. Raggy, full name Ragamuffin, was the epitome of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. She was them all.
I bought her on the Quai in Paris (so she was way overpriced!) ten years ago for my daughter Samantha. I bought her because she was so ugly I didn’t think anyone else would. A cross between a terrier and a toy poodle she was prognate thus bad breath, so hairy most of the time that she strongly resembled a dirty mop and bad, oh she was bad! Barked all the time, must have been the poodle part in her. Her nickname was the sonnette (door bell) because she announced everyone and everything.
But she was good. Although I bought her for Samantha, due to a terrible no-good divorce she wasn’t allowed to take Raggy with her when she was with her dad. It was inevitable that she would become attached to me. And she did. That dog ADORED me like the men my life never did ! And, in return, I loved her.
Saturday I had 6 dogs with me. Laurent left Pearl and Aya to do some work at a friend’s house. I was taking care of Petrus and Aimer for a family taking a week’s vacation in Santa Domingo.
When I went upstairs with the dogs I thought Raggy was with us, but no she was shut in the kitchen. She has a bed there and often stayed there rather than climb the stairs. (She was 10 years old and stair climbing was no longer fun) I shut the door as usual so that the larger ones would not do « betisse » (mischief) like stealing the bread off the table.
Raggy was the one that signaled the fire by, guess what, barking. Because the living room doors were shut (another reason why I am still here typing) the smoke arrived slowly giving Raggy time to smell it. Had she been upstairs with us the smoke would have arrived in my room probably at the same time that she smelled it. And, probably too late to have successfully exited the house. From my room to an exiting door was approximately 80 meters of turning hallways.
When I was awoken by her barking I thought she was with us. To say I was a little confused would be correct. I saw a wafting of smoke outside my window. I opened the window and looked below to see that there was smoke creeping around the walls. It looked as though it was seeping thru the walls. I couldn’t figure out what was going on but I knew I had to call the firemen. Reached for my cell phone and god forbid that I could remember their number!!! Thought it better to call from the café across the street. With the dogs behind me, still thinking Raggy was among them went down the hallway. When I reached the staircase the smoke was thick and starting to climb the staircase, Raggy was still barking but I thought with us!!
I opened the living room door and a blast of smoke hit me in the face, and, I thought at this moment that maybe this was a bit more serious than I thought. I turned and quickly left the house leaving the door open. I ran out to the street yelling for someone to call the firemen and saw that everyone from the café were already there and had already called them.
What happened when I first opened the door to the living room and then the back door that gave the needed oxygen to the fire. In the street I heard the first set of windows explode and looked to see the flames hurtling up the outside wall straight into the window of my room which was the next to explode. My room is located above the office and was destroyed within 15 minutes from the start of the fire.
Someone asked if there was anyone else in the house, I said no but there were 6 dogs. Patou, who knows all the dogs and Jean-Marc helped me gather them up and we took them to the café. At that moment I could hear Raggy barking, Patou tried to get back in the house for her when flames exploded from the back door. It was too late.
Thank you Raggy, I love you.
Ok, that was my American style of therapy, write it down, get it out. I did, it helps.
Now I am going to do the French style of therapy, pour an extremely good Cognac, slug it down and then get on with Life.
Kristi Anderson is the orignal owner of Tea & Tattered Pages and until February 6th ran a bed and breakfast near Orléans.
le saint jacques le coin perdu
15, place de l’église
45240 Ligny le Ribault