Trying to join the human race again from Blyss Kennels

Having lost Tresor so recently, exactly four weeks ago from today, I am trying to orient myself to the human race again, or at least give myself that appearance.  I had not even tried before this.  I signed up for my eight week yoga class the Mountainside town offers for its residents.    It’s a wonderful class, and I need the exercise the movements provide to me.  I need all the strengthening of my core I can get.  I am a frail and fragile woman but need to regain bone and strength.  I am back at Church and participating in Church life.

I don’t know how I am doing so well.  I will give some credit to my doctors, the ones I met and had to establish long term relationships with after Opal died in 2006 and I was still suffering deep grief in 2008 and was unable to go on.  Drugs with strange names like Pamalor and Seraquel come to mind.  There are more, several more.  They help me cope with pain; they keep pain at bay; all kinds of pain.  That’s been the difference between the two events.  I have help this time.   I had none in 2006.

Still, I must have learned something about resilience and its value, how important it is to be able to stand on your own two feet, the desirability of being autonomous, no matter what you lose: mothers, husbands, beloved borzoi and other equally loved dogs I am sure such as Yorkies, Malteses, a Cairne and even a Fox Terrier!  No, I liked my dog breeds challenging, for sure.  I like a dog that shows it thinks!  There is so much more of it to love.

But it was the sur-reality of borzoi love that did me in; a dog breed that can mimic human emotions of love yet ready to hunt savagely in a heart-beat!   A dog with a beauty so breathtaking you do not believe your own eyes!  You become ruined for another breed.  If you cannot have another borzoi, why have a dog at all?

My Russian Prince is gone.

He is nowhere to be found except in my visions, and then he is everywhere.  His toys and dog beds still litter the floors, his kibble holder remains, as do his leash and collar.  When I walk into a room, I expect to see him there, and in a way I do, in a surreal vision of memory that cannot let go.  My Tre: if only we could have been together just a bit longer; if you could have made it to ten years.  I feel cheated that you left too soon……but whenever it would have been, it never would have been long enough.

Your Beloved littermate, Magnus, left in August, to great shock and grief.  I should be grateful for the extra months of time.  But now, I am left to grieve in the deepest darkest days of winter, as I go through the motions of being a good dog Mom to Jelly.  She has a way of keeping my focus on her, like that is her job now.  Her great depth and breadth of beauty, so unlike yours, distracts me.  It’s like, why did I never notice it before?  It was because yours was like a light that blinds all others, and all I could see was you.

She even tries to mimic your recently found naughty ways.  You did not approve of my new part time evening job in a nearby department store.  So you started to counter surf  and raid  the garbage for the very first time in your life.    Now, to my shock and horror, Jelly has begun to do it too.  Where you ate my bag of Balthazar bakery croissants, she ate my favorite peanut butter cookie from Quick Check and stole one of the daily pill holders from my weekly pill tray.  Was this a suicide attempt, I wonder?  Like you, she  wants me home with her more.  I know I am being judged, and I do not get any more of a passing grade from her as I did from you.  In the end, I let you down and so you perished.  Will Jelly?

Friends are avoiding me, waiting for me to call them first to talk.  I guess I am not on peoples’ luncheon lists anymore.  I hear there is gossip about when I plan to put away the dog beds (notice the plural), as if there were so many.  I want to leave your bed and personal items in place forever.  After all, this was your home.  I have no friends anymore, I accepted that years ago.  That’s why You, my Darling Boy, were so precious.  Better than human, you held me in your highest esteem of love and I dwelled in a paradise of that divine gift where no person could hurt me again.  I had you then …..My Life Treasure…… My Tresor!  Farewell, CD Blyss O’Majenkir Heavenly Treasure!

Macine Bochnia
Portrait of Tresor

Portrait by Maxine Bochnia, Fandogs.

2018 A New Year at Blyss

Today is January 1, 2018, a new year at Blyss Kennels.  I am left here with Jelly.  I cannot be happier about that.  Jelly is as perfect a borzoi as a borzoi can be.  She is calm, relaxed and happy.  She gives me no cause for stress or concern, unlike several other borzoi I have owned, including Tresor.  But Tresor’s loss only stands to remind me how lonely I truly am.  That even the dogs leave.  I see myself more realistically now.  I am not going to meet someone at the supermarket, church, or online.  Perhaps I am not approachable or lovable, or I come across as a person that prefers their own company.  Actually, considering those whom I have met, male and female, I actually do prefer my own company.  Therefore, I am a solitary human except for the company of my borzois which I actually prefer.

I do, however, enjoy the company of my dog club friends, especially those in the borzoi breed.  I enjoy the club work and comradery.   With that in mind, I am determined to attend the Borzoi National Specialty Show in May, all the way in Seattle, WA.  I plan to be away for the entire week  That is something huge for me to look forward to.

To help pay my many expenses, many unforeseen, I have found a part-time job working at a large, local department store in the next town from where I live.  It has not been “easy”, and it has taken me a while to learn the job, but I seem to have survived the initial three month training and probation period, and I am on my way to being a permanent employee.  Although I thought the money would help, I spent it all in one day at the vet, Tuesday December 12, 2017.  That was the fateful day that Tresor was diagnosed with an abdominal hematoma and was euthanized while Jelly was there for a senior check-up.  I have large balances on two credit cards and a home equity line of credit.   Although their amounts are trivial compared to my overall net worth, I am supposed to be able to live on the interest from my principal, and I would like to see these expenses reduced.  However, home ownership in the NY Metropolitan Area, and multiple dog ownership with  borzoi covering fifteen years has made for large bills.  My income from the interest has been insufficient.  It is sad that regarding money, no matter how much I have, it never seems to be enough.  My dreams for a Superman to step into my life during the last six years since Bob died have not come to fruition.  On the contrary……  The only men I have met have been men who wanted to take and given nothing in return but their rage and emotional abuse.  Sadly, I even prefer that to being alone.  It is they who walk away, not me.

So, it does not help that Tresor is gone……   I have to be strong…….   It is what it is…..  There is no one to help me…….   I have to do this alone…..   Without his extraordinary love and beauty, I will be more alone than ever……..    Sometimes I wonder……why go on?

So it is a good thing that Jelly is here.    I put that up on Facebook yesterday.  It is just Jelly and me now, and that is a good thing.  I am so grateful to her breeder, N24, for letting me have her three years ago.  Even though my ex boyfriend, the only one that ever mattered but is gone now, built the dog door for her, I am grateful to them both for making this wonderful gift happen for me.  We are together, and it is a success.  Jelly and me.

Jelly portrait by Maxine Bochnia

A Blyss missive

It is bad enough an 8 1/2 year littermate of Tresor’s, Magnus, died in August.  Recently, one of Jelly’s littermates, “Giselle”, died, breaking her owners heart.  Because I do the Sunshine role for Borzoi Club of Central New Jersey, I sent her owner, a member, a sympathy card.  Although it was several weeks ago, she called me sometime in the last day or two.  I just received the voicemail message.  Although she is devastated, she expressed her condolences to me for my loss of Tresor.  Following is my response.  I hope it helps her.

****************************************************

I hope you are doing well.  I wanted to acknowledge that I received your voicemail.  Thank you for reaching out to me.  Like yourself, my heart is broken.  Tresor was from the only litter I will ever get to breed.  He was a rare, unique dog for me, one I will love forever and always grieve for.  Sadly, their time with us is brief so when they go they take our broken hearts with them.  Let’s try to find joy in the borzoi they have left behind.
                                 ******************************************************
A few weeks ago, I sent a note to a very prominent man in the breed, the former Governor of Region I, Borzoi Club of America, and told him I had lost Tresor.  He is now the new President of the Borzoi Club of America.  He took the time out to write back to me.  The correspondence follows.

12/14/2017

To R—-,

Dear R—, I just thought, as a friend, I wanted to let you know I had to let my boy, Tresor, go the other day. He presented with an abdominal hematoma and at nine years of age the vet felt he would not do well with surgical intervention & would not be buying very much time if he survived an operation.

Of course I feel horrible since we only got to breed one litter & he was our only dog from it. Sometimes I wonder how we do what we do when the pain of losing them is so great. But we do it for love….at least I do. Bob & I loved him so much and we never doubted his love for us in return. Tresor was a great dog to own & love.

Kind regards

Lorene

 

12/15/17

To me,

I’m sorry to hear your sad news. Yes, it is a wonder we do what we do. That’s why we shower them with love while we have them.

Try and enjoy the holidays and cherish the memories.

 

 

 

 

 

Blyss in black; He is gone.

I had to let Tre go suddenly yesterday during a visit to  a veterinarian’s office. It was nine years & three days after he was born there. It was the happiest day of my life when his great dam, “Michailya”, gave us our only Blyss Kennels litter. He was the best thing I had to show for my life, a life characterized by extremely hard work and littered with scores of heartache & tragedies. There was never a finer spirit of a borzoi than my Tresor. I know he wanted to stay longer with me but I could not let him suffer to do it. Farewell, CD Blyss O’Majenkir Heavenly Tresure “Tresor”!   Run Free with all the other great borzoi spirits in heaven until we meet again. I know I will find you there!Photo by Maixine Bochnia, Fandogs.

A Long Blyss Hiatus

Feeling so much like a stranger in my own mind, not really knowing how to handle the high barres I have set for myself with the inner voice command, “You will do this!” I have been challenged to the point of exhaustion from running away from myself and everything except Jelly and Tresor.  I have embraced them closer to my heart than ever, they mean so much more now. When I look around me, I see that Tresor and Jelly are all that remain.  And yet, their coming to me was the result of so random and haphazard events that collided for a moment in time with me, for each one separately.

It is autumn again, and in autumn, I seem to have reasons to go to the veterinarian to take care of problems.  This time, poor Tre was sprayed by a skunk in the yard, followed by a physical encounter with another creature  that bit his leg so badly that it required a veterinary visit.  So we have been off to Washington, NJ a few times now, and still have one more trip to make.

Tre is still who he his, full of great male pride and fire!  I thought I could walk him myself again, and bought a prong collar.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  The prongs did not stop him from dragging me across the street to have a fence fight with the neighbor’s Golden Retriever, a youngster who has a fire in him as well.  He had to be dragged off the fence by his owner before I was able to regain control over Tresor again.  So, it was back across the street and into the house before I broke another bone.

Sadly, whomever I find to help me with Tresor, with walks, dog sitting and general help whom I can trust, either disappears, moves, gets sick, whatever; they go away.  I always take these losses hard, knowing how they impact Tre.   None of the losses is worse than the recent loss of LT who made a sweeping exit with a major hissy fit.  Aside from destroying me, but what am I, he knows this hurts Tresor the most because he loves him.   My Boy.  I look at borzoi photos on FB all day, and see pictures of happy borzoi running in big fenced yards, or free in fields or meadows, and my heart breaks for all the shortcomings my life attained.  Yes, I fall short.   And, there are the other people in my life, they just turn their backs for seemingly no real reason and walk away in rage….. this is a pattern that mystifies me.   Then there are the ones that stay……  they  contract fatal diseases and die.  As I write today, that is happening now with a wonderful man who has been Tresor’s most recent steady friend and a truly good person we know.  I am truly devastated about him.

Not to be overly sad and negative, I have tried to find my strength amidst all of these travails.  I identified an unusual idea that I thought would be good for me, regarding an employment opportunity, and I followed up on it.  It turns out that I now work part time at a local department store.  This has really been a huge help for me.  It puts something else in the forefront of my thoughts, something that attests to my strength, diverting me from my pain.  I am still active in my dog clubs and attend their meetings, programs, and shows, and I still serve on the boards where I have those responsibilities.  However, I have a new world that I have entered, one that demands making new social relationships, and addresses my financial shortfalls, since owning two borzois on a retirement income is not easy.

More about this later……     My new pattern of absences from home has been noticed by a certain borzoi…. and he has let his disapproval be known perfectly clearly!

Mature Tresor

The September Specialty 2017 Shows

Today,  September 7, 2017,  I enjoyed seeing my borzoi breed friends & mentor at the Central NJ Hound Assn Show in Bridgewater NJ. Much fun getting caught up, & esp enjoyed the borzois of all ages. So many new puppies! And other puppies are becoming so grown up!

*********************************************

On Saturday, Sept 9, same show grounds, North Branch Park, is the Borzoi Club of Central NJ Specialty show! Planning to enjoy a great Specialty! More members & borzoi than ever.

Best of Breed was awarded to a Boy nearly still a pup, and one that I had the joy of watching grow up, since he is a nephew of my Jelly and I was previous welcome to visit (but no more…..), the stunning young Majenkir line dog, Bibikov You Know My Name, “Hunter”, owned by N24, sired by one of N5’s stunning stud dogs.  I went over to congratulate N24, but when I did, Hunter jumped out of his skin, standing up on two legs and reared, placing his front paws on my shoulders with great enthusiasm – and I let him.  I hugged and kissed him, and told him what a good boy he was and how much I loved him.  He was so happy to see me.  What can I say…..   Animals are so true, so pure……  they either like you or they don’t, they don’t have artifice about it.  I was so happy for him that I stayed to watch him in the Group, but unfortunately, he did not make the cut.  But it was a joy to sit ringside and see him in what will be his first of many Group classes.  Hunter has a great show career ahead of him.  He defeated many specials in the Best of Breed ring that day, and I was overjoyed for him.

Blyss news, how it is not always good…..but how it is made great again

Eventually, death comes to visit all of our kennels and when it does, it is never fair and we are never ready.  Whatever their age, we never believe we had them long enough.  The grief goes deep, creating a wound that does not heal easily.  I learned of one sad, untimely death, a littermate of Tresor’s,  a name I cannot mention without making my world tremble.   Two weeks later, I learned about the imminent death of one of Jelly’s littermates; that was almost too much for me to absorb.  What if I suddenly lost them, the way I lost Opal?  Could I go on?

The success of Magnus in Japan, Tresor’s littermate, will always be something of which I am proud.  He made N5 and  his new owner in Japan, N38, very happy.  But here in the States, I felt a chill from a wall of silence constructed around him, as if he never existed.  Then, his female get, “Lucy” came over and was co-owned by a couple on the West Coast, and very actively campaigned by an expert handler for two years.  She did magnificently well in 2016 and 2017, as I have frequently written about.  The more and better she did, the less I heard from people, and then she was never mentioned.  When Magnus and Lucy’s name was brought up by me, disparaging remarks were made.  I realized I had no friends in the breed except my mentor, N5, who co-bred Mikhailya with her stud-dog, Regal.

In discussing the passing of Magnus this week, I shared my experience with her.  I hope she can forgive me for replicating this email without asking her permission.  Somehow, I do not think it negatively reflects on her, but is a positive statement about all she has accomplished.

******************************************************8

Gmail Lorene Connolly <lorenecon@gmail.com>

Another sad passing

2 messages

From:  Lorene Connolly <lorenecon@gmail.com> Wed, Sep 13, 2017 at 10:51 AM

To: Karen Staudt-Cartabona <Majenkir@sprynet.com>

Dear Karen,

I don’t know if you know, but I am sure you do, but I received a special message from M—about a week ago telling me that our Magnus boy, their Max, had died on Aug. 31st. She thanked me profusely for him & told me he was a special borzoi who had done so much for her. He had been tired & living with her mother for some time, and she has been devastated by his passing. She asked me not to write about it out of respect for her mother so I have not & never will.

It was nice to read her kind words & gratitude. I have sensed for a long time from “friends”(?) A real wall of silence about his & Lucy’s accomplishments. Others have ended their friendships with me.

I know you think I am too sensitive, & perheaps I am for my own good, but certain things you know.   I won’t speak or write of it anymore on FB or my blog, it’s over now. But l still have my Tresor, and now the ill will has been transferred to him. Again by false friends.

In my opinion, we bred an outstanding litter together. Things would have been different for me had Bob not died so young, but he did. Now, I gave an aortic aneurism that I must be brave about.

And that is what I have to live with every day. No more litters, no more puppies, no more show dogs. Just the joy the borzoi I owned or bred or currently own bring me.

Love,

Lorene

************************************************************

Karen Cartabona <majenkir@sprynet.com> Wed, Sep 13, 2017 at 3:42 PM

To: Lorene Connolly <lorenecon@gmail.com>

Hi Lorene;

Yes, I do know and yes, it is sad. Thank you for writing. It happened just after Wendy’s visit, which may have been just too traumatizing for Max. Sadly he was not that old.

Kyoko sent me a post about it, she said that her heart is broken and I believe it is. She hadn’t told anyone up to that point, so I waited for her to make the announcement to the public.

What has passed, is the truth and cannot be changed. How nice for Bob, that you and he produced the Max and Lucy legacy. Without you both having the litter who knows what could have happened or how different all might have been. There is certainly much to be proud of and nothing to keep you from taking your share of the fame of what Max has done.

Those “friends” that you are writing about are riding on the bloodline themselves, and sadly, do not have any idea how to proceed. As has one kennel after another in the past who have flown then crashed and burned.

You do not need and are actually better off without those “false friends” who do so much harm in the long run. I have learned to have and have grown a thick skin because of all that is thrown at me. At this point in my life I do not care any longer, the history of Majenkir and it’s influence on Borzoi cannot be changed.

We have to have a meeting in the near future, see you there.

Karen

**********************************************

Conclusion.  For me, I have to accept that this one person, “Karen” , (N5), Karen Staudt-Cartabona  herself, is the only time I will openly identify an individual in my Blog.  I do so because  in this case she most deserving of accolades.  Karen is my mentor and sold Bob and me, mere newcomers at the time, our foundation bitch, “Mikhailya”, a world-class bitch of a Majenkir and Ksar co-breeding who did so much.  Karen took a chance and trusted us.  Moreover, because Karen is so deserving,  she should be identified buy name so her excellence and diligence and life time commitment to the borzoi breed can be recognize by all to see.  Today I understand, more wisely, that Karen is the only person who has to recognize and respect me in the breed and/or the dog world for me to be happy.     The silence of the other breeders simply doesn’t matter.

 

 

 

The one Blyss Kennels Bred Litter, December 8, 2008

I was in my late fifties when I got to breed my first litter, the litter that produced Magnus and Tresor.  It turned out to be notable for its greatness.   The quality went deep, so deep that N5 bred and showed Magnus, and then sold him to a high quality kennel in Japan.  There he made a huge mark of outstanding quality both as a show dog and a producer.  It was Magnus who sired Lucy.

I do not want to make this message about Magnus today, but for private reasons he is particularly on my mind.  The spotlight shines brightly on his puppy, Lucy, and deservedly so. Lucy is still being campaigned, and is winning even more Best in Shows.  This is after she broke an 83 year record for number of Best in Shows by a borzoi by winning 22 Best in Shows in July, defeating Vigow of Romanoff’s untouchable record, and being the Number One Hound in America.    But I am not surprised.

Magnus was my rising star in that litter.  I called it when he was born, and I told 5N when I gave him to her.  I knew he was destined for greatness as soon as I saw him.  I wrote those very words to her that night in an email describing Mikhailya’s puppies.  So, tonight I am nostalgic for my puppies, all three Boys, my only litter.  I have come full circle, for I know well they are senior dogs now, and slowly each in their own way, slipping not through my fingers but life itself.  I may reach out and try to grasp each of them, sometimes one more than another, one I sent away and it came home after four years, one that M5 sold to the kennel in Japan, and another that M5 sold and lost to destiny.  Yet, they are all reaching their respective endpoints of life and I want to hold them very close to me while I can.

An upcoming Borzoi Specialty Show 2017

Behind the scenes, a subject about which I do not write, I support the Borzoi Club of Central New Jersey, my primary, local area breed club.  My mentor, N5, has been the  president for the past two years, during which the membership has rapidly increased.  Many of the new members are borzoi or puppy borzoi buyers of hers.  A club has more resources when the number of members grow.  Our meetings are still held at the lovely home of N36, rather centrally located, and this too enormously ads to the enjoyment of the meetings.  Several weeks ago, the Club held its B Match, and two couples stepped forward and said they were interested in joining.  This is truly great news for the club.

Next Saturday, September 9, 2017, is the Specialty Show for the Club.  It is held with Somerset Hills Kennel Club’s point show.  I know this year, all of the major breeders have puppies to show, as well as their still outstanding  veterans.  The class dogs are expected to be exciting, too.  We are hoping for perfect weather.

I am particularly happy that new people are joining the Club, people who are younger than most of us.  We need younger members to keep it running.  That seems to be the scenario with many breed clubs.    Many members are in their 70s……. then a large number are in their 60s…. and 50s…..  Where are the youth, I ask?  There are not many.  If you took away the young handlers at dog shows, it would look like a geriatric day out in the park.