Monthly Archives: July 2015

July 2015 at Blyss Kennels, Reminisces, Tresor, Dare I Complain?

These are the dark days of July, yes, my favorite month can have them.  It’s as if I am surrounded by a burning heat, like a bonfire that emanates a burning warmth that is highly uncomfortable.  It’s been too hot to even step inside the forest at Watchung Reservation.  The heat penetrates through the protective canopy of interlocking leaves as if they were not even there.  The direct sunlight moves one to faint or have a migraine as if it is not even safe to be outdoors.  To be so warm outside is to be a prisoner of distasteful air-conditioning that makes this artificial odious thing as artificial air appear as something good and comfortable and even necessary.

The dogs don’t seem to mind this artifice, and they are borzoi.  They stretch themselves out full length in it, finding the coolest spot under an air vent and then don’t move for hours.  One would expect more of them but no, there they are, lolling around in it, being cool.  I am full of disdain and despair because I am no better really.

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I am living the life in retirement I dreamed of and I am very grateful.   It almost did not happen.  My husband died four years ago, reminding me how fragile life is and how close to home a tragedy can strike.  I myself struggled with breast cancer last year, again driving home the comprehension of the degree to which good health is a gift to one’s life.  I spend more time than usual “resting” and doing things that I enjoy that are very calming to me.  These include watching the movies on Turner Classic Movies (TCM), and reading.  I also spend seemingly endless amounts of time sending messages to people via email and Facebook.  The companionship of my now two borzoi, especially the recent surprise gift of Tresor’s return to me, completes my picture of happiness for me so much so that I have achieved a new level of it perhaps never before experienced, something quite new and wonderful.  I felt silly in therapy this morning talking to my doctor about Tresor, describing everything he has done over the past week as if he were a growing baby.

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With his trainer and my boyfriend this morning, I demonstrated Tresor’s ability to stack and move.  His movement  reflects his beautiful conformation, that being, he is a very correct borzoi.  His faults lie elsewhere, alas, there is no perfect dog.  Most of all, he demonstrates the joy and sweetness he had so much of as a youngster.  I top off the fun by taking endless photos with my cell phone, a skill to which I came late.

I contacted the woman who was our handling instructor at St. Hubert’s Dog Training School in Madison NJ after a hiatus of four years, N30.  I called tentatively, not knowing if she would remember me, or what to expect.  How wrong I was.  My call was greeted with great enthusiasm.  She remembered me and said she thought of me all the time – something I found so amazing.  Well, I thought about her, too, if truth be told.  She was a very significant person in my life.  Tresor performs beautifully in the show ring, and she is a huge part of that reason.  Also, I handle very well myself now, thanks to her.  However, I do not handle due to my age and underlying medical conditions that would make it hard for me.  It takes strength and stamina in great measure to handle a large dog, especially to show a big boy like Tresor.  I think my boyfriend, who adores Tresor, may want to do it for me.

 

Tresor Comes to Blyss on July 3, 2015, Nine years after Opal Departs

Opal

As I look back and think of the day, July 3, 2015, it was a surprise when it happened but it was a natural event, meant to be.  He has adjusted seamlessly; all is well.  He is the boy who came home to stay.  Yet, it occurred to me today, I missed again thinking about Opal on the anniversary of her death on July 6th.  He has always been the gift I received to replace that loss, and so again he is, to stand in her place, almost nine years to the day.

I can still shed tears of loss for her life that was cut so short, so perversely unfair, so cruelly that she lost everything and I lost so much.  I try to think about it differently though, of how much I had by having her, for those nineteen months.  They seared a separate heart in my breast that is all hers, My Opal.  She is a parallel world where I live.  But it is a life of love that gives me love, that allows me to love and give love to others, especially other borzoi.

I’ve been touched by her in a way that I shall always be separate from others by having had her.  She made me special and unique.  I understand life as I never would have before.  She was precious and rare and she was mine but mine to lose yet in memory have forever.

“May we meet again, Dearest Little One!”

Blyss Reminisces: Puppies and Books, a Retired Librarian After All, Comments

05.01.2015 . 02 Hunter & Jess

I have enjoyed much time recently visiting Jelly’s breeder, N24, who lives in upstate New York  near the Connecticut border.  She lives in a house very much like the one I had before I moved here. She has two older female borzoi who live upstairs, and two puppies who live downstairs in her dog room. One of the females is the mother of the puppies, and the other female is Jelly’s mother. The puppies are still being trained and are too rambunctious to be upstairs all the time. It is a great deal of fun for me to be there, enjoying both the older ones and the puppies. Also, the puppies are now being shown, and they are doing very well in the show ring. I am going to co-own the male puppy with her, and we will share in his expenses, and my name will be on him as a co-owner. His name is Hunter, and I could not be happier about that. By the time Jelly passes on, he will be a middle aged borzoi and I should be able to bring him here to Blyss to live.

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I have spent my down time this summer reading some old American classic novels, most that I have read a long time ago. So far, I have read Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, and now I am reading Main Street by Sinclair Lewis. I wanted to read something by Faulkner, and Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath but I got side tracked.

I see the literary world is in spasms over the controversial sequel to Harper Lee’s jewel, To Kill a Mockingbird, called Go Set a Watchman, where the main character, “Atticus”, is a racist. This is totally illogical, and it is difficult for me to accept she wrote it. However, it does support proof how much time changes us. Even 180 degrees, as in this case. Inexplicable other than sheer senility. We can only wonder how time changes us, who we are and who we are becoming, and hopefully we are not letting ourselves down to ourselves and in the eyes of the world.

Prior, I indulged myself in some contemporary fiction, although finding good writing was difficult.  I started with Amy Tan, one of my absolute favorite writers, and enjoyed and anguished over The Valley of Amazement.  The novel was a slow burn.  By the end, it pains you simply to think about the characters and their lives.  I found another such work, although in a completely different setting, equally incendiary by an obscure Hungarian or Romanian writer, Miklos Banffy who wrote a colossal work known as The Transylvanian Trilogy.  It was on the scope of War and Peace.  Authors like Tolstoy come to mind.

When I am not reading great literature, I read silly tabloids or watch Turner Classic Movies on the cable TV to relax.  There has to be a way to relax somewhere in the universe.

The Special Man at Blyss

I, for some reason known only to God, am blessed to have a wonderful companion in my life who helps me with everything, and without whom nothing I do would be possible.  He has been that way since I met him two years ago.  He has always been totally committed to my borzoi, and is again committed to Tresor.  I have my own demons and am not an easy person to be with, and he has had to accept much from me.  But he is still here.  One day he said to me, after a really rough time of it in our relationship, which I swear was all his fault of course, “I will never abandon you.”  And I believe him.  He was speaking the truth.  My life becomes more complicated with each passing day, and he takes it in stride and rolls up his shirt sleeves as if to say, “Well, what do I have to do next?”   First it was breast cancer because my son and my sister washed their hands of me.  Now it is Tresor.  If Tresor ever overcomes his adjustment problems, you can believe it will be in large part because of this  good man.

Blyss Tresor, a new life

Although not totally unexpected, it still came as a surprise when I got  the txt from Tresor’s family that they were returning him to me.  It was the same as it was on Christmas Eve in December 2011 when they asked if they could return Paris, who had also gone to live with them in March 2011.  Of course I said yes and  yes again.  Now my real work begins.  It will entail finding a good behavioral dog trainer, someone with certification and experience, in dealing with the issues that make Treasor a difficult dog to own, especially in the suburbs.  I am optimistic such a person can be found and although it may be a long  process, he can live a happy life with us.

I have reached out to my usual mentors, (N5, N7, N24, and N29) and each had their own insights into what I should do,  reflecting their own unique philosophies in handling borzoi.   There is no shortage of opinions here.  I will follow my own style, based on the mentor with whom I most agree in this area, whose advice was based on a trainer educated in the field of animal behavior modification and  dog training certification.   I would have hoped his affluent and very well educated human “family” would have been motivated to do this for him, but they did not.  They loved him for his looks, not realizing in the beginning how difficult an accessory an unhappy borzoi could become to live with.

 

The Blyss Days with Jelly of July 2015

There seems to be no end to joy as Jelly is my constant companion and loneliness, my most constant challenge, is banished by her mere existence.  Boredom, another bane, is kept at bay by our frequent destinations together to the Watchung Reservation.   I do not seem to disappoint her as I find interesting trails for us to hike.    I manage to find trails that make a round loop so we do not have to turn around and turn back the way we came.   I am also good at finding trails that pass fields abundant with wild flowers and being July 1st, these fields are a robust panoply of blossoms.   And I know they will remain so through summer and into early fall.  Why, you might ask, am I made so happy by such a simple pleasure?  The reason is very simple to explain.  I worked during many fine summers throughout my adult life, days full of fresh air and sunshine.  Instead, they were days spent in long commutes to buildings with windows sealed shut and recirculated air.  I prayed at the time I would someday have the chance to enjoy the outdoors someday.   Now that I am retired, I do.

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Still, my mind is never at rest or peace.  Demon daggers still rise up out of the ashes of the past to wound me.  Where, I wonder, was my mother when I needed her the most?  Why did she say what she said, and do what she did to me?  It was so pointless and unnecessary.  She recently died.  Before she did, she spent several months apologizing for how badly she treated me, and righting many wrongs.  But she lingered only a short time.  We only had three short months to love one another and be happy together.  It’s sad, but as a child I remember hearing her say how much she did not want to “spoil” her children, and she believed, “You should only kiss your children when they sleep.”  It is sad to me she lived those beliefs, and now she loves us, my sister and me, but it is she who is asleep forever.  -During our three months of reconciliation, one of the saddest parts was that I did not have a borzoi at the time, so she never got to meet any of the Blyss borzoi, or even Jelly, whom I have had since February this year.   Some things are just wretched, and this story is one of them.  I wish I could think of my mother with more peace, but she is still a subject that recalls too much pain.

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Sometimes I wonder how my mother has affected me.  I know I am always good to Jelly, but I am not always good to other people, such as my sister or my boyfriend.  I can be mean, too.  I believe being with Jelly makes me better, makes me a better person, makes we want to give more of myself because I must give so much to her, as if she were a baby.  And, Jelly makes me happy and she calms me down when I might otherwise be tense, depressed or lonely.  But I know I am a very flawed person who has had many fractured relationships in my life and many have been my fault.  I have even lost most of my girl friends in recent years and I don’t even miss them or give a damn about them one bit.  If people do not touch upon my lifestyle centered around my borzoi, it is hard for me to care.  The only exception is my activities with my Church that means a great deal to me.  Perhaps prayer or activities centered on church life, in addition to my happy times with Jelly, are the only safe zones for me going forward.  I feel more secure in these arena, happier, less likely to stumble and fall, or crash and burn.

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It is critical for one’s equanimity to find emotional safe zones  to achieve serenity.  Perhaps it is through pet ownership, being in nature, academic or career accomplishments, or achievement of cherished goals.  For me, it is to step onto that trail, the special one beneath the sheltering canopy of interlocking leaves, walking in the dimension of ancient places like Watchung Reservation and all the  ridges of the Watchung Moutains in North Central New Jersey that rise up from the sea.

 

My “Mikhailya” son, “Blyss Tresor”

I received an surprise today regarding Tresor.  He was unexpectedly returned to me.    The Boy has come home.  I am elated, levitated, stunned into serenity and bliss.  Who knows the whys and the wherefores.  It is, it just simply is.

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But my joy is sadly at the expense of another.  Those of his former home, his supposed forever home, must be so sad to have lost him.  They have had him for four years.  How can they bear it?  It is not like one of them died, as did my husband.  They are two young, beautiful, healthy adults – they have it all!   I am perplexed.

I have felt for some time he was not being kept well.  He was not being abused, but I had clear visions that he was not being exercised, or he was being crated for long periods of time while his owners both worked all day.  I envisioned that they spent less and less time with him, and he was very lonely.  I visited him about once a year, and I felt very strongly that he wanted to be with me, not them.  Last summer, I begged the wife to return him to me, but she ignored my pleas.  I did not have the strength, going through chemotherapy for breast cancer, to fight at the time.  She knew that so nothing happened.  I pined for him but told myself it was hopeless.  I resigned myself that he was lost to me.  I accepted the pain.  Now, it is ended.

Tresor is a tall order.  He is not for the feint of heart.  I will have to learn better how to handle a dog like him, and that will mean bringing in a dog trainer.  I believe his demons that create difficulties for him can be put to rest.  Mikhailya’s son.  I long for the bliss those two words engender in my soul.  Mikhailya’s son,  Tresor,  Love.

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