Monthly Archives: July 2016

Status Quo at Blyss Kennels; Development of New Interests

Today, being on the other side of ten years of Opal’s death, I know more is expected of me.  I can no longer lounge around feeling sorry for myself about this or about anything anymore.  It is simply not appropriate.  I am alive and well with much that I am responsible for.  I require all of my energies to accomplish what is necessary for me to do.  First of all, I have the responsibilities of caring for Jelly and Tresor by myself.  With the separation from my boyfriend who no longer lives here, I am very aware that I carry this full weight.   I had one serious accident in May when I  broke my shoulder walking Tresor, however I am well aware that it could have been much worse.     I know I cannot afford to have a repeat of anything like that again so I do things differently now.  My ability to care for these borzois is of tantamount importance because nobody else wants them and they are my full responsibility.  I will say however that I could return Jelly to her breeder but that would not be ideal for either Jelly or her.   Moreover, Jelly is so happily adjusted to living with me and Tresor now that it would be so traumatic for all of us to make a change that it is no longer an option.

2015.05.11 Jelly 00 Hot Day

So many people live alone now, especially if it is not by choice, that this puts many pets and other farm animals at risk of abandonment in the event that something bad happens to their owner.  There is currently no shortage of animal rescue and/or sanctuaries organizations throughout the world for animals such as dogs, cats, equines and other barnyard animals, not including the well known organizations such as the ASPCA, or Humane Society of the United States and P.E.T.A.  I identify many of these lesser known organizations on my Facebook page (see: www.Facebook.com/Lorene.Connolly) some of which I support with regular donations.  But my own borzois come first and foremost because they live with me and need me most of all.  And so, they are my first priority.  I recently realized that I prefer living in my relationship with them than reaching out to new friends when I recently had the opportunity to do so.  In other words, I would rather be with them alone at home than with most people in the world if given the chance.  It would be the same if I had donkeys.  I know I would spend time during my day caring for them and just being there with them; grooming them, talking to them, massaging them telling them how much I love them.  They would give me so much comfort in return, I know, in a way that is different than a borzoi, a kind of serenity.  Perhaps that is sad to some, but for me it is not.  I have learned about myself that I prefer it that way.

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If any reader of my Blog or Facebook page wants more information about the horse, donkey, barnyard sanctuary information, or information about equines for your own interests and the excellent organizations that support them that I have data mined from Facebook and the internet, you are welcome to email me: Lorenecon@gmail.com.  This is a serious international movement, with organizations on every continent.  There are very professional, committed, devoted and serious people creating a safety network to improve the quality of life for animals that would otherwise suffer a cruel, slow death.

Mylestone_Horse_Rescue_NJ

A New Interest for Blyss Kennels: Rescue and Sanctuary Organizations for Equines

So many people live alone now, especially if it is not by choice, that this puts many pets and other farm animals at risk of abandonment in the event that something bad happens to their owner such as loss of health or a job.  This automatically puts their animals at risk of abandonment.  There is currently no shortage of animal rescue and/or sanctuaries organizations throughout the world for animals such as dogs, cats, equines and other barnyard animals that come into peril, not including the well known organizations such as the ASPCA, or Humane Society of the United States and P.E.T.A.  I identify many of these lesser known organizations on my Facebook page (see: www.Facebook.com/Lorene.Connolly) some of which I support with regular donations.  But my own borzois come first and foremost because they live with me and need me most of all.  And so, they are my first priority.   It would be the same if I had donkeys.  I know I would spend time during my day caring for them and just being there with them; grooming them, talking to them, massaging them telling them how much I love them.  They would give me so much comfort in return, I know, in a way that is different than a borzoi, a kind of serenity.  I know I would prefer to spend my quality time this way rather than socializing with people.  Perhaps that is sad to some, but for me it is not.  I have learned about myself that I prefer it that way.

If any reader of my Blog or Facebook page wants more information about the horse, donkey, barnyard sanctuary information, or information about equines for your own interests and the excellent organizations that support them that I have data mined from Facebook and the internet, you are welcome to email me: Lorenecon@gmail.com.  This is a serious international movement, with organizations on every continent.  There are very professional, committed, devoted and serious people creating a safety network to improve the quality of life for animals that would otherwise suffer a cruel, slow death.

Losing Blyss Opal Ten Years Ago and Beginning Blyss Blog.

Opal

This is the iconic portrait of Opal by Maxine Bochnia taken at six months old in 2005, famous on the internet and proudly displayed at trade shows wherever she works.

Note:  Although I am writing about a very sad subject in this entry of Blyss Blog Encore, it does not reflect the way I feel in the present.  Upon reminiscing about Opal on the tenth anniversary of Her death, my words in quotation are reproductions of documents that described my feelings at that time.  

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I must look back ten years now to remember the premature death of the borzoi puppy bitch I loved so much, Opal.   I wrote Opal’s obituary shortly after Her death and posted it on BorzoiNews-L.   Opal is not for public consumption therefore I am not posting this anniversary on Facebook or Twitter, but only mentioning the anniversary in my Blog.  For  the writing of that obituary and its publication on the BorzoiNews-List,  and the first entry in my Blog one year later describing my feelings about my grief, catapulted me into creating Blyss Blog and its continuation, Blyss  Blog Encore.  It was very clear that my grief was still raw one year later and would fester for many years.  There may be some readers who remember Opal’s obituary that I posted that day in the listserv.  It follows:

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“‘And a lady always knows when to leave.”

As many of our friends know, our youngest borzoi, “Opal” at Blyss, has been ill for some time. It has been heart wrenching to see her fail to thrive, waste away, and know something was wrong but not know what. To know was worse. She fought hard to live. Sadly, she lost.

Opal will always be remembered for her beauty, sweetness and grace, and that her time with us was much too brief. I believe she had a career as a show dog in her future, although perhaps not equaled to that of her great dam. That stopped being important to us, if only she could be well. Opal was happiest when she could be at home, making everyone feel special with her unique style of affection, tapping you with her paw to get your attention, or leaning into you to be scratched behind the ears, or licking your hands and face. Still, I would be a liar if I denied regretting the loss of so many “what could have beens” for her. Truly, she was robbed. With her passing, we lose much, too: Opal’s infectious joy, the heart of our home.

Opal’s untimely departure makes me recall a wonderful line from one of my favorite movies, Fried Green Tomatoes. Ruth, a much loved main character and a beautiful young woman, dies prematurely. Her friend, Sipsy, comforts their friends with the following words:

‘It’s all right, honey. Let her go. Let her go.  Miss Ruth was a lady.  And a lady always knows when to leave.’

Thank you, Roni and Jennifer Zucker, for sending Opal to Blyss. We shall always be so grateful.

“Opal,” Raynbo Opalesque at Blyss

October 21, 2004 – July 7, 2006

“May we meet again, Dearest Little One.”

Lorene Connolly & Robert Dwyer, Blyss Kennels, Mountainside NJ

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Lorene & Opal, 1 year old.

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One year later, no less consoled, I began the Blyss Blog with these words on July 6, 2007:

“One year has passed since I had to let Opal go. She was my best dog but She soon sickened and died…Today, I don’t understand why or how I am still here….I lost much by losing Opal. Opal meant the world to me… I tried to go to Her many times, many ways, but I failed. I still wish I could die… Nothing I feel makes any difference so there is no point in having  feelings. Wishes will not bring Her back, and my wishes stand for less. I have honored and memorialized Opal with my entire being and honors and memorials can’t bring Her back. I have cried myself sick and my tears don’t bring Her back. I have sickened myself into depression and depression can’t bring Her back. I have starved myself and starvation can’t bring Her back.  And I have grieved until I am out of grief and grief can’t bring Her back. She is gone.”

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Today, nine years after writing those opening words, although I no longer suffer the loss of Opal, I have not forgotten Her.  Instead, I am humbled by the memory that the pain of Her death caused me.  It transcended the emotional, and touched me in all aspects of my life to the point that I became physically and emotionally ill.  I never thought I could be so sick, sick to the point that my life was in danger.  There were other factors involved, true, but nothing has ever caused me so much pain before or since, as holding Her lifeless body in my arms.

It is still as sad today as it was then:  I lost ten years of blissful happiness with Opal when I needed Her so much.  By losing Her life, She lost Her chance to be my dog, when I was Her special human.  Moreover, by losing Her, I knew I would be lonely forever for that special kind of special love for me that only She had.  For that special love, the kind of love that Opal gave to me, was the kind of love that eluded me in all other areas of my life, not only in my three marriages  but going back to the earliest years of my childhood, a time of nightmares, devoid of safety and peace that only nurtured an endless, desperate quest for love as an adult.

When Opal died, Her light died with Her.  I was cast into a suffocating darkness from which I could not escape.  But life is cruel, and it goes on anyway…. Today, ten years later I am here trying to show Her the respect She is due all the while becoming a different person, a recovered person from an emotional blackout that consumed me for many years that followed.  I can recall Her memory now without the horrible pain in my chest that always brought on uncontrollable tears.  Perhaps today, I understand fully that She never really left me, that She was here all the while, always right here by my side.   Today I have the faith and the courage to look down and see Her as She looks up at me.

Paris with baby Opal
Paris with baby Opal

For Opal, I wrote prayers and I wrote poems.  In particular, there is “Opal’s Prayer” and “Hounds of the Steppes”.  They help me to remember she is always alive in my heart.

Closer to full recovery at Blyss; Doing better; Loving Tresor and Jelly

I am further along on my road to recovery after a freak accident walking Tresor caused me to break my shoulder on May 16, 2016.  Most of all, I am finally relieved of the excruciating and relentless pain the injury caused me for a full four weeks.  After that point, I obtained a significant amount of relief and ability regaining motion of my right arm that had been in a nearly frozen position across my chest held up in a most  unnatural way by a sling that day by day was becoming an increasing instrument of torture itself.  Two weeks later, on July 1st, I was told I would be able to drive.  Now my life has returned to normal except for the long hours I must endure of a new torture, physical therapy.  But I will not complain about that.

Moving on, while holed up alone, isolated, in pain, and very depressed, my mind played its usual repertoire of tricks.  First, it told me food did not taste good if I was in pain so I dropped ten pounds that unsettled all of my friends, family and doctors.  I do that, I just do.  I still do not want to eat.  What’s there to eat about? What’s there to eat for?  And extreme physical pain only transferred itself to the already existing emotional pain of being alone (a widow) reminding me of it in a new way.  Still, I hung in there eating as best I could, it only was not enough.

Now that I am feeling better, I am able to appreciate how lucky I am, lucky for my lovely home, my remaining close family members, my close boyfriend, and most of all my two borzoi, Jelly and Tresor.   Those are the things I have to focus on, as the memory of the pain dims into the distant pass more and more every day.  Although it was frightening and horrible, and it isolate me, now that it is over I have regained my equanimity toward life and have achieved a better balance.   Perhaps sometimes it takes a calamity to underscore your gifts for you, perhaps they disappear under the cover of mistakes and tragedies and you think everybody else has it better than you do, but to believe that is wrong.   I am able to raise the blinds in my bedroom every day now free of pain and give thanks for that and so much more.

Regarding the true focus of this blog, which is not me, Jelly and Tresor have been through a lot due to my accident as well.  However, they have ended up in a better place.  Jelly charmed herself into the heart of another dog acquaintance I have had for many years, who has asked to take Jelly with her and her lovely dog when she takes him out hiking in the Watchung Reservation which is almost daily.  Moreover, I found a wonderful man to walk Tresor for me, and that relationship  is working out well for him, and so for me, too.  Tresor is a dog who loves to be walked, and he looks so proud and full of himself as he saunters down the driveway with his dog-walker.  He is such a show-off!  The world is all about him, so he thinks.  He loves his life, and all the people in it.  It is worth everything in the world to me to see him happy this way.  When he comes back, he lavishes me with his affection, never missing an opportunity to rub his head on me, or reach out to me with his paw.  He wants to be close to me wherever I am in the house.  My heart is full of a special love for Tresor.  Every day lived with Tresor is a gift, and there is no pain in the world that could have destroyed that.  We co-exist in a bubble of dog love bliss, I know.  I know it will not endure forever, but while he is here, I will not allow anything to come between us again.  We share a sacred bond.  I never knew a dog could make me so happy as Tresor does.  And Jelly is right there behind him.