I suppose after the whirlwind of Lucy, beginning in February 2016 when she won Reserve Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club in February 2016 followed up with winning the Best in Specialty Show at the Borzoi Club of America National Specialty Show in Kansas City a few months later, the time has come to turn the focus of the spotlight of Blyss Blog Encore back on me and the Blyss borzoi that remain with me, Tresor and Jelly. It has been a diversion, for sure, but not one that could go unreported. It has been a dazzling whirlwind that no one ever dreamed could be possible. It was beyond the limits of dog show imagination! Yet, to return to quotidian matters, life simply goes on, as it has done before. I wish I had some news, or an accomplishment of my own…. I wish I could announce that I was buying a new borzoi puppy….. that will not be happening. My time is spent working on dog club jobs, going to dog shows, church, making new friends in civic minded clubs and keeping loneliness at bay. I cannot imagine life without Tresor and Jelly, so hopefully we shall all be together for a very long time. Yet, I have to brace myself for the day when they are no longer here. After all, I still grieve for Opal, dead eleven years in July.
In addition to the small circle of regular girlfriends that I have lost touch with recently, my dog friends have been remote this summer. It was confirmed when one woman, over the phone, repeated something Jelly’s breeder allegedly felt towards me that would have been better left unsaid. That experience has been difficult to endure. I think the established breeders share very strong bonds with one another, and in their eyes, I have not proven myself very much for anything. I am sure I have offended everybody at some point though be it unintentionally.
I have decided to be very grateful for my borzois, Jelly and Tresor, more than I can ever put into words. They truly bring me joy and peace. I will focus on what is good in my life, and what makes me truly happy.
The good news of “Lucy” continues to be posted almost daily on Facebook. Lucy broke the record for the greatest number of BIS wins by a borzoi in early July (2017), however in subsequent shows she is entered in, she often wins again. So, I applaud and congratulate her, and her benefactors who make this nearly unprecedented campaign possible. She is deserving in every way. A fake or phony flashy dog could never sustain a string of wins so long. So long a list of judges could never be compiled to agree without consensus that she represents the best of the borzoi standard. She is the real thing, a dog that does not come along very often, in any breed. Following are some very recent photos taken this month.
I wish I could have kept her sire and had the resources to campaign him and breed him with Karen, instead of having to give him up as I did, and then she deciding to sell him. But we cannot second guess destiny. If I kept him, or if Karen had not sold him, there may never have been a “Lucy” borzoi, but then again, there could have been……
We can only dream, but the outcome of this version is the one we have, and there are enough accolades in it to go around to everybody involved.
As readers of Blyss Blog know, when my late husband and I co-owned Mikhailya with Karen Staudt-Cartabona of Majenkir Borzoi,(N5), she was co-bred to Karen’s stud dog at the time, CD BISS, MBISS, Regal By Design, “Regal”, who had proven himself to be both a great show dog and stud dog. The litter was born on December 8, 2008. It marks one of the happiest moments of my life. Mikailya presented us with three male puppies, all beautiful; but one particularly outstanding that I named “Magnus”! I told Karen in an email later that day, “He is the kind of dog you like to take into the ring! He is destined for greatness.”
Later, after some time, Karen had the opportunity to sell this Boy to Belisarius Kennels in Japan where borzoi are highly valued. Mai Ozeki purchased him in place of her father, who had recently died. It was love at first sight for each of them. Magnus made her very happy. He won many honors, including Best in Shows. Then, his get went on to win, too. One bitch, named Lucy, was co-owned by a family in the USA. They put her out with a handler, and Lucy went on to win enormous success as Blyss Blog Encore has reported generously. Yes, Lucy won Reserved Best in Show at Westminster Kennel Cub in 2016, and three months later, Lucy won the Borzoi Club of America National Specialty Show in Kansas City, KS. She was then taken out with the handler, Valerie Nunes-Atkinson for another year. She won the breed again at Westminster in 2017, but not the Group. She skipped the Borzoi National Specialty in 2017, leaving that venue to her son, Vinto who, sadly, did not place. He is a special now but still very young. He showed himself beautifully well though, and he will be a winner like his mother after taking some time to grow up. Our mentor, Karen Staudt-Cartabona won this show again this year with another bitch she co-owns, this time with Karen and Dr. Howard Spey from the Veterans Classs.
Lucy was being shown out west, but shortly after the National Specialty Show, she was moved toward the south where, of all things, she was being shown with Valerie. There, she won her 20, then 21, then 22nd Best in Shows! These wins were all in a day’s work for Lucy and Valerie, but they made Borzoi breed history. For, by winning BIS 21, she tied a world record of BISs held by a borzoi that was 83 years old, held by Vigow of Romanov, owned by Louis Murr. She then won her 22nd Best in Show this week surpassing his record. Everyone in the breed who is on Facebook is thrilled! She is worthy of all accolades and praises.
Lucy is a beautiful borzoi bitch in every way; I can swear I see Mikhailya in her face! Lucy has brought me, in my tiniest of kennels, a notable accomplishment. I saw and had faith in Mikhailya’s wonderful qualities and wanted her to be bred so they could live on in the borzoi gene pool, and now they can! Having lost my beloved Opal in which I had so much faith and optimism, it was important to me to give Mikhailya that chance.
So far, summer has been lovely. Unfortunately for me, I have spent way too much time performing grueling labor. First, I created flower beds, involving bringing in soil and mulch. There were two long flower beds involved, both about sixty-five feet long. I don’t know how my fragile, petite body did it. After that was done, I had to turn my attention to the deck with the peeling paint, that the contractor said was “normal” and “okay”. I did not agree. He did not stand behind his work. Angry words were spoken, and I said, well, I will fix this myself. On the outside, I was strong and tough, but on the inside, I was devastated and depressed. I can’t imagine anyone I know having to do anything even remotely like this daunting a task. It made the garden work look easy. But, my depression only made me tackle it with more ferocity. I was not going to let this mean man get the better of me. Home Depot is my new Bloomingdales. I can go in and not even have to ask where things are anymore. I can take care of myself now. It is my goal to reverse the damage done to my deck by staining it after the wood was clean and sanded.
Aside from that debacle, I see many of my Facebook friends are enjoying beautiful vacations. A very respected pair of twin sisters recently rescued some horses, and used them to go on a horse-b ack riding vacation out west, which is where they live. They took photographs of the beautiful scenery their journey with their horses took them. I cannot even imagine a more enjoyable vacation than spending time on a journey through the American west with a beloved sister and on horseback. It struck me as such a precious gift to give one another, that their closeness allows they share so much the same passions. They are both sight-hound breeders, and AKC judges. I am truly in awe of them and their accomplishments. I was sent several other Facebook vacation photos of friends in other pretty places enjoying themselves, but they all paled in comparison to those of the two sisters riding in the west.
I was thrown a cruel dagger this week from a cruel woman, a woman who just spits out venom without any thought of how she sounds, or the damage she does to the human spirit. It has gotten her in trouble before, and she certainly has gotten herself in trouble with me, and my friendship with Jelly’s breeder, N24. That is unfortunate. The woman spoke for her, alleging I am no longer welcome at N24’s home because she does not like my Tresor, with whom I travel and bring there with me. We never had a problem with him there because she has adequate space to keep him separated from her one male, and he is very well behaved around bitches. This is a very tender place in my heart, or so I found out. I cannot bear to think that people have ill will toward My Boy, who, along with myself, has been through so much. We lost Bob to cancer six years ago. It caused me to have to give him up. then, two years ago, he was suddenly given back. And yes, it is a bit beyond my ability to handle him. I need help. However, my home has a very good set up for him, and unless there is an accident with one of the fences, or a door – more about that follows – Tresor is safe and secure here with me. He is a wonderful borzoi, full of love and happiness for people, and all he asks of life is to be walked a few times a day to be happy, and loved in return.
Since I do my own yard work now, I was outside and forgot for a few minutes that the garage door had been left open when I went into the house for a few minutes. This causes a breach in the security for my borzois. It was pure carelessness on my part that allowed this to happen. The last time I saw them, my borzois were on my bed in the bedroom asleep. I was just finishing a light lunch when a man who lives a block or so from my house rang my front door-bell. When I came to the door, he said my dog had been in his yard, and had killed the animal now at his feet. I looked down through the screen door, and saw a dead, red colored creature. I thought it was one of his cats, so I began to profusely apologize. He said it was not, it was a young fox! I assumed it was Jelly, and we went out together to find her. She was spotted right away in the neighbor’s yard next door, having not gone far, and was just taking a stroll through the yards of the neighboring properties. When we spotted “her”, we all called out to “her” and “‘she” sauntered over. However, to our extreme surprise and shock, it was NOT Jelly at all, it was Tresor! He knew how to sneak out of the house and get off the property, and once out, took himself on a hunting trip. I felt so proud of him, that he showed intelligence by not running away in the street, or going the half-mile south down the road to US Highway 22, or run a half-mile north into the Watching Reservation, and may never have come back. He wanted to get out, and he did it the smartest way possible, on a hunting trip close to home, and he brought me back his prize.
I also saw today on Facebook that Lucy, the great show bitch, who is the grand-daughter of our very own Majenkir bitch, “Mikhailya”, won a Group 1 placement at show in Kansas. She certainly gets around. Again, her handler looks like she is having the time of her life!
The week started badly, with many burning tears cried for the painful words I had to hear spoken about my Boy. The thought that people think ill of him disgusts me. He is a great borzoi and I take wonderful care of him. I care for him and Jelly to such a degree that you can call it devotion, and commitment. They are my lifeline now. I know they are not perfect, they are flawed, and probably nobody would ever want them but me, but they are mine to love absolutely and unconditionally. That is how they love me.
Only I could arrive here, safely and alone with Tresor and Jelly besides me in this house, as if navigating our own small ship, on the eve of the Fourth of July. Although in my mind’s eye, I imagine myself with them bobbing on gentle waves riding along the NJ coastal shore in the Atlantic ocean. I reminisce, it is a delightful time to be in Mountainside. It creates the most enchanting illusion that it is about one-hundred years earlier, when there were not so many houses built along the side of this mountain, the first ridge of the Watchung Mountain range. With heavily wooded lots replete with lumbering shade trees, and deer appearing here and there as if they were pets, one can easily drive by a house and not see it.
My walks with Jelly have been telling. You have to pay attention. She enjoys walking in the field behind the Catholic Church across the street. This is the exact site where I had my accident walking Tresor last year after he saw a ground hog. Jelly does not run around much, but she looks for squirrels and rabbits. One evening, at a distance away, I saw pair of frolicking fawns, their tiny bodies still covered with white spots. The doe appeared a minute or two later. We both froze and watched them. When they were out of sight, we continued our walk. Later, on the Rectory lawn, we saw two large young bucks enjoying the nearby foliage. Then I saw the special little blinking; fire flys! I was transported back decades in the split of a second. It was a beautiful night. I let Jelly off leash. She wanted to stalk a rabbit. She did her thing. She is no hunter. The rabbit got away onto a neighbor’s lawn. She followed it there. I called her, and she took her very sweet time coming back to me. She was a brat. For that, I put her on the leash! But overall, Jelly is such a good companion dog.
Reading Facebook this week, I saw more news of the great show bitch, “Lucy”. She is the grand-daughter of our Majenkir bitch, “Mikhailya”, who left this world four years ago on June 13th. “Lucy” won her twentieth Best in Show, and a wonderful photograph was posted of her.
For my own reasons, valid and not, my heart breaks for being here alone except for my dogs. I am not that kind of person who is solitary very well. I long for interaction, dialog, having things to look forward to doing with someone. I put a lot into my relationships, and they are all gone, many to death. Many people in my life have died, and I am only in my mid-sixties. That rather shocks me.
My beautiful borzois inspire me to be more than I am, for I know they need me and I must be at my best for them. I run my hand through their beautiful white coats and embrace them to my heart! Jelly! Tresor!
It was almost two years ago today that Tresor was returned to me by his family who owned him for four years. I do not like to think of those years without him. But, once he was returned, it was like he never was gone at all. We picked up our relationship as if we just saw each other the day before. I consider Tresor a gift and a blessing in my life.
Finally, it was around the Fourth of July in 2006 that Blyss Kennels endured its first tragedy and loss, the death of Opal at nineteen months of age. My grief for her was lengthy and profound. I became shockingly ill, but I could not control how it made me feel. Today, looking back on it, I don’t know how I survived the experience. I had to learn how to be well again and find new ways to be happy. Life had let me down, after all.
Today, I try to remember Opal with joy in my heart. I had the best borzoi I ever could have had. She made me extremely happy; she just could not stay with me very long. However, I am still very lonely and unhappy without her! I beg God to please unite us sometime soon. I want to touch her exquisitely beautiful borzoi face again, and run my fingers through her silky, white coat. She glowed and sparkled in the sun! Her body had stunning sighthound curves that made her look so graceful. I have never seen a creature like her before or since.
I still love her so much. And when I think of her, I think of the words of that gorgeous Pearl Jam song, “Come Back”
Then, there were my own feeble words, Opal’s Prayer:
Unable to deny His request to take her, Opal lives in heaven now.
How? Why? Thy will be done. Dear God, Opal is yours now!