It was the day of the B Match for Borzoi Club of Central New Jersey, August 6, 2017. I was not showing a borzoi and did not bring any of mine for demonstration. I would have liked to, but it would have meant keeping Tresor home alone for a longer time than I would have wished.
It was so nice being with my Club members, people who truly are friends of mine and with whom I feel collegial. People come and go at shows. Since I had to miss the last Club meeting in June due to a conflict with Plainfield Kennel Club, it had been a long time since I had seen anyone. To my surprise, two separate households had acquired new borzoi. I was and am so happy for them. What joy!
To an almost unusual degree, several people seemed to want to talk to me a lot. I know people missed me from the last meeting I missed, and I tried to catch up with those who were interested in me, and I them. The day was running along in a socially supportive and positive way and I was very pleased.
I had the occasion to speak with a dear couple I know whose borzoi passed away last year under the saddest of circumstances. I tried to be supportive and sympathetic. This story still hurts me to think of, due to its senselessness. Unfortunately, the dog did not have to die but no one really is the culprit. It comes down to how to live with and manage borzois. How does it work best? How to make the borzoi happy? What if you chose to do otherwise and brush aside good, sound advice? Sadly, it will result in a sad or sick borzoi, or a very neurotic borzoi, a borzoi that cannot be a normal borzoi, which is determined by its genes.
My son, Graham, lives in the East Village of NY City. He tells me there are all kinds of dog breeds living in the city, including borzoi. Breeders who, 20 years ago, would never sell a borzoi to someone who lives in an apartment now do so. It can be done, I suppose, but it requires a lot of extra care on the part of the owner socializing and exercising it. In that way, a borzoi is a high maintenance breed. I have a hard time with Tresor and Jelly living in a suburb however I make it work. Fortunately I live near many open fields and a preserved forest park, Watchung Reservation. It has several very large open fields and a network of hiking trails.
Due to my age, I am beyond being able to do much hiking anymore, so I take Jelly to the Scouting Field in Watchung Reservation, where local people drop by in the evening and if their dog is well behaved, they are allowed to run and play off leash. Jelly is allowed to come here and has other relationships with both people and dogs whom she has met there. However, due to his great strength, I can no longer walk Tresor on a leash, so he is confined to the back yard unless one of his dog walkers is available to take him for a leash walk. I wish it were otherwise, but it is what it is for him. I do my best. Life goes on. I find myself saying a lot, “If I were 20 years younger…..”
And no, I don’t think I will be getting a borzoi puppy any time soon.