Jelly and I are spending as much time as possible together these days. I know she is critically ill and I want to spend as much time with her as possible. She always welcomes my company. When I am not with her, I am at work at a job I found in Westfield. My job makes me happy in a strange way. But it wasn’t supposed to be this way. How different it will be for me to come home and find Jelly gone. Will I really not get another borzoi? Will I be able to not live without one? Will I try a Silkin Windhund, a very similar dog instead? Will I ever connect to a partner again? These are very scary questions for me to contemplate. Especially if I have to endure them without a borzoi. Will it be worth it to go on by myself? If my heart is ripped out of my breast?
It is a spring morning at Blyss, a damp, cool and cloudy day. Slowly, I am getting the work in the flower beds done. Jelly is much on my mind. At eight years of age, she was recently diagnosed with chylothorax, a serious and even fatal respiratory disease. Surgery is not an option. We are treating it medically. She is handling it well. Every day is a gift. It has been good weather to walk Jelly and visit the neighbors. It is also good weather for her to go out with her friend of two years, since I broke my shoulder, N-39, who took to stopping by and bringing Jelly to the Watchung Reservation with her and her Dalmation. Even our friend LT, whom Jelly adores, drops in to lend a hand and visit her. Jelly really does not know she is sick and is still able to run with bursts of speed. She chases rabbit, squirrel, and even deer. She is an amazing borzoi. I am providing updates to all of her friends on Facebook, where she is very popular.
I have a part time job now at a local area department store. However, I am beginning to believe this is not the best solution for me at this time. I had to miss all of the specialty shows during the first week of May. Then, the week off I had planned to go to the National I decided not to go because of Jelly’s illness. I feel as if I have heaps of disappointments piling up on me. And I feel my sense of isolation weighs heavily on me. And I am somewhat limited about what I can do about that because of caring for Jelly and not wanting to leave her alone for long periods of time. I am very much a home-body, which to a large degree is a comfort to me, I admit. But it is isolating.
Facebook is an enormous help, keeping me in touch with all of my friends in the borzoi community. I have had much good news recently. Jelly’s breeder, N-24, bred the bitch she bred three years ago. She has eight healthy puppies. The sire, from N-5, is a grandson of Magnus. So, Magnus and Mikhailya are in their pedigrees. Lucy, a Mikhailya grand-daughter, returned to Japan and is living with N-38 of Belisarius Kennels. She is currently in whelp and her puppies are due soon. People all over the world are anticipating their birth. It is so uplifting to see so much joy from these special dogs.
But it is more than just breeding and showing. There is also a lot of news on Facebook about the efforts among the breeders and rescue organizations that have been formed, such as National Borzoi Rescue Foundation and National Borzoi Rescue Foundation – International, and the efforts of the Borzoi Club of America with their Beverley Taylor Trust enabling borzois who are in a bad way or place to be saved. It pleases me so much to know that my own borzoi are not the only ones to be cared for and loved, including those that will never walk into a show ring. I also want to say I applaud other breeds whose members have established comparable organizations to help their own.
In closing, today I want to thank the Maker of the Universe for the gifts of my borzoi, especially Tresor and Jelly. Although it pains me that I lost Tresor in December, and Jelly is ill, they still came into my life to give me love I could not find elsewhere. I can only hope I did not let them down. I cannot imagine life without a borzoi of my own to love, yet I must somehow face that prospect and go on. I thank my friends for all they give me when they open their hearts and share their borzoi with me.
After having written about Lucy and her many accomplishments over the last two years, the Grand-daughter of our Blyss Kennels bitch, Mikhailya, from the one litter she had, you are no stranger to her phenomenal list of accolades. However, if you have not followed the story or are new to the Blog, allow me to reproduce the post that Valerie Nunez-Atkinson, her handler of two years, wrote about her on the eve of putting her back on the plane to Japan. Upon arrival, she will return to Belisarius Kennels to Mai Ozeki Hirai, her original owner and breeder. Her great sire, “Max”, Mikhailya’s puppy, sadly passed last August and will not be there to greet her at her homecoming. Valerie’s Facebook post follows, documenting Lucy’s show career and accomplishments:
May 8 at 9:52pm
See you soon…..on her way home to Japan
The time has finally came, forced to say our goodbyes, The Lovely Lucy is on her way home.
We’ve dreaded this day as we have done in the past and no doubt will in the future. It’s the hard part of opening our hearts to those that come to us, those that we welcome and take in as family.
Lucy, with us for over 2 years exceeded all expectations…2015 Top Dog All Breeds in Japan with her great handler Shota, AKC’s All Time Top Winning Borzoi, the #1Hound in 2017, National Specialty BISS, 3x BOB winner at the Westminster KC, 2x Hound Group Winner at Westminster KC and lastly RBIS at the 2016 Westminster KC….and she has also already produced a National Specialty Winning Son (WD & BOW)….All of that aside, she was just our dog that we loved and adored. She smashed every record and set more but for us she is the dog that stole our hearts with her sweet soft nature, silly snorts, scootie butt zoomies, her glamorous self and her heart that gave us her all every single time she stepped into the ring. And, that says it all considering she IS a Sighthound bitch, lol;)) When she came to us we didn’t know if she could withstand or have the want to show for what is expected here in the States….we were ready to accept that reality if it wasn’t in her heart. But, after her breathtaking USA debut at Westminster KC and her heart stopping RBIS from Famed Breeder Judge; Richard Meen we decided to see what she could do….. she readily and happily stepped up to the plate and the winning began….her National Specialty came from another Breeder Judge; Ron Spritzer (Carol Spritzer) with her Son, standing behind her, another Honor. Her AKC All Time BIS record was awarded by none other then Icon Mr. Frank Sabella, truly special in that he was a unexpected judge change that day and so thrilled to have USA owners Risky M. Molnar (Michele and Jamie Danburg on hand to celebrate the day with us.
Lucy gave Antonio his FIRST USA BIS with CJ going RBIS, another memorable day. She and Antonio went on to be awarded another 9, 10 in total for the Team of Antonio and Lucy. Her BIS total 28 in USA and 13 in Japan, career of 41 All Breed BIS’s. Much of Lucy’s success is a credit to Antonio , it was all on him to keep her in tip top shape mentally and physically. Her muscle was hard, her coat glorious (when in coat after all she is a bitch and was never ever on Cheque drops) she naturally came into and out of coat as any coated female would. When out of coat and breaking the all time record under Frank Sabella….his comment was “all the better to see all her beautiful curves, both a perfect Topline and Underline” from the Man that knows it was indeed a huge compliment to her outstanding quality and type. So, Antonio thank you, thank you for all you have done for Lucy in her time with us. She adores you like all the others do a true testament to your soul. For that I’m forever grateful.
To Michele and Jamie , we were so honored to have you join our team. Without your help, encouragement and never ending support Lucy would not of had this amazing career. We all love you both.
To Shota Hirai, Mai Hirai, Kyoko Ozeki, ?? ? Minoru thank you for choosing us. There have been many others in the decade of showing for you and no doubt many more to come but there will only be ONE LUCY. We love you all;)
To all that cheered us on through the years, we thank you. The fellow breeders that supported us we are forever grateful. And to all that was on Team Lucy, thank you??.
We have cried tears of joy many times with her, today the tears of sadness from our hearts, as she heads home to Japan.
The accolades are many indeed but today our hearts are breaking as we must say ….see you next time Lucy, forever Team #welovelucy.
I will admit it is difficult for me to read this. An era of historic borzoi conformation annals comes to an end with Lucy’s return to Japan. My one comment about Mikhailya’s breeding has been consistent: It proved to be very important to the borzoi breed history, andir made so many people so happy. Then why am I weeping? As I often write on Facebook, “Tears……”
I have been greatly troubled by the winter weather since the death of Tresor in early December. It is early May now. Winter lingered on long, keeping snow flakes well in sight, and worries of icy roads and driveways on everyone’s mind. Where was spring, we all wonder. My barometer is the color of the mountain. The day the color of the mountain changes from black to green, it is sure to be spring. That happened about a week ago. And with it, the blossoms of the flowering fruit trees soon followed. All seemed right with the world.
Jelly developed what looked like a fatty tumor on her chest. The mostly off and on again boyfriend, “LT”, insisted I take her to the vet as if it were a matter of life or death. So I made an appointment and took the long trip to Washington, NJ. I shall be brief….. her heart beat sound was “muffled”….. it was determined at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls that she has chylothorax. They removed one liter of white, fatty liquid from her chest. Now she is on a pill, a flavonoid called Rutin, three times a day, and eats a no fat prescription kibble. She seems totally cured. I have an appointment with the veterinarian in Washington on Monday, four days from today, for a follow up visit. I am hoping for a clear heart sound. In the meantime, Jelly’s behavior is totally normal. She does not act ill and never did. Dogs with this disease are usually very ill and must have surgery or they will die. We are so lucky Jelly seems to be doing so well.
In life, so much can change in the matter of one heart beat. I am very much aware of that and live in a state of suspended terror every day for the welfare of my borzoi.
My theory of how this happened is that it was a physical manifestation of her stress about losing Tresor. I am very lucky she has not died already.
Yesterday, my club, Borzoi Club of Central New Jersey, held a Supported Entry at the New Brunswick Kennel Club show at the New Jersey Convention Center in Edison, NJ. We got 22 borzoi to enter, and it included Sweepstakes classes. Many long time showing friends from the club and the nearby clubs were there, showing their new puppies. Jelly’s breeder was supposed to be there but changed her mind at the last minute and stayed home. I was disappointed to lose the chance to see her but she has invited me to come up again another day.
There were those surprise conversations one finds they are having with others at a dog show that really stand out. A woman and I, a woman whom I respect and whom I have seen so many times, actually took the time to have a brief conversation that proved to be very profound. She knew all about Tresor and his recent death. She told me she thought he was one of most spectacular borzoi she had ever seen. That was a huge complement coming from her. She works for Karen (Mikhailya’s breeder, & my litter’s co-breeder). It’s interesting how dog people in the category of peers or friends say things like that to me, but from the breeders, there is a wall of silence. Even about Magnus and Lucy. Like it never even happened. I guess that is how they feel about me a lot of the time: Oh, her, like she never even happened.
When Tresor took his last breath, the last puff of happiness left my life and it is not coming back any time soon. My Tre, My Boy, My Heart, My Love. How could you go and leave me here without you?
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 2007.
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?
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 you 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!
Portrait by Maxine Bochnia, Fandogs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.