Category Archives: Borzoi

Blyss Magnus – Max

Lately, the name of Magnus, the dog I bred but who was sold by Karen Staudt-Cartabona   to Belisarius Kennels in Japan and became known in Asia as Max, has been coming up almost constantly.  It began almost immediately, when she used him at stud on a bitch, Majenkir  Spiral in a Circle.  Through that breeding, many get were born.  Kind owners who were local called me to let me know, many inviting me to their houses for lunch to meet my grand-dogs!  Later, I began seeing their names in show Catalogues, including at every National I attended for many years.  Then, local area friends informed me that their puppies were direct descendants of Magnus.  It was always amazing to me.

Later, when he was in Japan, we learned about Lucy, the most famous of all his get, about which so much has been written here and so much is shown on the Blyss Kennels website.  For, she was sent to the USA to have a most brilliant show career of two years duration, breaking every borzoi breed record in history, including Reserve Best of Breed at Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2016.  How blessed we were.

This week, I innocently posted a photo of myself with Jelly doing something together, and a man from Thailand wrote to me letting me know he, too, has a descendent of the great Max!  He bought him from a breeder in Russia.  It appears there are descendants of Magnus/Max, and therefore, our beloved Mikhailya, his dam, all over the world now.

I came across this old email in my Sent messages and thought I would share it on Blyss Blog.  It captures what is truly in my heart, unedited, raw and true, in a letter to Karen.  I wisely blind copied it to myself, thereby saving it, only to be found over two years later by accident.   It brought tears to my eyes as I read it.

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RE:  Sighthound Review, Summer Issue, 2017

From:  Lorene Connolly <lorenecon@gmail.com>

Date:  Aug 14, 2017, 6:01 PM

To Karen, bcc: me

Dear Karen,

I received my summer issue of Sighthound Review today and took a minute to sit down and skim through it quickly while my borzois ate their dinner. I am so thrilled to see your nearly two page ad, especially the page outlining the remarkable Majenkir wins in Spring of 2017. I believe you wrote this up in Facebook, too, but I am especially happy you put it in Sighthound Review. It makes a great ad. Thank you for the mention of Regal and Magnus, and Magnus as the sire of Lucy, and her mention.

I will never forget the moment I first saw Magnus….. he had just been delivered by Caesarian and cleaned up, and the vet tech came out to show him to me. Upon seeing him, I knew then he was destined for greatness. I never wavered in that belief. I do remember writing to you in an email later that day and saying that. You must have thought, what does she know! Truly, I knew it. He was special at birth and has remained so throughout his life. I am so glad he was to be your dog, since you would know what to do with a great borzoi like that, and we never would have had the resources to give him what he deserved. He should not have languished his life in the suburbs as a pet. That’s fine for Tresor, who only needs love and care to be happy, but it would not have been right for him. I am so glad he turned out to be one of your great borzoi.

I feel blessed and honored to know you, and that together I helped you achieve a remarkable milestone in the borzoi annals of success.

Love,

Lorene

 

 

 

“I will by you a new life.” Everclear. In rock song lyrics, not Blyss.

I returned to the workplace full time on Tuesday, September 4, 2018, after working part time for one year, moving to a different retail store.   I was surprised to  have the position offered to me.  Sadly, I needed the money as well as more things to fill my time.   I was tired of having open ended unstructured days trying to navigate life as a widow very much held down by the responsibilities of keeping borzois and the upkeep of a home in an area of the country with a high cost of living.

For good news, it appears Jelly’s condition of chylothorax has disappeared.  I thought  it was always fatal.  There was no mistake in the diagnosis.  Her chest was tapped twice, with a considerable amount of fluid extracted.  Although it is perplexing , it is joyful to know she is well.

I have to stay focused on the blessings life has tossed my way, the ability to pay my bills, and the health of Jelly.  Her breeder and I are even discussing the possibility of showing her as a Veteran at the upcoming Borzoi Club of America National Specialty Show in May.  She finished her championship as a puppy, and this would crown her life.

Life goes along in these twisted, bizarre ways.  The return of Jelly’s health may portend to return her to the show ring where she began.  This would be her personal victory over death.  Many people would be happy for her, and I think for her breeder and me, too.  It would be a very happy ending to the story of Blyss Kennels, a story that began with the dramatic death of a precious puppy bitch, followed by that of my husband, leaving me alone and confused not knowing where to turn.  I would hope I brought it to the right place; a place with happy beautiful dogs and my life where it belongs.

A Pre-summer Sunday at Blyss Kennels

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.

Lucy’s Farewell

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.

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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……”

 

The many ways that dogs (borzois) move on

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.

Thinking about the things that be for Blyss Kennels without The Tre

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?

A Blyss missive

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.

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I hope you are doing well.  I wanted to acknowledge that I received your voicemail.  Thank you for reaching out to me.  Like yourself, my heart is broken.  Tresor was from the only litter I will ever get to breed.  He was a rare, unique dog for me, one I will love forever and always grieve for.  Sadly, their time with us is brief so when they go they take our broken hearts with them.  Let’s try to find joy in the borzoi they have left behind.
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A few weeks ago, I sent a note to a very prominent man in the breed, the former Governor of Region I, Borzoi Club of America, and told him I had lost Tresor.  He is now the new President of the Borzoi Club of America.  He took the time out to write back to me.  The correspondence follows.

12/14/2017

To R—-,

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.

Kind regards

Lorene

 

12/15/17

To me,

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Blyss in black; He is gone.

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.

A Long Blyss Hiatus

Feeling so much like a stranger in my own mind, not really knowing how to handle the high barres I have set for myself with the inner voice command, “You will do this!” I have been challenged to the point of exhaustion from running away from myself and everything except Jelly and Tresor.  I have embraced them closer to my heart than ever, they mean so much more now. When I look around me, I see that Tresor and Jelly are all that remain.  And yet, their coming to me was the result of so random and haphazard events that collided for a moment in time with me, for each one separately.

It is autumn again, and in autumn, I seem to have reasons to go to the veterinarian to take care of problems.  This time, poor Tre was sprayed by a skunk in the yard, followed by a physical encounter with another creature  that bit his leg so badly that it required a veterinary visit.  So we have been off to Washington, NJ a few times now, and still have one more trip to make.

Tre is still who he his, full of great male pride and fire!  I thought I could walk him myself again, and bought a prong collar.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  The prongs did not stop him from dragging me across the street to have a fence fight with the neighbor’s Golden Retriever, a youngster who has a fire in him as well.  He had to be dragged off the fence by his owner before I was able to regain control over Tresor again.  So, it was back across the street and into the house before I broke another bone.

Sadly, whomever I find to help me with Tresor, with walks, dog sitting and general help whom I can trust, either disappears, moves, gets sick, whatever; they go away.  I always take these losses hard, knowing how they impact Tre.   None of the losses is worse than the recent loss of LT who made a sweeping exit with a major hissy fit.  Aside from destroying me, but what am I, he knows this hurts Tresor the most because he loves him.   My Boy.  I look at borzoi photos on FB all day, and see pictures of happy borzoi running in big fenced yards, or free in fields or meadows, and my heart breaks for all the shortcomings my life attained.  Yes, I fall short.   And, there are the other people in my life, they just turn their backs for seemingly no real reason and walk away in rage….. this is a pattern that mystifies me.   Then there are the ones that stay……  they  contract fatal diseases and die.  As I write today, that is happening now with a wonderful man who has been Tresor’s most recent steady friend and a truly good person we know.  I am truly devastated about him.

Not to be overly sad and negative, I have tried to find my strength amidst all of these travails.  I identified an unusual idea that I thought would be good for me, regarding an employment opportunity, and I followed up on it.  It turns out that I now work part time at a local department store.  This has really been a huge help for me.  It puts something else in the forefront of my thoughts, something that attests to my strength, diverting me from my pain.  I am still active in my dog clubs and attend their meetings, programs, and shows, and I still serve on the boards where I have those responsibilities.  However, I have a new world that I have entered, one that demands making new social relationships, and addresses my financial shortfalls, since owning two borzois on a retirement income is not easy.

More about this later……     My new pattern of absences from home has been noticed by a certain borzoi…. and he has let his disapproval be known perfectly clearly!

Mature Tresor

The September Specialty 2017 Shows

Today,  September 7, 2017,  I enjoyed seeing my borzoi breed friends & mentor at the Central NJ Hound Assn Show in Bridgewater NJ. Much fun getting caught up, & esp enjoyed the borzois of all ages. So many new puppies! And other puppies are becoming so grown up!

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On Saturday, Sept 9, same show grounds, North Branch Park, is the Borzoi Club of Central NJ Specialty show! Planning to enjoy a great Specialty! More members & borzoi than ever.

Best of Breed was awarded to a Boy nearly still a pup, and one that I had the joy of watching grow up, since he is a nephew of my Jelly and I was previous welcome to visit (but no more…..), the stunning young Majenkir line dog, Bibikov You Know My Name, “Hunter”, owned by N24, sired by one of N5’s stunning stud dogs.  I went over to congratulate N24, but when I did, Hunter jumped out of his skin, standing up on two legs and reared, placing his front paws on my shoulders with great enthusiasm – and I let him.  I hugged and kissed him, and told him what a good boy he was and how much I loved him.  He was so happy to see me.  What can I say…..   Animals are so true, so pure……  they either like you or they don’t, they don’t have artifice about it.  I was so happy for him that I stayed to watch him in the Group, but unfortunately, he did not make the cut.  But it was a joy to sit ringside and see him in what will be his first of many Group classes.  Hunter has a great show career ahead of him.  He defeated many specials in the Best of Breed ring that day, and I was overjoyed for him.