Category Archives: Original Blog

Wisdom gleaned from writers I’ve read

I came late to dogs, although I loved them passionately all my life and owned several.  When I say “I came late to dogs”, I am referring to purchasing pedigree dogs from reputable breeders, being involved with the sport of AKC conformation, and being an active member in several kinds of dog clubs.

I was fifty, a time that I saw would be “for me”, my childhood having ended precipitously in my parent’s home and adult life and responsibilities commenced soon after.  My parents took great care not to “spoil” their children, and to only “kiss them when they sleep”.  It was a childhood with virtually no memories at all, and it just blended into an adult life of harder work.  I did not complain. Yet, I dreamed of someday living as I wished, with some land well fenced so my dogs and perhaps even horses had a place to safely run.

It did not quite turn out that way, dreams never do.   With time and hard work, my life came as close to that reality as possible and I am pleased to say I have come rather close.  I established Blyss Kennels on the first ridge of the Watchung Mountains in Mountainside, NJ, near the Watchung Reservation.   Then and there, my imagination created what I lacked.  Looking back today, I see them all in a long line of beautiful borzoi, they form a crystal clear vision of beauty: Casanova, Mikhailya, Paris, Opal, and Ebony.  Then there were  Mikhailya’s three puppies, Tresor, Magnus and Zephyrus.  And then at the end after my husband’s premature death, Casanova, Mikhailya, and Paris moved with me to a much smaller house nearby.  Interestingly, I never noticed until after I moved into the house that the property next door consisted of a very large tract of land that was undeveloped and kept as a beautiful field, as if it were a part of my very own property.  I felt as if my dogs and  I had arrived home.

Almost fifteen years later, I look back upon my dogs and what I have learned.  Coming late to the table, I partake the wisdom of others and I found I have learned so much.   One good thing about belonging to so many breed clubs is you get to attend meeting and thus be among the breeders.  From there, you only have to listen, and eventually they talk about their dogs and what is happening in their kennels.  If you are patient and listen well, you find there is much you can learn.  But I read a great deal too.  Following are some of the writers who taught me a great deal.

One favorite author of mine who had the self discipline to be a prolific and detailed author about dog training and his favorite breed was Richard Wolters.  He wrote passionately about the Labrador Retriever and left the world one of the most beautiful dog books ever published, The Labrador Retriever, the history….the people.  (Los Angeles: Petersen Prints. 1981).  I have a first edition.    A reproduction of a painting of a black Labrador carrying a duck in its mouth adorns the cover, and it gets better with the turning of every page.  It is a walk through history along a different byway, through the eyes of those who love the Lab.  I am blessed to be among those people.

Another writer who was pivotal in helping me understand the sport of AKC conformation, who tied together so many seemingly disparate facts and parts of the dog listed in each breeds’ standard, so many that they seemed incomprehensible to me, and brought me to clarity was Richard Beauchamp, a great AKC judge.  I am speaking of his book, Solving the Mysteries of Breed Type (2008).  Solving the mysteries it did.  And answering that ever elusive question to me of “What is ‘Breed Type’?”  What does “typey” mean in a dog?    Or, how does a Group judge judge a group, or a Best in Show Judge select the winning dog?  The book answered those questions for me forever, or at least helped me sit ringside and understand what was happening on the other side of the ring.  Anyone who reads  Blyss Blog or Blyss Blog Encore knows that sitting ringside is something I enjoy immensely.  Richard Beauchamp is a huge part of the reason for that.  Because of him, I know what I am looking at.

A fiction writer with a different approach who was also a breeder under the affix “Sunnybank”, known for its literary famous collies, especially “Lad”, was Albert Payson Terhune or Pompton Lakes, New Jersey.  He was a prolific writer as most people know but he also wrote a great deal of letters and non-fiction.   I have the pleasure of being a member of an organization that is committed to the preservation of Sunnybank and celebrates the memory of Terhune and his collies through an annual “Gathering”.  The organization publishes a quarterly newsletter and I had the pleasure of receiving mine this week.  I was drawn to read it today.  I discovered the issue was devoted to a most important topic:  puppies.   (The Lookout, Spring/Summer 2015, p.16.)  Here is what he has written:  “…Show me a breeder who can pick them out, infallibly, at an early age; and he can name his own salary to act as consultant at my Sunnybank collie kennels.  I am safe in saying that.  For such a man is not born yet.  Or else, he died the day before I was born.  It is all a gorgeous gamble, this breeding of pedigreed dogs.  Therein lies its lure.  When our prophecies come true, it is fun to boast.  When they fail – which is oftener – silence is very golden indeed”.

So yes, I was very blessed to have known these three men, all now sadly deceased, however I had the wisdom to seek them out through their books.  I know nothing can make up for my lost decades, the childhood spent alone and lonely, isolated for inane punishments for imaginary deeds in my parents’ unhappiness together.  Much comes from the unhappiness of others, and their severities pushed me inward toward myself where my imagination created an imaginary world where a dog was my best friend.    Decades later, I would begin to live out those fantasies, and as I could, do so more and more until I found my first borzoi, Casanova, whose story is told on

http://blysskennels.us/our-dogs/casanova/index.html

Tomorrow morning I am leaving for Huron, Ohio to attend the Borzoi Club of America’s National Specialty Show.  I will be going out with Jelly’s breeder, and we will be showing her two new puppies, the male and the female, Jezebel and  Hunter, who are Jelly’s half-brother and half-sister.  They are both exquisite borzoi puppies with a great deal of promise.  They will be shown in Futurity, Sweepstakes, and Regular classes.  It will be hard work all week, ring time is 8:00 AM, and I am not a “morning person”.  But I will be all next week because of the pups and the early ring time.  There is nothing like being ringside when your own puppies are in the ring!

 

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More Blyss Reality Checks: False Friends

Nobody likes to be attacked, especially by people close to them, such as friends, family, lovers or co-workers.  And for myself, it is especially painful to be attacked over something I wrote on Byss Blog or Blyss Blog Encore because I write so honestly and make myself vulnerable.   And it is a very rare incident, happening only one other time before today.  It was by a woman who had a lovely Majenkir borzoi whom I had befriended, been very kind to and always would have always been there for her.

There seems to be no end to the permutations of friends’ malevolencies.    In my case, it began with my own mother, who could not help herself from ripping up her young.  It was sad to experience that for so long, since she only died very recently.  Yet she began a pattern that others so easily slipped into and I let them, and it never stops.

There is one thing I must always remember.  People behave badly.  They do the wrong things.  They inflict emotional pain in the process and do not care about it one bit.  It makes them feel good in so doing so they do it again.

When I enter into these relationships they are so happy and full of promise yet in a short time fighting over misunderstandings begin and emotions turn raw.  I have surrounded myself with my beautiful borzoi as a buffer and a distraction from it, as I have currently done.  I am grateful for Jelly for her love and beauty, and her breeder,N24, for her generosity of spirit toward me.  Other breeders, too numerous to mention here, have lavished me with support and kindness.  Thinking of them should be my new focus, not relationship disappointments.

I reacted strongly to my mother’s recent passing away.  It made me emotionally very ill and I foresaw my own imminent passing.  I received treatment for this condition at the time but wonder now, why – what was the point?  I should have been left to fate and perhaps died.  But people meddled and pulled me through a dark tunnel only to emerge for more of the same betrayal from weak imitations of her acts, painful nonetheless.  So as the friends whittle away in number, my grasp on Jelly and my borzoi friends strengthens and I am grateful for them.  I owe it to Jelly and my good friends in the borzoi breed to rally myself and be strong against the attacks of others who want to criticize and tear me down.

Blyss Blog Encore Officially Commences: Jelly has arrived!

After a long wait, a respectable passage of time, an appropriate period of grief, grief for the passing of all the Blyss borzoi, and much soul searching and wondering if I really could do it, I have taken possession, thanks to the generosity of a dear and long time friend, a borzoi breeder in upstate NY, of a beautiful borzoi bitch, almost five years old, to be my companion dog.   Her full name is:  Ch Kasharra Bibikov Moscova, “Jelly”.

When she was just a pup, nearly five years ago, her breeder called me and told me she had a puppy bitch that she believed would be just perfect for Blyss, and she wanted me to come and see her.   The puppy’s name was “Jelly”.    My husband said no, basing it on the amount of room we had and the number of borzoi currently living with us.  We could not take on another one and do it right, the way we both said we would want to do it.  We had avoided the temptation of impulse purchasing of borzois, crowding, not being able to afford premium dog food and top of the line veterinary care when necessary.  Having too many borzoi at once would impact that.  I had to respect his wish to say no, and it was a very sad day when I delivered that message.

I would often see Jelly at the shows.  She was truly lovely in every way.   I often wondered what it would have been like if we could have had her.  I only heard good news about her, how easily she had finished her Champion Dog title, and how much breeders and judges alike held her in such high esteem.   Recently, I spoke with two breeders who had handled her in the ring for her breeder.  She is well on her way to being a Grand Champion.  It all seemed surreal but the idea entered my mind one day to inquire regarding her to her breeder, so I gave her a call.   We spoke for a while, then I brought up the real subject of why I was calling, that being “Jelly”.  I knew she still had her, Jelly had never been sold, so I asked her if she would still want to place her with me.  I was overjoyed when she said yes.

With the health problems I had been burdened with over the last year, I wondered if I could have a dog.  I was in treatment for an eating disorder at the time this conversation took place, and I asked if I could put off taking her until after I was released.  I made being healthy enough to have a large dog a goal for my own wellness, and there were times when the idea of owning Jelly was the only reason I got out of bed in the morning, or went to a food store.  I have problems doing the most basic of things, whereas I can do difficult things with facile.  I forget to eat and sleep and get very sick as a result.  With owning Jelly as my goal I got my priorities in a healthier order.

It has been one week since I have had her.  My boyfriend, LT is back, and Jelly loves him, too.  He adores her, so we are a very happy family together.  Jelly seems to be very bonded to us, and I adore her.  She eats well and enjoys her walks.  I have even taken her to Watchung Reservation and let her run off-leash in the Scouting Field behind the old Trailside Museum.  There are two fields there, actually, with acres and acres of open land divided by a line of trees, and dogs love running in them, and they are rather safely located, away from roads.

When the warmer weather comes, I will see to it Jelly is properly introduced to all the neighbors.  Everyone in the neighborhood is expecting her.  I love her so much already.  It’s like I have gone back to the beginning.  Before there were the Blyss Borzoi, even before Opal.  It is a new start.  Jelly is a new day.  I have a new life now.  It is hard for me to believe I was ever the person I wrote about in the original Blyss Blog.

Ch Kasharra Bibikov Moskova “Jelly” at Blyss.

Ch Kasharra Bibikov Moskova "Jelly" at Blyss

Another day of wonderful news and photos of "Max" in Japan!

My time this morning is brief so will my be message.   FB is wild with accolades and photos of my Int CH BIS Majenkir O’Blyss Magnus “Max”, my “Mikhailya’s” get, and his accomplishments in Japan.  I uploaded a photo album of him in FB so

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all of my “Friends” can view it. Yesterday, I received another .jpg photo from his co-breeder, my mentor, and “Mikhailya’s” breeder, Karen Staudt-Cartabona of Majenkir borzoi, and it is posted here.  The Photo Album I put up the other night in FB is receiving many viewing and generating a lot of comments.  The new photo is attached.  This photo is of Max winning a Group I at FCI, the International dog show in Japan in April.

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From my FB album of Magnus (Max), Mai particularly likes the second photo taken at the Borzoi National Specialty in 2010 in KY.  She calls it “priceless”.  Apparently, he father was there in the crowd with me, sitting ringside, and I did not know it…..He is gone now, like Bob…….. Destiny has plans for us.