Category Archives: Paris

Blyss Kennel: Gratitude and Reminisces, Champion Dog Tresor

I had not mentioned in any previous postings that when I placed “Tresor” in March 2011, he only needed three points to complete his Champion Dog title. This was part of the reason I always thought of him and later, wished to have him back. I always felt connected to this special borzoi and never gave up on the possibility that someday, somehow, that would be accomplished. With his sudden return in July 2015, that possibility could be realized.

However, accomplishing this title was a team effort. Two very dear and close friends (Jennifer and Roni Zucker of Raynbo Borzoi), assisted me with the work of completing his title; as did Frances Wright of Bibikov Kennels, his very talented handling instructor, Stacey LaForge-Gross, and his trainer, Nick Valentino. So, it was a group effort, not to mention the day in and day out work of caring for him, a great deal of which is done by my boyfriend, LT.

“Tresor” earned his Champion Dog title during the following events and under the following judges:

8/28/2015: Newton Kennel Club, Winner’s Dog and Best Opposite (1 point)

(Mrs. Janet Lobb)

8/29/2015: Newton Kennel Club, Winner’s Dog (1 point) (Mr. Houston Clark)

8/30/2015 Sussex Kennel Club, Winner’s Dog, & Best of Winners (2 points)

(Mr. Hal Bierman)

My special thank you goes to Mrs. Janel Lobb, Mr. Houston Clark, and Mr. Hal Bierman for recognizing the quality of my borzoi, “Tresor”.

I am overjoyed for these accomplishments for “Tresor”. Yet today, I reminisce.

I think of “Tresor”’s great dam, CD Majenkir My Ksar Mikhailovna, “Mikhailya”, whom my husband loved so much and she him. I remember how she grieved for him when he died, and had to live another two years with me and was not happy.

I remember the cruel day I had to give up “Tresor”. And then, I sent “Paris” away too.

There were so many hard things like that I had to do and do alone, over and over again. After a while, I felt nothing anymore.

Today, it is strange how so many very sad, terrible things have gone away into the past like last autumn’s leaves. I think how wonderful it would be if “Mikhailya” had lived longer to see “Tresor” return to Blyss. “Mikhailya” herself was a Champion, and I hope somewhere, somehow, she too knows her much loved son earned his Champion Dog title today. I hope somewhere else in the universe of time my husband knows “Tresor” came home in July and that he finished his title. Yet we must accept life on its terms and we shall never know. The universe is very grand and mysterious, and it is not for us to understand how it works. Therefore all of these strange and diverse things are possibilities. Most importantly of all, Tresor came home.

 

 

Blyss Tresor, a new life

Although not totally unexpected, it still came as a surprise when I got  the txt from Tresor’s family that they were returning him to me.  It was the same as it was on Christmas Eve in December 2011 when they asked if they could return Paris, who had also gone to live with them in March 2011.  Of course I said yes and  yes again.  Now my real work begins.  It will entail finding a good behavioral dog trainer, someone with certification and experience, in dealing with the issues that make Treasor a difficult dog to own, especially in the suburbs.  I am optimistic such a person can be found and although it may be a long  process, he can live a happy life with us.

I have reached out to my usual mentors, (N5, N7, N24, and N29) and each had their own insights into what I should do,  reflecting their own unique philosophies in handling borzoi.   There is no shortage of opinions here.  I will follow my own style, based on the mentor with whom I most agree in this area, whose advice was based on a trainer educated in the field of animal behavior modification and  dog training certification.   I would have hoped his affluent and very well educated human “family” would have been motivated to do this for him, but they did not.  They loved him for his looks, not realizing in the beginning how difficult an accessory an unhappy borzoi could become to live with.

 

My “Mikhailya” son, “Blyss Tresor”

I received an surprise today regarding Tresor.  He was unexpectedly returned to me.    The Boy has come home.  I am elated, levitated, stunned into serenity and bliss.  Who knows the whys and the wherefores.  It is, it just simply is.

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But my joy is sadly at the expense of another.  Those of his former home, his supposed forever home, must be so sad to have lost him.  They have had him for four years.  How can they bear it?  It is not like one of them died, as did my husband.  They are two young, beautiful, healthy adults – they have it all!   I am perplexed.

I have felt for some time he was not being kept well.  He was not being abused, but I had clear visions that he was not being exercised, or he was being crated for long periods of time while his owners both worked all day.  I envisioned that they spent less and less time with him, and he was very lonely.  I visited him about once a year, and I felt very strongly that he wanted to be with me, not them.  Last summer, I begged the wife to return him to me, but she ignored my pleas.  I did not have the strength, going through chemotherapy for breast cancer, to fight at the time.  She knew that so nothing happened.  I pined for him but told myself it was hopeless.  I resigned myself that he was lost to me.  I accepted the pain.  Now, it is ended.

Tresor is a tall order.  He is not for the feint of heart.  I will have to learn better how to handle a dog like him, and that will mean bringing in a dog trainer.  I believe his demons that create difficulties for him can be put to rest.  Mikhailya’s son.  I long for the bliss those two words engender in my soul.  Mikhailya’s son,  Tresor,  Love.

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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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Another new Blyss day,or I should be lonely because Jelly is away

Today, I woke up to a new week.   However, it has a different feel from the days of last week.  In one way, I am happier because the intense volatility of  the significant relationship in my life has settled into a pleasing point along the happiness continuum of my mind.  I am truly grateful that I am with someone  I can truly trust and love.  Also, I have some free time because Jelly is away with her co-breeder and handler, N3, about whom I have written previously.   She is handling Jelly in local area shows for me.  In mid-May, we will be traveling together to Huron, Ohio to the Borzoi Club of America’s (BCOA) Annual National Specialty Show and N3 will be handling Jelly for me there, too, in the Best of Breed class.  I will be especially proud that day to be sitting ring side knowing that it is Jelly’s turn to participate in this prestigious show.

However, I want to use this time well that Jelly is away to catch up on things that I have let slide.  It’s easy to do that when you have dogs around because their needs are so immediate.  You can say I have only one dog, Jelly, however I have been spending time with her breeder and owner of her dam, N24.  When I am at her home, I get to enjoy time with not only Jelly but Jelly’s beautiful dam, her dam’s littermate, and two six-month old very promising puppies.  Being in the company of so many beautiful, sweet borzoi imparts such joy to me.  N24 will be showing these puppies beginning this week and they will be shown at the BCOA Specialty Show in Ohio.  In addition to taking Jelly there, we will have the two puppies as well.   The litter is Futurity nominated so will be in the ring for the very first class, Tuesday afternoon.  I am so excited about going and being there it makes me breathless.

I am not endowed with sufficient funds necessary to campaign these dogs as they deserve to be.  However, the future is before me and I like to think that anything can happen and a situation can change.  Perhaps I can co-own one of these puppies, and together N24 and I can campaign them.  There might be a way.  I feel optimistic.  I feel a great swell in my heart for them whenever I see them, spend time with them or watch them play together.   My Jelly plays with them endlessly as if she were the ever-patient, all loving dam.  You do not see that much canine compassion to that degree for another bitch’s puppies, even one’s own puppies, very often.  In my own Mikhailya litter, Mikhailya was through with her puppies when she weaned them, although she always loved and recognized them.  It was our beloved Blyss Paris who took right over to raise them, and eventually be the teacher and companion Tresor so badly needed.  I see Jelly doing that with N24’s puppies, and it is a beautiful thing to watch.  N24 and I can watch the play and banter all day.  She is very lucky to have these two developing borzoi from her litter and I wish her all the best of luck for success.  I think they are both outstanding.  The photo below shows us relaxing together at her home admiring Jelly.

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A Blyss Reality Check

 

Today, Jelly’s co-breeder, N24, and I took Jelly and Jelly’s dam to see a vet  held in high esteem by serious dog breeders.  We had some questions regarding blood work that we had done at a clinic that showed Jelly was positive for Lyme and Anaplasmosis and what if anything should be done about it.   The vet had a good suggestion, additional tests (notice plural) to measure titers and antibodies, to which I consented.  I then was talked into using a different anti-flea and tick product instead of the perfectly fine one I had at home.  At the check out desk, my bill was $500.00, and I was positively stunned.  And this was for a wellness visit, for a seemingly perfectly healthy dog.  This phenomenon has so much become a problem today with pet ownership.

I am also having Jelly shown because she is worthy of it, to see if she is a candidate for a Grand Champion.  She has points toward it already.  Next weekend, she is going away with a handler, N3, whom I trust and who owns her sire.   In several more weeks, N24 and I are taking her to the annual Borzoi National Specialty show in Ohio where N3 will handle her there in the Best of Breed class.

I can hear the clinking sound of the cash register as a continuous din in my mind.   What have I done?  Moreover,  a different breeder, N27, has a bitch that is due to have a  litter any minute now, and a puppy is on reserve for me!  Then I will have two show dogs!  I have gone mad.

I am totally immersed in my love of borzoi but how to pay for it is becoming challenging.  I am almost done renovating my house but a certain person has a way of still finding work for him to do, for pay, of course.  I wonder what he would do or say if I said I cannot use him for a while, for about three months or so, while Jelly is out with her handler and the new litter is whelped.  My modest cottage has the amenities of an upscale designer home by now.  Even I know I must slow this sport of spending down.

But my  home is really Blyss Kennels, and it is all I have.  It is filled with the memories of the original Blyss borzoi who moved here with me in December 2012:  Casanova, Mikhailya, and Paris.  Now, they are gone, and I see my home as a something of a tribute to them and what Bob and I achieved, and a shrine to their lives and accomplishments.  Some photos are included here.

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I wonder why our special happiness could  not go on and on.  When suddenly in June 2013 Mikhailya passed away I was shocked.  It was unexpected, even though she was ten years old.  The loss of Casanova at eleven years of age the following year, and then Paris some time later left me totally alone in my home, something I never planned to be.  It awakened many dormant and not so dormant demons.  I cried for comfort and compassion but found little or some of dubious nature, still difficult to evaluate.  It is easy to trust a dog, their love is pure love.  You may expect the same of others, but it is not that way, and it is easy to forget it is so.  The bitterness of the betrayal when it comes goes deep, yet we never cease in our quest for that perfect love and beauty.

Relationships and I am still here at Blyss

There is much death, death impending, death far away.  But death is ubiquitous because one never knows when it will touch down.   But until it does, there are many ways to avoid it, although one of the best methods may be running in circles.

Within two years, I lost all of the original Blyss Borzoi and my husband, too.  Although I struggle hard to accept these events  I cannot do so without performing behaviors that I have been informed by physicians are harmful to myself.  It’s because my heart aches for these losses, and for all of the things for which they compensated.  But in our own ways, “we all walk the long road.”  Something got away and we keep chasing it.

In Hounds of the Steppes I write:

Eternal Hound, please, to be wherever you are!

My heart belongs to one lost long ago

Lost to the Hounds’ most open space

With blinding sun by day and dazzling stars by night…

‘Tis light, after all, a sight-hound’s true friend,

‘Twas light drove us apart…. and left me behind.

I could but stand by and watch her fly to the chase

And pray, a vision eternity cannot erase,

Having lost so much and so far the way.

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That is just one of the ways I look at all this death around me and try to understand it.  But that was then and this is now.  Now is the time to bring new things together and be future oriented.

 

 

 

 

A Blyss Kennels Line of Demarcation

Lorene, Mikhailya, Paris, Casanova at Surprise Lake
Lorene, Mikhailya, Paris, Casanova at Surprise Lake

 

The death of my last borzoi, Paris in July 2014 has brought me full circle back to 2002 when I no longer had a dog.  Looking back, I see I passed through a journey as my level of interest in matters of the world diminished as that of my interest in dogs, especially borzoi, grew.  Like all journeys, there were good days and bad, some laughs and some tragedies.  It seemed anything and everything that could happen to one person did, as if I were a character in a Greek tragedy.  Only the protagonist lived to tell the tale so perhaps my life story would qualify as a comedy.  I do not see it that way, but I will leave that differentiaton to literary critics to judge.

One day, my husband Bob and I had the opportunity to purchase a young male borzoi that, we were told, was a show dog and needed to complete his Champion Dog title.  We knew this was a stretch for us, because neither of us had ever shown a dog in conformation.  However, it was something I thought I always wanted to do so we said yes.  The breeder said it would be “fun and easy”!  We purchased “Casanova” and brought him home to live with us.  By the end of the week, we realized we needed a new house.

Blyss Kennels began that moment, but especially in September of the year 2003 when we bought our home that would serve as our kennel, too, Blyss House on the first ridge of the Watchung Mountain.  That was when we acquired more borzoi: Mikhailya, Paris and Opal, soon followed, and everything began in earnest.

And so it ended, too, abruptly in 2011 really when Bob died suddenly.  I had to downsize and although I stayed in the same town, the new Blyss House and its grounds were half the size of what it was.  However, my borzoi were old dogs by then, and over the course of the next eighteen months, one by one they passed on.  This then is the Fini, to the telling of their story.

My Blogs will not appear after this point in order that I can put them in a book format.  I hope to have this prepared by January 2015, an event that will be well publicized.  Please consult the Blysskennels.us website for updates.   At that time, I plan to begin anew, Blyss Blog Encore.  It will be interesting to see how I am doing and whether or not there is a borzoi at home.  Shall I or shall I not continue on my course with my beloved breed of dog?  There is much work that needs to be done, and many decisions I need to make.  I have no doubt, the next permutation of my Blyss Blog will be as compelling as the current one so many people have come to read, and to return and return.   I promise, no one will be disappointment.  It can be said with certainty, I have found my voice.  Thank you for taking the time to listen.