Category Archives: Rural Landscapes

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

A Poem for Blyss Keeping

A borzoi breeder I know shared this poem on Facebook this week.  I thought I would place it here for my readers to find.  It says so much so well.

I had no thought of violets of late,

The wild, shy kind that spring beneath your feet

In wistful April days, when lovers mate

And wander through the fields in raptures sweet.

The thought of violets meant florists’ shops,

And bows and pins, and perfumed papers fine;

And garish lights, and mincing little fops

And cabarets and songs, and deadening wine.

So far from sweet real things my thoughts had strayed,

I had forgot wide fields, and clear brown streams;

The perfect loveliness that God has made,—

Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams.

And now—unwittingly, you’ve made me dream

Of violets, and my soul’s forgotten gleam.

~Alice Dunbar

This is all so true of the shallow life I live without thinking until I remember what lies just beyond my back door, in the nearest field.  There abounding are every kind of “violet” and wild flower one may seek, only a step or two away off the rocky and inclining, twisting trail.

And while I am at it, let me add another I found on my own once:

Life is for the living

Death is for the dead

Let life be like music

And death a note unsaid.

~ Langston Hughes

Perhaps if death is a “note unsaid”, then death will never be.  I can say it over and over like a mantra so my borzoi Tresor and Jelly will never die.

 

Comments regarding other borzoi that can be found on Facebook

I guess I took the time and looked at most of if not all of the photos of Falca and Gala in the Facebook album of my good friend, N29.  She has a collection of photographs of her dogs in both color and   black and white.  I  have to say how moved I was by the beautiful photographs displayed there.  For me, there are three parts to the album. First,  the beauty of her borzoi, so special in their own way; second her stunning talent as a photographer; and third the surreal landscape, that being Idaho, where she lives.  It is radically different from the NE United States she knows well because it is where she grew up, in fact, only a few short miles from my house.  Sadly, although we are the same age and shared the same passions, we never met as children but only later through borzoi.

I enjoyed looking at her photos on all three levels, and felt for a while as if I was swept away to that far away place. I was consumed by wishes for what could have been in my life, such as wide open spaces where dogs can run free, compared to what is, urban scrawl and gridlock.  I wondered as I often do how it ever turned out this way when I tried so hard for it to be otherwise. Although I suffocate with loneliness in the crushing crowds, I know I should be grateful for my home and environs, meager though they are, and my two ageing borzoi, like me, walking on the trails and roads available to us, spending what is left of our days.  I so not feel at liberty to display her photographs here, but they can be found easily on Facebook by typing in their names.

A fragile mind at Blyss

I cannot say for sure why it is so, perhaps it is the stress of the upcoming holiday season combined with Tresor’s mystery neck pain and the need to spend more money in general, and the expectation to be happier than normal, but everything seems more difficult for me these days instead.  However, I am determined to overcome it all and look to the happy things that only a holiday season can bring.  Things like seeing more of everybody, gift buying and giving, and days where the word “love” is more on my lips.  For yes, I do love LT and my son so much.  Then, going over to the borzois, I could not love two borzoi any more than I love Jelly and Tresor.  All of these people and they are my world.

But what I really want for Christmas and the New Year is to fly away…..NOT to go to the Caribbean but instead  to go away to a different place to live, on a small farm in a rural area.  I want it to have a small but comfortable house, but also a small barn, a barn yard, and some fenced fields.  I want my borzois mainly, and a donkey and some goats.  This is my vision and I can’t make it go away.  It is impossible to do in New Jersey where I live.  And so, it torments me.  However, I am not going to do anything about it.  I mention it to those close to me from time to time and they do not support the idea at all.  They point out I would have to move out of state.  That would be very difficult for me to do.  So, I don’t know how I could bring this about.  For now, I am trying to keep it under the radar screen and talk and think about it as little as possible.  However, I know it is there and it pains me.  No one can create problems out of thin air the way I can.  I guess I’m “talking to angels, counting the stars, making a wish about King Kong, dancing with strangers and falling apart, waiting for Superman…”

Tresor seems to have recovered nicely from the pain in his neck for which we are very grateful.  His pain is gone and he is back to his old self, going here and there, back and forth, in the house.  He has resumed his enjoyment of his yard and deck.  But The Boy proved he still has the Fire in his Belly on a walk with me on Thanksgiving when he Lost It and got a nano-second ahead of me, broke away and gave a neighbor’s standard poodle a nip on her flank.  I ended up on the ground devastated with embarrassment, but the hero appeared to be Tresor because the person walking the poodle was with a group of friends, and they all fell in love with him!  There is no logic in this world but my solution to this suburban madness is that I will no longer walk Tresor.  Instead, my partner, LT, will walk him.   There is never a dull moment living with The Tre.  I am sure it is due to reasons such as this that his former human family returned him.

The other irregularity to occur on Thanksgiving and the days leading up to it is that the weather has been unusually balmy for this time of year and I have been able to spend a lot of  quality time outside with the borzois.  It has been fun having these stolen balmy days, like early fall instead of late fall, with temperatures well in the sixties.  Another event Thanksgiving had to give was a dramatic red sunset in the west as if the sky was aflame.  I got to see it because I happened to be out walking Jelly when it was at its peak.  These are just some of the advantages one gains by walking dogs, you never know what you will see in the sky or right in front of you, for that matter.  It was fun to see it, as if it were a sunset at Key West, or other places known for beautiful sunsets, and there it was descending in the Western sky behind the Watchung Mountains.   In the future, I am looking forward to showing Tresor again in March, at the New Brunswick Kennel Club Show in Edison NJ.  In the meantime, I keep busy working for my main borzoi breed club, and I only hope my dual roles of Show Chair and Secretary do not block me from showing him.

 

The change in the FB photo from Blyss Opal to Blyss Jelly

 

Lorene & Opal, 1 year old.With enormous difficulty, I decided to change my long running FB photo of myself with Opal to one with myself with Jelly.  I said the time was right now, that Jelly deserved that honor, not that Opal mattered less, but that Jelly was the deserving borzoi in my life now.  I want to thank my many FB friends for their kind and wise messages regarding my new cover photo and my relationship with Opal.

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I think the past ones enrich us for the ones that come later. We learn so many lessons from them, even if they leave too soon. I don’t appreciate Opal any less, it’s just that I want to cherish Jelly more – she deserves that much from me for all she gives. Some FB Friends took the time to write to me this week and shared their memories of special borzoi who had passed from their lives and how they were coping.  I appreciated their sharing that with me.  Over the years, I have been very open about what happened to me when Opal died.  Her death was a unique experience in my life that I could not accept at the time for other sad reasons.  They caused me not to be able to cope well when she died.  But in life, regardless of the level of its difficulty, we must accept it on its terms, whatever they are.  And life is very hard.  Because life is for the living, one must go on.  There is nothing else to say or do about it.

Today, because I persevered, I went on to breed the litter with our beautiful Majenkir bitch, “Mikhailya” to N-5’s CD Majenkir Regal by Design “Regal”.  That litter gave me my darling “Tresor” and N-5’s CD Majenkir Magnus O’Blyss “Magnus”/”Max”.  “Mikhailya” proved her greatness in the whelping box as well as the conformation ring.  Majenkir borzoi quality went up a rung because of her by number of the Best in Show borzoi and hunt performance titles her get and their descendants produced.

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Update regarding another Mikhailya Grand-daughter, a hunter out west

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Int JP Ch Majenkir O’Blyss Magnus, littermate to our Tresor

In my May 27th post, I wrote about a Majenkir bitch, a Mikhailya grand-puppy bitch whose name  was “Hawkeye”.   Her owner was N28, and the previous spring, her husband drove out from Wyoming where they live to pick up this puppy bitch that was out of a Magnus daughter, “Spiral”.  Today, M-5 wrote the following about this little bitch on Facebook:

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“A phone call from N28 with some very exciting news. Last year N—  drove east for a visit and picked up their Borzoi pup from the litter sired by DeJay out of Spiral.

Over the weekend Lily went to her first official Borzoi Breed Hunt with the Rocky Mountain Coursing Club. There Lily took Top Honors in a field of 13 coursing Borzoi over some of the better running dogs from all around the country. The next day was a mixed hunt where Lily came in second to a Greyhound and had the distinction of being the Last Dog Standing when other dogs went lame.

Even after all of these years of being known as a breeder of noted show dogs, I am doubly excited and proud when I receive news such as this. I never want my dogs to morph into “caricatures” of what the standard calls for to continue to win in the show ring.

Since the N——  seldom breed Borzoi, they continue to bring Majenkir dogs West where these dogs continue to win hunts and then go into the show ring where they also win! Their siblings in the show ring who never have the chance to prove themselves in the field continue to rack up show wins for Majenkir and others.”

I replied to my mentor, N5, with the following email:

“Regarding this wonderful posting on FB today, I was wondering if this was the same bitch N28 was showing at the National this year. I went over to her and her husband and introduced myself to them, as soon as I realized that their bitch was a Mikhailya grand-daughter. Is she the same bitch? She was gorgeous. She was like looking at Mikhailya’s ghost for me. Unlike many of the “Mikhailya” grand-bitches I have seen in the ring, including the National, she resembled Mikhailya so very much. Even her mannerisms in the ring were just like her. I could tell she did not love the ring, and even though she almost made the final cut, her heart did not seem to be there. She was a true field dog, and it shone through. When I asked N28 her name though she said it was “Hawk-eye”. I thought it was a strange name for such a pretty, feminine borzoi. They also said she runs very fast.”

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“Tresor” at 18 months old, photographed by Maxine Bochnia.  Littermate to “Magnus”. The get of “Mikhailya”

My mentor, N5, wrote back to me to inform me that they had taken not one, but two bitches back to Montana.  This is the second one, and her name was “Lily”, a littermate to Hawkeye.  So the two Magnus get out of Spiral, and grand-puppy bitches to Mikhailya, also proved themselves as winning hunters in the field.  It also bears mention that there are two other very notable and accomplished kennels in the Western United States that breed high-performance, winning hunting borzoi.  This year, Lily beat them in this hunt test.

I will always be grateful for my place in this large network of beautiful borzoi, especially knowing that I have made a huge contribution to its lineage through a bitch I owned, Mikhailya, and the very special puppy her breeding produced, “Magnus”.   Even though I only own his  litter-mate, he too is competitive in the ring and has outstanding breed type.  Most of all, he has my heart for his spirit and for all of his accomplishments.

I have so much to be grateful for that I should never look back in sadness for what I lost, or doubt my reasons to be happy but instead count my many blessings.   Yet, it is always frightening to feel it when it occurs, when my very foundation is shaken by some  event or other, and it feels so deceptively real to me, only to find out that I was wrong.  It is a difficult way to live except for knowing I have only to reach out and embrace Jelly and Tresor, both, for comfort and peace to be restored again.  And many more times than not, I do not have to reach far to feel the warm hand of LT catch me when I fall.

 

The feelings of joy from Blyss Tresor and the terrible news of the illness of a friend

Every day I experience the joy and gratitude of living with my beautiful borzoi, Tresor.  The knowledge of how tenuous this happiness was, and how it  does not escape me that it may never have happened humbles me.  And so every day when I care for him, I realize that these tasks are finite because some day he won’t be here anymore.  At nearly seven, I feel robbed of the four years he lived away from me.  He is so precious and dear.  I am also aware that at my age, when he passes, I may be too old to have another borzoi.  Time will tell what I will do, that judgment call is out.

I spent a few nights at the home of Jelly’s breeder, N24, and brought both Tresor and Jelly along.  We had a wonderful time.  They were both on excellent behavior there.  Tresor had to be leash walked, which went well.   However, the two dogs would not run and play in her fenced area, but only stood at the gate staring at the house to come in.   Tresor was welcomed in the house with me, but then her two bitches, both house dogs, had to be confined to her bedroom.  However, for about half the time, both Jelly and Tresor were in a massive dog pen she had in her dog grooming room which for some reason worked for them.  They were always settled down and calm when they were put in there.  They divided their time between the field where they would not run, the large dog pen, and being in the house and on a leash with me.  Tresor was a perfect gentleman.  When he met a man who was N24’s friend and another, her son, he willingly went with them on walks and allowed them to handle him.  It is obvious he goes with anyone with ease, indicative of a dog who has had many dog walkers and pet sitters.  Now that he is back with me, his care takers are primarily my boyfriend and myself.

Sometimes, illness strikes when you least expect it.  Such as my otherwise healthy 90 year old mother suddenly developing a fatal tumor and dying shortly thereafter.  Two years ago, I, too, was diagnosed with a potentially fatal illness but it was successfully treated to the best of my knowledge.   Two days ago, my beloved boyfriend suffered a sudden potentially serious illness.  It has stopped me cold in my tracks.  It reminds me of my illness and my vulnerability in it.  He makes a huge difference in my life between happiness and unhappiness, serenity and agitation, feeling safe versus feeling vulnerable.  He is a wonderful man, and I want him to stay with me forever.  I am at the point of prayers for him, even though he himself does not pray.  May God hear my prayers, or, may the Blessed Mother hear my request to intercede for his behalf to her Son for his rapid recovery, for he deserves to live and be restored to health.  It is the nature of Life to be hard and unfair, even cruel, but let him be spared the potential end result of a serious illness and be restored to health.

With all of these things in mind, especially the vulnerability of the dogs I love so much and my awareness of the ephemerality of life ~ we pass through but for a brief time ~ may life be kind to us and them and relieve our sufferings.