Category Archives: Support

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

Musings: “The Gathering”, a Collie Event in Wayne NJ; Blyss Kennels has Changes

Lorene with Rosie and Banjo, Leslie Week's collie and Sheltie
Lorene with Rosie and Banjo, Leslie Week’s collie and Sheltie taken several years ago.

Once a year, the third weekend in August, the Collie Health Foundation, of the Collie Club of America, holds The Gathering, a fund-raising event.  It takes place in Wayne, NJ, on the site of the estate of the late Alfred Payson Tehrune, called Tehrune Memorial Park.  He was the author of the Lad stories that appeared in print, serialized in magazines and as novels during the beginning of the twentieth century.  It is a wonderful preservation although sadly, the family home does not survive.   I have been to several and so I see many familiar faces when I go.

This year, the two sisters of my late husband came to New Jersey to attend it from New Hampshire where they live.  One sister brought her new dog, a Shetland Sheepdog named Dasher, with whom she is working in  Agility and Conformation.  He is a lovely youngster.   We all enjoyed our time together at The Gathering, especially enjoying seeing so many collies and collie puppies.  You could feel the congeniality of the attendees toward one another, even those meeting for the first time.  I felt so honored to be there.

It was tempting to purchase and bid on auction items, but truly, at this time of my life, the time of “collecting”, is behind me, so I successfully resisted.   But the products available to purchase and/or bid on were lovely.  When they had to depart at Noon on Sunday, leaving me there on my own alone, I must confess to feeling so lonely and sad.  I left my chair that was set up around the ring outside to sit under the tent thinking perhaps someone would talk to me there.  It was a wise move because a very kind woman looking as equally lonely and dejected as I, began talking to me right away.  I realized about an hour or two later I was feeling very tired.  It began to feel like a crushing fatigue, although I knew I had gotten less sleep than usual for the past two nights.  Why, I asked myself, was I so sad and lonely?

There were the Sunday evening ballroom dancing classes I purchased that I did not want to miss just a few hours away. And then, I thought about the hound, borzoi, or all breed point shows coming up in two weeks.  Would this crushing fatigue last until the dog shows?  It is so important that I get enough sleep, but that does not always happen regardless how disciplined I am or how hard I try.

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I feel deeply troubled  tonight.  Harsh words have been spoken and written to me by a trusted friend .  I will struggle never to refer to them again – they are the rantings of a cad after all –  but they are indelibly stamped on my soul.  I hope it made him feel better for having written them, for having thrown the last daggar.  At least that would have been achieved.  He succeeded in darkening my mind and it will take a huge effort of self discipline not to think about them anymore.

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Lorene with Leslie’s new Sheltie, “Dasher” during The Gathering this August (2016)

Lads_Grave_1

Photograph of the grave of the original “Lad” collie that lived at Sunnybank

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However, this is the wonderful time of year when the late summer dog show season  in New Jersey has arrived.  Therefore, I will let myself feel its joy.  It was one year ago exactly that having received Tresor back only a short time, he finished his Championship Dog Title  and we were all so proud and happy for him.  As always, I will turn to him for joy and comfort.  Having clearly lost the love and respect of my heretofore considered true friend who has abandoned us,  I know I have to be there all the more for Tresor and love him in fuller measure than I have already.  And I know his unconditional and special love is there all the more for me.

Tresor at Blyss
Tresor is home, 2015

 

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Opal

Strange…..   recent readers, or readers who have not read everything on the Blysskennels.us website, may not be familiar with my poem, “Opal’s Prayer”.  I wrote it when she died and became extremely depressed. I would write a new verse every year for a long time.  I would then repeat the verses over and over to myself for comfort when emotional pain or stress overcame me.  I have found myself doing just that again now.  Examples of some of the verses are:

“Dear God, Opal is yours now.  Please take care of her every day.  May we meet again, Dearest Little One!”

or,

“I’ll never forget those days, too brief though they were, When Opal was our dog…..Halcion days…..gone forever.”

as I ask God and Opal for protection from pain.

 

 

 

Recovery Alone at Blyss but with Much Help

It is very difficult to be in so much pain, especially so much so that I cannot drive and am therefore rather isolated.  However, this could be so much worse, because many people – friends – people whom I never would have thought cared – have called, come over to see me, and offered to help.  I have been very moved and touched by this, since I am more prone to the belief that I have no friends, or to focus on the bad outcomes I have had with past friends more than is necessary.  It is especially those in the Plainfield Kennel Club and individuals in the Borzoi Club of Greater New York who actually scheduled a meeting in my house, and the Borzoi Club of Central New Jersey who have shown great kindness.

Also, a long time friend, N33, whom I know from the Mountainside dog parks, has been coming over with her dog to pick up Jelly so she can enjoy her walks with them in Watchung Reservation.  Words can never express my gratitude to this woman for the kindness she has shown to Jelly.

Jelly’s breeder, N24, has great concern for the youngest borzoi in her kennel.  I want very much to go and visit, but neither my sister nor my former boyfriend will take the time to bring me there.  Also, breeders are very closed about problems with their dogs, I have observed, and perhaps she would not want me to make such a visit, or say anything about this to her.  Where I think words of support and sympathy are called for, perhaps she would find them inappropriate.  There is a saying that sums this up.  It is:  What happens in my kennel stays in my kennel.  I am not a very good follower of that adage.  I tend to want to talk about everything to everybody.  I know S24 broke my heart when she did not take me to the Borzoi National Specialty Show in Kansas City, KA in April, I have warmed toward her again and wish to comfort her if I can if her borzoi remains ill.  But I am trapped here and my voice-mail messages have gone unanswered, so in a way I am forced into silence.

I should err on the side of silence more often.  It will not be easy. Well, at least I did not write how broken up I was over the Memorial Day Weekend to spend most of it alone and in great pain.  This was what it was.  Like so many problems I have had in my life, the only solution is the inexorable passage of time and the next visit of my former boyfriend, who suddenly looks like a saint sent to me on a special mission from heaven.

 

 

Blyss Tresor: A Poem

Connolly 3 IMG_5855

Tresor Love

With the bliss that is only you, I see eternity reflected in your eyes

I wish for that forever. You arrest my love. You are its end point.

I know I will never have this again.

However between us, you are the better one. More pure

In comparison to my essence, never compromising, never selling out.

You will be the same you, every day.   And it is my job

To give you that right.

 

I notice, too, that you have grown up very well

And you make me proud. It is I who err on the side of

Self pride and vanity. That is wrong. You are the zenith

Of and transcend your species and your breed within it.

I am merely the keeper of the mundane: food and shelter,

And for perhaps more, for unconditional love, so necessary,

Perhaps you know that, too.

 

Yet you never exploit or degrade me in return

Only make me want to give more

My friends know it is you who have my heart,

And so they strayed.

You whose simple days comprise the stories of my life that matter

In the fields and cultivated park lands where we walk together

I am sure to write it down.

For the record…… and get it right.

I only wish I could lose the leash and let you run free

Like you did when you were a puppy.

But today I know you would not return.

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.

Dealing with the many distractions at Blyss

Tresor at Blyss

 

Although there are many advantages to belonging to supportive communities, such as church, neighbors, friends, family, dog clubs, and so on, I have to take great care to structure my time carefully or too much time is taken away from home at Blyss with my borzoi.   When I think about it, I still cannot believe I have two borzoi, Jelly and Tresor.  Eight months ago, I had none.  So, the quality of my life has exponentially improved a great deal due to them, and I must not give them short shrift.  In the total scheme of things, they are of primary importance.  Perhaps others would not agree, or would not feel the same way about their pets.  However, for me, that is how it is.  It is important to know oneself, to know what one values most and give those things that one values most highly the consideration they deserve.

There is a concentration of more social gatherings than I would like on my calendar this week, including a cluster of two important ones on Sunday, but they all have merit.   Although they leave me torn, I know that if I neglect my social connections, I do so at the risk of losing the few friends I have.   Coming up first on Thursday, October 1, 2015, is the Morris & Essex Kennel Club show, and Tresor is entered.  Jelly’s breeder, N24, will be here the evening prior.  I have a delicious dinner planned.  We are not in the ring until 2:00 PM in the afternoon, so we have a lot of time to socialize, eat, bathe the borzoi in the morning, and just unwind and have some fun.  My boyfriend will be showing her puppy bitch and Tresor .  He was fortunate to be able to have some handling classes by an incredible instructor, who happens to be a member of the Morris & Essex Kennel Club.  He is a natural athlete with nerves of steel, and I believe he will do just fine.  As the date is rapidly approaching, I feel the stress building.  I do not have his nerves of steel, acquired over years of competing in athletic sports throughout his school years.

I will work harder at staying more focused next week and not let myself be torn in so many diverging directions.

Portrait of Jelly Maxine Bochnia
Portrait of Jelly
Maxine Bochnia

The Line that Connects Blyss Opal and Blyss Jelly, Nearly A Decade

During my ever wandering mind, I’ve been doing much gardening these days.  However, I do have a landscaper who just put down my mulch and planted a nice line of rhododendron and hydrangeas for me along the driveway. They have pink blossoms and look gorgeous, the kind of blossoms you wish would last all summer. It seems he planted them before we started to get a lot of rain so I am grateful for it. I do have to follow up with watering though if the rain stops.  I also planted in the front of my house beneath a bay window a rounded curve of impatiens and they look very lovely. That was my contribution to the project.

When I look out my window and see them, they remind me of the landscaping I had at the original Blyss house where there were many of those kinds of plantings.  I miss them, as I do the stately, ponderous pines.  There is much that I miss here, but I do have little bits of it scattered around here and there to remind me.

They are also there in great abundance in the Watchung Reservation.  I took Jelly for a rather long walk there yesterday, just her and me.  It was toward the western section of the forest, into what was known as “The Pine Forest”.  Unfortunately, what was a pine forest in my childhood of many decades ago is now gone, and I could scarcely find the abundance of pines that once comprised it.  The trail through it abruptly ends at a small stream that is easy to hop across.  It is not Blue Brook.  That lies ahead.  We, both hound and myself, were very excited with palpitating hearts.

Unlike many of my friends, I do not play golf or tennis but surely wish that I did. They must be very nice sports to know to know how to play for social reasons.  They are much better passions or interests than dogs.  Dogs are more arcane. I know I envy people who are more mainstream, the country-cub or marina type, but mainstream never happened in my life. However, I am accomplished in other ways.  I am just not very athletic except for gardening, swimming and ballroom dancing. I do yoga out of necessity, not love.  My greatest thrills come from being with my friends who have dogs and horses, being in their company, listening to them talk, and engaging them in conversation.  From that springs many dreams of hope: hopes for things that lie ahead – dreams for the future – the borzoi who will be the new hounds of Blyss Kennels – ten years from now!

In May, I spent a week in Huron, Ohio at the Borzoi Club of America’s Borzoi National Specialty show.  I felt as if I were in another world, and I truly was. I sat ringside over the course of the week. During that time, I saw two bitches who were grand-daughters to my lovely “Mikhailya”. I was sad by the first one, she looked nothing like her, there was nothing of her there. A few days later, on the final day, Saturday, there was a gorgeous bitch in the ring that was another grand-daughter, and she was like a clone of Mikhailya, so there it was! The genes came down and expressed themselves. She even had Mikhailha’s mannerisms in the ring, and they were more “faults” than “qualities”! I felt like taking her in again and correcting her for being so naughty for her owner.  Being back home, I wish I could have a second one, a male, but truly I know I cannot. My one female Jelly is best for me, and I am wise to keep that foremost in my mind.

I see my life defined by the passing through addresses along a circuitous path and their respective husbands nonetheless I have ended up here alone at the final destination. Yet I am not truly, completely alone or a failure because of my beautiful borzoi. They saved me once, especially ten years ago through the infinitely beautiful gift of Opal’s love, and today that of Jelly’s. Although I shall never quite feel it is okay that Opal died, how and when she died or ever, I feel all is well with me today, even if things are not. But for others, for those who may read, I encourage the achievement of greater accomplishments and higher goals in order to be better buffered by the vagaries of life’s unforeseen disappointments.  For I recognize my upbringing was deeply flawed, and I arrived at my adulthood unprepared for what would lie ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spring Specialty Borzoi Shows of NJ, NY, PA and DE

Starting on Thursday April 30 through Sunday May 3, 2015 were the following specialty dog shows:

  1. The Central New Jersey Hound Club (CNJHC)
  2. The Borzoi Club of Greater New York (BCGNY)
  3. The Bucks County Kennel Club Dog Show (Supported Entry by the BCGNY)
  4. Boroi Club of Delaware Valley (BCDV) held with Trenton Kennel Club Dog Show

I could be found sitting ringside once again.  There was much to see and many to whom to speak.  Many of us had a great deal to catch up on.  For my new breeder, Jelly’s breeder, N24, there were her two new puppies to showcase.  They could not have been lovelier and showed themselves well.  On Friday, the puppy bitch won Best Puppy in Specialty, BCGNY, her club, about which she could not have been more proud.  She came close again on Sunday at BCDV but did not make it.  Next week, we travel 800 miles to Huron, Ohio to attend the Borzoi National Specialty Show.  We believe our puppies have a chance.  They are entered in Futurity, Sweepstakes and regular classes.

It’s amazing how something I wanted so much as this has actually come to pass in my life, bringing me much joy.  There may be negativity associated with these activities, such as unhappy, meddling people, however I simply push them out of my mind.  I’ve become better at doing this.  I know my future mental health depends on my ability to do this.  I have to concentrate on the blessings my life has and ignore what has gone wrong, other than to learn from it.

Three most amazing gifts that have entered my life recently, and that is a huge number for anyone.  I am overwhelmed with appreciation and gratitude.  There is N24 and the other friends I have made in the borzoi breed, my boyfriend’s love and respect, and my own borzoi, Jelly.  There was a time not so long ago when one or more of these were absent and I have a clear memory of the difference from today.  Today is a day of being happy and expressing gratitude for it.

Bparty10Jelly and her littermate, Gisselle, celebrating their fifth birthday together recently with Lorene and friends

Although Jelly celebrated her fifth birthday recently, it is she who is the gift of love to me, everyday.

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