Blyss Kennels at Fourth of July 2017

Only I could arrive here, safely and alone with Tresor and Jelly besides me in this house, as if navigating our own small ship, on the eve of the Fourth of July. Although in my mind’s eye, I imagine myself with them bobbing on gentle waves riding along the NJ coastal shore in the Atlantic ocean.  I reminisce, it is a delightful time to be in Mountainside.  It creates the most enchanting illusion that it is about one-hundred years earlier, when there were not so many houses built along the side of this mountain, the first ridge of the Watchung Mountain range.  With heavily wooded lots replete with lumbering shade trees, and deer appearing here and there as if they were pets, one can easily drive by a house and not see it.

My walks with Jelly have been telling.  You have to pay attention.  She enjoys walking in the field behind the Catholic Church across the street.  This is the exact site where I had my accident walking Tresor last year after he saw a ground hog.  Jelly does not run around much, but she looks for squirrels and rabbits.  One evening, at a distance away, I saw  pair of frolicking fawns, their tiny bodies still covered with white spots.  The doe appeared a minute or two later.  We both froze and watched them.  When they were out of sight, we continued our walk.  Later, on the Rectory lawn, we saw two large young bucks enjoying the nearby foliage.  Then I saw the special little blinking; fire flys!  I was transported back decades in the split of a second.  It was a beautiful night.  I let Jelly off leash.  She wanted to stalk a rabbit.  She did her thing.  She is no hunter.  The rabbit got away onto a neighbor’s lawn.  She followed it there.  I called her, and she took her very sweet time coming back to me. She was a brat. For that, I put her on the leash!  But overall, Jelly is such a good companion dog.

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Reading Facebook this week, I saw more news of the great show bitch, “Lucy”.  She is the grand-daughter of our Majenkir bitch, “Mikhailya”, who left this world four years ago on June 13th.   “Lucy”  won her twentieth Best in Show, and a wonderful photograph was posted of her.

Lucy & Valerie Nunes-Atkinson #20 BIS

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For my own reasons, valid and not, my heart breaks for being here alone except for my dogs.  I am not that kind of person who is solitary very well.  I long for interaction, dialog, having things to look forward to doing with someone.    I put a lot into my relationships, and they are all gone, many to death.  Many people in my life have died, and I am only in my mid-sixties.  That rather shocks me.

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My beautiful borzois inspire me to be more than I am, for I know they need me and I must be at my best for them.  I run my hand through their beautiful white coats and embrace them to my heart!  Jelly!  Tresor!

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It was almost two years ago today that Tresor was returned to me by his family who owned him for four years.  I do not like to think of those years without him.  But, once he was returned, it was like he never was gone at all.  We picked up our relationship as if we just saw each other the day before.   I consider Tresor a gift and a blessing in my life.

Tresor in his youth

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Finally, it was around the Fourth of July in 2006 that Blyss Kennels endured its first tragedy and loss, the death of Opal at nineteen months of age.  My grief for her was lengthy and profound.  I became shockingly ill, but I could not control how it made me feel.  Today, looking back on it, I don’t know how I survived the experience.  I had to learn how to be well again and find new ways to be happy.  Life had let me down, after all.

Today, I try to remember Opal with joy in my heart.  I had the best borzoi I ever could have had.  She made me extremely happy;  she just could not stay with me very long.  However, I am still very lonely and unhappy without her!  I beg God to please unite us sometime soon.  I want to touch her exquisitely beautiful borzoi face again, and run my fingers through her silky, white coat.  She glowed and sparkled in the sun!  Her body had stunning sighthound curves that made her look so graceful.  I have never seen a creature like her before or since.

Opal wins her first Class!
Bucks County KC Show

I still love her so much.  And when I think of her, I think of the words of that gorgeous Pearl Jam song, “Come Back”

Then, there were my own feeble words, Opal’s Prayer:

Unable to deny His request to take her, Opal lives in heaven now.

How?  Why?  Thy will be done.  Dear God,  Opal is yours now!

Please take care of her every day.

May we meet again, Dearest Little One!

 

Gardens of Blyss Kennels

Since returning home from the Borzoi Club of America’s National Specialty Show in Hunt Valley, Maryland one month ago, I have undertaken a vigorous project in which I expended enormous amounts of energy and no small amount of money, to create flower beds for gardens here at my new home, the new Blyss Kennels site.  Since moving in five years ago, I left this in the hands of my landscaper but whatever he planted has died.  It was mostly flowering bushes.  I came to realize my soil needed to be enriched.  There are two flower beds in question.  One runs along the driveway in the front of the house, and the other runs along the fence line in the back yard.  Both are very long, about 65 feet.  I found an excellent supplier nearby that sold all kinds of soil products , enrichments, and mulches.  They also sold masonry stones in a full range of styles, sizes and shapes.  Somehow, my tiny frame, with the help of a new hand truck, managed to remove several forty pound bags of soil and fertilizer  products each from the back of my SUV into the back and/or front gardens where they were needed.  Also for the new garden in the back yard along the fence line,  I wanted a paver block border.  I required 70 paver stones.  For this job, however, I was assisted by a highly skilled mason who will remain unnamed.  There was no question I was in over my head with that one.  The gentleman stepped in like Deus ex machina, and voila, it was done.  It was my hope and prayer, at least for the back yard garden, that the borzois would respect it and leave the flowers alone.  So far they have.

The plantings have consisted of impatiens, dahlias, daisies, lilies, and some lavender.  I also have a supply of bulbs to be planted in the fall.  I am planning to add calla lilies and irises.   I am doing the back breaking work now for the splendid results I hope to see next spring.   I may even try my hand at planting the flowering shrubbery my landscaper planted that died, hoping that this time they will live.

All of this was undertaken to take my mind off of my serious case of loneliness and resignation to its fate for my life.  I am helpless to  change it, and my efforts to do so have been pathetic, degrading, and leave me feeling worse.  My own sister is not speaking to me.  Having recently been accused of reminding her of an odious dead family member, and of not having “family values”, as if being a widow was my choice,  she is off the hook for being expected to invite me to her summer home this year.  She believes the “Women’s Movement” has been a failure, and has “hurt women”, and she lets me know it because she knows these are ideas I do not share with her.  She accuses me of living in a bubble, but really, my hands are those that touch dirt or remove mats from dogs’ coats, and I never get manicures or face lifts like she does.  I am happy being retired – very happy, in fact because I know how to live with less and she cannot, and she cannot abide that, either.  I am grateful to my son for being on my side.  A total of one!  He and I went out for lunch last week in NY City to a French restaurant in the West Village called Buvette, and I loved it.  I took an order of Tarte Tatin home for dessert.  It was to die for.

So, it is still officially Spring.  Today is the last day of Spring.  It has been a good season.  I went to the Borzoi National Specialty, and my sister-in-law accompanied me.  We had a wonderful time there together.  Then, I came home and set to work making gardens where there were none, or none that bore fruit.  I am disappointed that my landscaper had not advised me better about the condition of my soil, and I am disappointed in myself for taking so long to figure it out.  Next year, I will add more.  That’s how it’s done.  Every year, you add more strength and vigor to the beds, as we do to ourselves and the dogs.  Add what is good for us, for the borzois, and the flowers, too.

 

 

Home from the Borzoi National Specialty Show in Hunt Valley, MD

Last week, from May 13 – 20, 2017, the Borzoi Club of America held its National Specialty Show in Hunt Valley Maryland.  I attended with my late husband’s sister, N35,  on Friday and Saturday, May 19 – 20, allowing me to see some of the bitches judged, and Best of Breed on Saturday.  It was a wonderful experience to be there and my only regret was not being able to be there all week.   I simply did not have reliable dog help here at home during those days.

To say it was exciting would be an understatement.  One very positive result was that I got to spend a lot of time with May Ozeki Hirai and her husband, of Belisarius Kennels, who were there together showing the great Belisarius “Vinto”, “Mikhailya’s” great-grandson, who won Winner’s Dog at last year’s National.  He is a Grand Champion now and was to be shown in Best of Breed.

Vinto

Since I was not at the National last year in Kansas City, KA, I felt it was very important for me to be there this year.  I had a wonderful time, even though Vinto did not make it into the final cut.

The winner was the bitch, Grand Champion, Champion Dog Majenkir Bookstore Glamour Vintage, owned by the two “Karens”,  N5 and N36,  of the NJ Borzoi Club.  It goes without saying they were elated and exuded charm and graciousness to all whom they met.  N37 had handled the bitch to perfection; there is a special magic between them, since she had lived with him and he handled her during her younger years, from puppy classes through being a special at five years of age.  The win was a beautiful thing to watch.  Together, they were very deserving.  I am so pleased to have been there.

Saturday night there was a banquet.  We had the pleasure of sitting at the same table with them and another couple from the NJ Club.  It was wonderful to be in such joyful company and it greatly elevated my mood.  I noticed on the table, there was an amazing object for a centerpiece.  It is difficult to describe.  It appeared to be a combination quilt and wreath,  made of cloth, and sewn into a very intricate pattern.  At the end, there was a little game given from the podium that determined who at the table would win it.  As it turned out, my sister-in-law won it, and she immediately turned it over to me.  It made a perfect ending to a perfect National Specialty for me.  Of course, an hour later, in bed, when I was trying to go to sleep, I found it impossible to do so because I was so awakened by all of these exciting events.  Sadly, I had to resort to a sleeping pill, which is never a good idea for me especially when I have to get up so early and be on the road.  My poor sister-in-law needed to go as far away as New Hampshire before she would be home.  She had to drive me home since I could not from lack of sleep.

Driving home, I felt so sad my husband had not been there with me to see the great-grand son of his beloved “Mikhailya”, and to have been able to meet Mai and her husband.  Mai invited me to see her in Japan, where she assured me explicitly my beloved “Magnus” still lives.  I had feared he had died, since I have heard nothing of him for several years.  She assured me he was very well, and I should come to visit.  This is something that comforted me enormously; it was an answer to prayers that I dared not speak.  My Boy, My Magnus lives!  He was the most dear and special one of the litter!  He proved the depth of quality of his dam, “Mikhailya” in every way.  I love him passionately.  He has made me so proud because I know Mai loves and appreciates him so much.  What can I say……   so much happiness has come from one breeding for so many people…..  I thank N5 so much for letting it happen.

Magnus with N5 and Lorene, his breeders

The Spring Borzoi Shows; Dog Shows, Show Dogs and Borzoi; Blyss Borzoi Reminisces

Like so many Mays before, this is the time for the borzoi  clubs in the area to hold their specialty shows.  This is also the first weekend that there are dog shows held outdoors.  It gives me a good reason to get away from home, even if they are a long distance away and the weather is not predicted to be its best.  Nothing can really take away the excitement of being in Tinicum Park in Erwinna, PA, when it is full of dogs and their exhibitors.  It brings back many memories for me, including one of showing Opal when she was a puppy.  She even won her class!

I used to find out in advance when this show was held years before we had our borzoi and   I even knew Bob by finding the dog show schedules published in Dog World Magazine, (I did not know about the AKC Gazette then).   I would set out by myself when I was in my thirties to attend this show, that being the Bucks County Kennel Club Show.  I also attended the Hunterdon County Kennel Club Show held on the Flemington Fair Grounds off Rt. 31, NJ.   That has long since been sold and paved over and the dog show moved to a sight off Rt. 29 in Ringos nearby.  But the Bucks County Kennel Club Show remains where it has traditionally been held.

I knew that all the doors into the dog show ring were closed to me.  There was no obvious way to me how one got from one side of the ring (outside) to the other side of the ring (inside).    You knew your place by some unwritten text, and you followed it.  Everyone was always very nice and smiled at you as they walked their dogs to and fro but you knew you were always an observer, as if you were at the theater watching a well performed play.  I always bought a catalog, which helped it make more sense to me, being so rich in information as it was.   Still, I was a single, working girl, and had no time or means to buy a show dog, nor would I know what to do with it if I had the wits to even buy one.   Eventually, I began to feel acutely lonely at dog shows and stopped going as often.    I married Bob in 2000 and he had no interest in acquiring a show dog whatsoever.  However, in 2002,  we were offered an opportunity to enter the dog show world with a male borzoi named Casanova.  His breeder, N-23, was looking for a show home for him.  Without even thinking, we said yes.  That was how it happened.

It was then I learned that a person is sponsored or invited to join breed clubs.  It is usually by the breeder of the first show dog you acquire.  That is how we were able to participate in dog shows; it was through the kindness and generosity of “Casanova’s” breeder helping us to become members of the Borzoi Club of Central New Jersey, a membership that I hold to this day, and I consider a great honor.  That is how a person meets breeders with whom to make friends and purchases high quality show dogs to get started.  We did it that way and it brought us great joy.  We achieved many wonderful accomplishments from our endeavors.  It was more challenging and expensive than we thought, and it included a heartbreaking tragedy, but we never would have turned that opportunity down.     My only regret is all the years I lost by not knowing how to break into the dog show world sooner.  I probably would not have had a borzoi, but a terrier breed.  I adored terriers but our opportunity came with a borzoi.  My husband did not care for terriers, so I did not look back.  I became enchanted with borzoi then, as was he, and now I cannot imagine having any other breed of dog.

Mikhailya and Opal Ringside, January 2008

We were a happy family.  The story of our kennel and how it grew is on the Blyss Kennels website (www.blysskennels.us) for all to enjoy.   My only regret is losing Opal from a devastating illness as a youngster.  Also, there were challenges and problems raising Tresor”, our pick puppy from our only home bred litter.  However, his littermate, “Magnus”, made up for that.  He was taken as pick puppy by the co-breeder, N-5, and he turned out to be one of the best international show-dogs and producers in many, many years.   She sold him to Belisarius Kennels in Japan, he went on to sire the magnificent all-time show-bitch, “Lucy” of whom we are all proud.  And our  “Mikhailya” was the bitch who started it all:

Mikhailya Portrait
Maxine Bochnia

 

Lucy: Head Study

“Lucy”,  the grand-daughter of our bitch, “Mikhailha”, and “Tresor’s” niece, went on to become one of the greatest show borzoi ever in history in 2016 – 2017.  She won Best of Breed twice at Westminster; in 2016 she won Reserve Best in Show at Westminster; in 2016  in April she won the Borzoi National Specialty Show; and in 2017 she won the Breed again at Westminster and Group 4 in Hounds; but became the Number 1 Hound in America, a first time achievement for a borzoi.  In a few weeks, she will be entered in the Borzoi Club of America National Specialty Show for the second time.  She won the show last year.  It would be so exciting to see her win again.

Although some things do not always work out as you plan, and that is very difficult to accept, other things happen that are beyond your wildest imaginings.   One may receive the worst of heartaches but the greatest of joys by loving dogs and having a show kennel.

Dogs in Review Cover Photo
Number 1 Photo

However, nothing was worse than losing Bob suddenly in 2011.  It required me to sell our special house that we had that was so perfect for our borzoi, and I had to place Tresor in a loving home.  In 2012, I downsized in a comfotable home nearby with Mikhailya, Casanova and Paris.   Much has been written about this on the Blog and the website.   One by one, my beautiful borzoi succumbed to old age and died.  However, in February 2015, I bought a beautiful retired show bitch, “Jelly”, from a dear friend, the breeder, N-24.

Portrait of Jelly
Maxine Bochnia

Then unexpectedly, five months later, “Tresor” came home to me, after four years of living with another family.  By getting him back, I felt blessed and vindicated for so much that had gone wrong in my life.  Having him back was like being given a great gift.  I was so happy I had a house of my own, with a well fenced back yard to offer him.  I felt I made up to him something I had taken away – my presence and my love.  It was inconceivable to me that I had placed him.  Fate left me with no choice.  I was and still am very grateful to his family that had him for four years and cared for him so well, but even more grateful that he is back home with me and he is mine.

A great deal of what I have written today is looking back.  I don’t know what made me do this today, and perhaps it is not a good idea to do it as much as I do.  I am often told to look ahead.  There are many things I do not like to reminisce about.  However, when I look back on my dogs: their lives, their stories, my life with them, their spirits that feel so alive here with me, I feel as if I am sharing a contemporary story.  For me, it is a story rich in memory and I cannot escape it, for it envelopes me. I miss them all so much, every day.  By reminiscing about them, I feel their spirits close to me, as they were when they were alive!  It is the thing that gives me the strength, that kind of strength I need that is so basic  It is the strength that enables me to get out of my bed in the morning, to put one foot in front of the other, and have enough energy to get me thorough the whole day ahead as I am alone…..except that they – Jelly and Tresor –  and even all the others that went before – are there!

tresor’s Portrait

A Walk near Blyss that brought me joy

With the apparent arrival of spring throughout the town and its magnificent surroundings, that being Mountainside, Summit and the Watchung Reservation in particular, I ventured about outdoors to experience it firsthand while it was still fresh in its glory.  Starting with the Watchung Reservation, it was magnificent to see the leaves out their first day after being buds.  Then, there were the flowering bushes and trees everywhere I drove about: azelia, Bartlett pear, and magnolias.  And then there were the flowers, both wild and cultivated, and I cannot say enough about them.  At a club luncheon with friends on Thursday, a women recommended taking the time to stop and see the field of daffodils at the Reeds Arboretum in Summit, a place I drive by all the time.  I realized  how foolish I was never to stop and sit for a while, so I made it a point to later that very day.  As that silly saying goes, “Take time to stop and smell the roses”.

I had been there before, actually for meetings and programs in the old mansion that has been preserved for such purposes, but never actually to enjoy its many gardens.  I thought that was rather a dumb omission on my part, too, always thinking, I must find the time to drive by this way and drop in for a while……   but never do.  I found my effort to have been well worth it.  Yes, the many thousands of daffodils were still in bloom, and according to the nearby plaque, all 30,000 of them, in a geological bowl shaped formation caused by a glacier.  How beautiful a vista they made!  Seeing all those blossoms in one place reminded me somewhat of the Presby Memorial Iris garden  in Montclair, NJ, not too far away.  My husband, Bob, who grew up in Montclair, used to take me there.  We both had a great love of irises and had them at the first house we shared together, on Oak Tree Road in Mountainside, before we had our borzoi and lived on Summit Lane.   It’s too early to visit there yet, about another four to six weeks for irises.

Perhaps I can retain some of the splendor we achieved in the Oak Tree Road gardens here.  It will be difficult because I am doing it alone.   Yes.  That word again.  Alone.

My landscaper can bring in the mulch and other soil supplies, but for the most part, I will be on my own.  I find when I am in the garden working, still in the weeding phase, the borzoi are nearby.  I know they would rather be out walking somewhere, especially the Watchung Reservation.  Tresor would like to be running loose, looking for another dog to fight, disobeying me by not coming back when called.  Jelly just wants to walk by my side like the Lady she is.  She knows how to present the best possible picture of her canine self.

Everyone Jelly meets  falls in love with her on sight.  I take her on long walks with me and she meets people wherever we go.  She also gets taken to the Scouting Field in Watchung Reservation where she runs and plays off leash with a Dalmation named Lazarus.  He is a constant there and her best friend.  I leave her there with his owner, and she brings her back to me hours later after she and Lazarus have had their long and happy canine play date.

Afterwards, it is the dogs’ dinner time and they eat heartily.  Jelly may not always eat her breakfast, but she always eats her dinner.  The days are moving along more the  way I would like them to of late.  The departure of winter is an enormous help for me.  I am able to do more varied things and enjoy my surroundings and especially the borzois I love so much, my beloved Tresor and Jelly.  Moreover, in addition to the enormous weeding project outdoors, I am tackling the job of interior, or shall I say, mental weeding, trying to get rid of all the bad thoughts and memories of the winter before that disturbed me so much.

I would like to add one more thing before ending, that on Monday this week, April 17, my Jelly was seven years old.  I am so lucky to have her.  She is a comfort to me in this world that I never believed could be possible.  I can never thank her breeder, Frances Wright, for letting Jelly come to live with me two years ago.  I am forever in her debt.

A poem in Facebook brings me joy

A borzoi breeder I know posted a lovely, old poem in Facebook this week thereby sharing it with her friends. It has a simple, beautiful and wise message.  I am posting it here so I always have it to remind me of its values and to share with my readers.

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

 

 

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.

 

Blyss Transitions of Seasons and Life

Sometimes I do not know how I go on one day to the next.  Much is happening here at Blyss.  Some of it is very private, such as my relationships; some pertains to my life with borzoi, such as Lucy’s continued good fortune in the ring; some pertains with my colossal efforts to make serious changes to my outlook on life in order that I may be more successful going forward.   I expect to do better in the short term going forward.

First of all, my borzois, Tresor and Jelly, are doing well.  Both recently went through a period of harrowing, serious health scares.  Then, winter has gone, and we are slowly easing into the rising temperatures of spring.  It is April now, and soon there will be the seemingly sudden greening of the Mountain behind me, that dimension of ancient places, the Watchung Reservation, that I call home, in my back yard.   Moreover, I have been called upon to do a job for my primary breed club as Show Chair for our Specialty show in September.  Having spent the second half of the day and evening working on it, I am confident it will be completed very soon, pending the answers of some questions I asked of the President.

There is now a thaw in a formerly cold relationship but sadly I expect the relationship to remain forever in the past.  My assessment of the man was correct when I said good-bye.   I have further come to believe he hurts me so much because he, along with another man I recently loved, is a cad but for a different reason.  For, like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, he has no heart.   I am  looking for a different kind of partner for my world, one who may have some space in his life for a woman like me.  It sounds so simple when put this way but this person is very elusive to find.  Although it’s been easy to lose all hope, I will be committed to finding such a partner until the day I die.

In the meantime, there is the special beauty of Tresor and Jelly who make every day a special gift of love, grace and beauty.

Jelly at home

Another Accolade for GCH Int CD Jap CD BISS Belisarius My Sassy Girl “Lucy”

Lucy made the cover of another illustrious dog magazine this month, Dogs in Review.  “Lucy” has accomplished so much for the borzoi breed, the Hound group, and her “Team”, those involved with her breeding and training, as well as her every day care and handling.  No one could have achieved so many of these accomplishments alone.

As far as Blyss Kennels is involved, “Lucy” is the Grand-daughter of the great Blyss-Majenkir foundation bitch, “Mikhailya”.  It was her puppy, “Magnus”, litter mate to “Tresor”, who sired “Lucy”.

Dogs in Review Cover Photo

A Late Winter Day in March 2017 at Blyss Kennels

I awoke this morning to the challenges presented by a late winter day with a gentle snowfall.  It did not seem that it would amount to very  much, and by noon it had nearly tapered off completely leaving virtually no accumulation on the driveway and the roads.  Unfortunately, our wonderful dog walker, playing it safe, did not come, so Tresor lost a day with a walk.

Yesterday, I took him to the veterinarian for a dental cleaning, giving the veterinarian the opportunity to remove some oral tumors he had developed.  Fortunately, they looked benign, but the biopsy will tell for sure, and I have to wait a week for those results.  He is so dear and precious to me, I cannot bear to think of losing him for any reason.  I wasted no time having these growths removed as a precaution against cancer.  Now, his teeth look very polished and clean, but they were not in bad condition to begin with.

“Tresor”; also known as “The Tre”

This week, a very popular Harlequin Great Dane passed away, owned by one of my Facebook Friends.  She posted news and photos of her life with him almost daily.  He recently had surgery to correct a cervical anomaly (pinched nerve in his neck) and was recovering nicely.  Then, things fell apart in rather rapid sequence: bloat; surgery for torsion; pneumonia; death.  She also mentioned that three months ago, she lost their other Great Dane, his companion.  So, one sees a pattern here.  One death following another.  One complication following another.  I believe a dog needs its companion and will suffer greatly for losing it.  I also believe, perhaps without empirical evidence, that the more procedures are done to an animal, especially invasive procedures, the more fragile it becomes.  These are patterns I have observed being immersed in dogs as I have been over the last 15 years, not that that is so very long.  Compared to other people, I am still a “new comer”.  But I am a keen observer and a fast learner when I am with dogs.  I seem to have “an eye for dogs”, and “insight”, and they have never failed me.  So, there were many messages of sympathy and condolences sent.  His passing broke my heart.  I understand how she felt.

I shared with her between my tears a quotation I have recently seen attributed to Dr. Seusse.  “Don’t cry because it’s over.  Smile because it happened.”  Although I confessed I was not strong enough to believe that myself.  I did not know the quote when Opal died in 2008, but it would not have done me any good.

So it was with some trepidation that I undertook the long ride to Washington NJ to the veterinarian for Tresor’s procedure.  They are always in God’s hands.

That brings us to today.  We all awoke to snow falling but it was not a snow storm.  It was enough to cling to the branches of the trees transforming them into white jewels of art reaching outward and upward to heaven.  So I got in my car with Jelly and drove through Watchung Reservation to see more of it so I would remember it in the summer when the temperature soars over 85 and then I would be too uncomfortable to go outdoors with her.  I drove on the street where I formerly lived, a street with many large trees along the side of the road whose branches meet high in the middle of the road and create a  canopy.   Some streets are more dramatic than others and this is one of the best.  But then again, it is in the Reservation itself.  It is that dimension of ancient places, that reaches out and down the mountain to the south across Rt. 22 into Westfield, and continues to the north, across Rt. 78 and into Summit, New Providence and Berkeley Heights.  I am in the middle in Mountainside, in an enclave with my borzois, along the side of the mountain with so many hills and majestic trees where I just wander up and down and around to see where the roads takes me.  And I wonder, the questions that are so frequently on my mind of late, could I ever really leave here? ~ and, how am I going to go on without Jelly and Tresor to love?