A borzoi was born in Japan almost unnoticed in 2015 to a lovely borzoi bitch named “Lucy”, our “Mikhailya’s” grand-daughter, and daughter of our Magnus, or Max as he was called there. Lucy, or CH Int CH My Sassy Girl, then traveled to the USA and given over to the handling team of Valelrie Nunes-Atkinson. Valerie would go on to write the following on the day of returning Lucy to her Japanese family. The following appears in Blyss Blog on Lucy’s page but for convenience I will repeat it here.
May 8 at 9:52pm
“The time has finally come, forced to say our goodbyes, The Lovely Lucy is on her way
We’ve dreaded this day as we have done in the past and no doubt will in the future. It’s
the hard part of opening our hearts to those that come to us, those that we welcome and
take in as family.
Lucy, with us for over 2 years exceeded all expectations…2015 Top Dog All Breeds in Japan with her great handler Shota, AKC’s All Time Top Winning Borzoi, the #1Hound in 2017, National Specialty BISS, 3x BOB winner at the Westminster KC, 2x Hound Group Winner at Westminster KC and lastly RBIS at the 2016 Westminster KC….and she has also already produced a National Specialty Winning Son (WD & BOW)….All of that aside, she was just our dog that we loved and adored. She smashed every record and set more but for us she is the dog that stole our hearts with her sweet soft nature, silly snorts, scootie butt zoomies, her glamorous self and her heart that gave us her all every single time she stepped into the ring. And, that says it all considering she IS a Sighthound bitch, lol When she came to us we didn’t know if she could withstand or have the want to show for what is expected here in the States….we were ready to accept that reality if it wasn’t in her heart. But, after her breathtaking USA debut at Westminster KC and her heart stopping RBIS from Famed Breeder Judge; Richard Meen we decided to see what she could do….. she readily and happily stepped up to the plate and the winning began….her National Specialty came from another Breeder Judge; Ron Spritzer (Carol Spritzer) with her Son, standing behind her, another Honor. Her AKC All Time BIS record was awarded by none other then Icon Mr. Frank Sabella, truly special in that he was a unexpected judge change that day and so thrilled to have USA owners Risky M. Molnar (Michele and Jamie Danburg on hand to celebrate the day with us. Lucy gave Antonio his FIRST USA BIS with CJ going RBIS, another memorable day. She and Antonio went on to be awarded another 9, 10 in total for the Team of Antonio and Lucy. Her BIS total 28 in USA and 13 in Japan, career of 41 All Breed BIS’s. Much of Lucy’s success is a credit to Antonio , it was all on him to keep her in tip top shape mentally and physically. Her muscle was hard, her coat glorious (when in coat after all she is a bitch and was never ever on Cheque drops) she naturally came into and out of coat as any coated female would. When out of coat and breaking the all time record under Frank Sabella….his comment was “all the better to see all her beautiful curves, both a perfect Topline and Underline” from the Man that knows it was indeed a huge
compliment to her outstanding quality and type. So, Antonio, thank you, thank you for all you have done for Lucy in her time with us. She adores you like all the others do a true testament to your soul. For that I’m forever grateful.
To Michele and Jamie, we were so honored to have you join our team. Without your help, encouragement and never ending support Lucy would not of had this amazing career. We all love you both.
To Shota Hirai, Mai Hirai, Kyoko Ozeki Minoru, thank you for choosing us. There have been many others in the decade of showing for you and no doubt many more to come but there will only be ONE LUCY.( We love you all To all that cheered us on through the years, we thank you. The fellow breeders that supported us we are forever grateful. And to all that was on Team Lucy, thank you. We have cried tears of joy many times with her, today the tears of sadness from our hearts, as she heads home to Japan.
The accolades are many indeed but today our hearts are breaking as we must say ….see you next time Lucy, forever Team #welovelucy.
Since Lucy’s return to Japan, she has had another litter that I am aware of and as far as I know, she has lead a happy, healthy life. However, while she was campaigned in the United States, she was sometimes accompanied by her son, Vinto, who was born prior to her becoming an international champion, and he did exceedingly well. I had the fortunate opportunity to see him ringside on several occasions. He was always magnificent. However, since Lucy returned to Japan, and especially after Magnus (Max) died in 2009 and the grief I fell into, I never heard another word about Vinto. The Ozekis sold him to another person, I would later learn, Shigeru Iwakiri. I believe I was sitting ringside at a borzoi national specialty in Maryland several years ago and was suddenly surprised to see a stunning, pure white male borzoi being examined, and running in the ring. I glanced at the handler’s band number, and checked it in my catalog. To my absolute shock and surprise, it was Vinto! Then, I looked next to me, and sitting there was a Japanese man, Shigeru Iwakiri, and it was Vinto’s owner! I introduced myself and we shook hands! So Vinto was alive and well at that time and being shown. However, that was several years ago, and I never heard of the dog again. Never. I assumed the worse, that he was in retirement somewhere living as an unknown old dog, or worse, dead. I was not silent on the subject surrounding the less than ideal conditions of Magnus’s unhappy demise when I learned of it in 2010 from a total of three unrelated individuals, all of whom sent me photographs of Max’s final days in decline. Of course, none of them informed me of it while he was still living and I could have helped My Boy, I only learned about it after he was gone and it was too late. I would have arranged for his return home to me in New Jersey myself, and gone to Japan to bring him home. But that opportunity was denied to me by the silence and treachery of others who threw him away in a hot, damp kennel and let him die, needlessly young.
I was on Facebook on Facebook on Sunday, May 17, 2023, and Shigeru Iwakiri had put up a win photo of Vinto at the Sakura Annual Dog Show of 2023, to be his last show, that he won Best of Breed as a nine year old, from the Veteran Class, no easy feat, and a tribute to his greatness and good breading. He is the Great Grandson of my Mikhailya, and Grandson of my Magnus (Max). He bred true. It had been so many years since hearing any news about Vinto that I assumed he had died.
My new concern was for him in retirement. I suddenly was seized by a manic obsession that Vinto would suffer the same fate as Magnus. I wrote to his owner directly and told him of my concern and that I would be glad to get him and bring him to New Jersey. He treated me kindly and sent me 23 photographs of Vinto in all aspects of his life, including living inside the home with his family. I told Shigeru my fears were allayed, and the borzoi truly looked healthy and happy. He kindly sent me 23 photographs which are on the website under his name. Slowly, I calmed down, but it truly took several weeks. It was like seeing a ghost, or finding a lost friend, or compensating for the terrible, painful loss of Magnus. I will never get over that travesty. However, the Japanese dog show professionals have shown an improvement in the treatment of these noble creatures who win them so much status and pride, that they can do a better job for them in their years of retirement.