Monthly Archives: March 2021

Remembering Bob and Opal at Blyss

This month, March, is the tenth anniversary of my husband, Bob’s, death.  I find myself recalling him a great deal, what we were doing when we learned he was sick, and how little time we had left together, of  how he was robbed.  He had another great love in his life, greater than his for me, that being his two sons.  They were just entering adult life when he died.  He did not see them grow into young men, get married, and have children of their own.  I think he would have truly enjoyed that.  I believe he would have found the thrilling bliss in that that I found with the borzoi, although he did love his borzoi, too.  For me, I learned I never really knew what love was, never having had it growing up as a child.

My childhood was an ordeal of survival behind enemy lines, with parents ruling the house like they were Gestapo agents, imprisoning their children, ruling them with what can only be described as a rule book that grew thicker with every passing day.

Their favorite adages were: Spare the rod, spoil the child; and, You should only kiss your children when they are asleep.  They did not notice that their three children were growing up despising them and being totally self destructive.  They were too busy being angry all the time, with one another, and their offspring.    Somehow, sadly, we survived.

I understand Bob had a happy childhood, with laid back and easy going parents.  He, and all his siblings, always appeared to have smiles on their faces.  My siblings and I were profoundly emotionally disturbed, and did not wear smiles well.  We looked rather ghoulish with smiles on our faces, so we practiced looking in mirrors trying to look intelligent or serious instead.  It seems particularly sad that  I, who am so damaged, am left alive while Bob had to die ten years ago.  I feel so sorry for him that he had to miss so much happy, quality, family time.    I know how precious it is, but I had to learn about it from borzoi.

Borzoi taught me about love, human love.  I thought I loved Bob when I married him, but I had been made too damaged by my mother to be able to love anyone again.  It was fun and easy to love the borzoi.  When I look back at my old photographs with them, I don’t recognize myself.  I look so healthy, and am always beaming in a huge smile I cannot diminish.  In January, 2005, we  bought Opal.  I became manic with joy.  Eighteen months later she died, and I crashed into a devastating depression and have never been the same again.  I cannot forget what I lost when she died, my greatest loss, my heart itself, my joy that only she brought me.   I have read accounts like this by  other people sometimes on FB, not often, because usually people have multiple borzoi and the others help the owner get over the loss.  However, sometimes, a kennel will have one of those very extraordinary borzoi that transcends who and what it is, and when the owner writes about it, I recognize and understand what has happened to them.

Somehow, I am learning to love and smile, because I have grown from that place.  In the process, I have learned that Opal made a difference in my life, by enabling me, after almost 15 years, me to experience love and joy again.  I do not mourn her, I celebrate her, every day.  I was the luckiest person in the world to have had her.  I believe we will be reunited upon my death.  Opal is my definition of heaven.  Someday, when she comes up to me and looks up, and then hit me with her paw, like she used to, then, she will never be far away again.

“They call me Mimi but my name is Lucia….”

I have been having a busy week.  I had my six month checkup for my lung cancer surgery last September, with a CAT-Scan with contrast media, and follow up with the surgeon.  I am very aware that breathing is a different experience for me, and not for the better, but I am adjusting.  I even gained five pounds, which is a significant for me.

My chronic anorexia, and the experience of being inexplicably abandoned by someone who swore his love and commitment to me, only to be followed up by  ghosting me, made the recovery almost impossible.  Without love, it took away my strength to recover, and my will to live.  But I am made of tougher stuff and survived in spite of it.

Today is very early spring, and I have reason for optimism and looking ahead.   I am attaching a photo of my son and my grand-daughter, Piper Starling Connolly, who visited me a week ago, making me very happy.  Kensie is standing by my side, where she can always be found.

I am reminded of Mimi’s aria in Act. 1 of the opera, La Boheme, set in Paris, my favorite city in the world.   I would like to share it as an ode to spring for all of us, and to my own victory over death and despair. Mimi is forced to face her own mortality by the end of Act 3, as shall we all.  But in Act I, there is flirting, laughter, and the hope that only comes in spring.  Find it on YouTube to listen to the beautiful melody.  The words follow:

“They call me Mimi, but my name is Lucy.

I embroider flowers, roses and lilies on silk.

I am peaceful and happy; it is my pass time.

I like these things.  They have so sweet a smell,

They speak of love, of spring, of chimera, these things

That have poetic names….. do you understand me?

Yes, they call me Mimi, why, I do not know….

Alone, I make my lunch for myself,

I do not always go to mass.

But I pray a lot to the Lord.

I live alone and cook for myself.  Alone….

But when the thaw comes, the first sun is mine!

The first kiss of April is mine!

Rose buds in a vase, leaf and buds

I watch them.  The flowers I make,

They do not have an odor

Rose buds in a vase,

Leaf by leaf, I watch it

The gentle perfume of a flower!

But the flowers I make

Ah me, they do not have any odor!

About me, I would not know how to tell.

I am only your neighbor come to bother you!”

From Act I of the Italian opera La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini

Libretto: Giuseppe Giacosa

First day of Spring at Blyss, Mountainside, NJ

It was a bit too cold for me to be happy about the first week of Spring, but it can only get better.  I have not done much yet outdoors.  I see the little bits of green weeds starting to show, and I know there will be more to follow, keeping me busy.  Some crocuses have bloomed between the snow drops.  No daffodils yet.   I might go and see the Philadelphia Flower Show in early June with a new friend I have met on Facebook dating who says he wants to take me.  We’ll see, we have not met face to face yet.  I am getting my second vaccine shot on Thursday, and then I  have to remain in quarantine for two weeks.
I have been spending a lot of time watching and/or listening to operas, on DVDs, CDs or YouTube.  I have quite a collection.  It has helped the long stretches of time pass.  I am tired of reading and watching movies, and I am a huge fan of operas.  Sometimes I just listen to arias, other times I want to watch the entire opera.  Recently, I have watched, over and over, La Traviata, La Boheme, Turondot, Madame Butterfly, Lucia de Lamamore, La Sommnabula, The Elixir of Love, Norma, Nabucco, The Barber of Seville, and probably others as well,  I used to go to the Metropolitan Opera, before I got the dogs.  There was nothing like it.  Ever.  My favorite singers are Pavarotti and Maria Callas.  I also like a soprano, Anna Moffo, who was very beautiful.  She has many operas and arias on YouTube.  Sadly, they are all  deceased.
Soon, I will have to resume my endless weeding.  I have begun walking Kensie this week for my 2 mile walk.  I see my surgeon for a follow up appointment on Tuesday.  I hope he is pleased with how I am doing.  I gained five pounds since the surgery.
Although I am alone and not happy about it, somehow, life just goes on.  I just put one foot in front of the other and it happens.  There is no point thinking about it, whatever I think about something doesn’t  matter, life itself is going to happen, regardless.  I think recognizing this has helped me attain a certain level of wisdom I did not have before.  It’s like the end of the movie, Splendor in the Grass, written by William Ing, when Deanie goes to visit Bud on his farm after she comes home from her stay in a psychiatric hospital.  In the scene, she asks him, “Are you happy?”  Bud looks at her and says, “I don’t think much about happiness anymore.  You have to take what comes.”  Deanie agrees that is best and they separate.   Like Bud, who as a young man “had it all”,  I try not to think of my life in terms of happiness being there or not, or how much I achieved, either.  Just given the passage of time, something new will happen to me that will be beyond my control, it will just happen, something good or something bad.  And I won’t be able to do a single thing about it.
Virus-free. www.avg.com
Virus-free. www.avg.com

I would like to think it is getting better at Blyss with Kensey

Today, I awoke slowly.  Over the weekend, it was time to turn the clocks ahead so we are in “Daylight Savings Time”, that gives us more sunlight in the afternoon and evening.  That gives me time to give my dog a second or third walk in the late afternoon or after dinner.  It is usually the warmer time of year, so I am out more, working in my garden or talking to the passers by, or my neighbors.  My home, and home town, are particularly conducive to this.  All I have to do is get up and live and I find myself enjoying the idyllic surroundings with which I am blessed.

I have been more blessed in past times because I had lived with several borzoi, as many as five or six at a time.  That is a memory bourgeoning with bliss running over, especially when our litter was born. Then my last husband, Bob, was alive.   Bob, who was taken from me almost violently, was ravaged by pancreatic cancer at the age of 56, ten years ago this week in 2021.  I came across some photos this weekend during happy times, in particular, the time of our wedding in 2000.  We looked so happy.  I declared myself  a “Millenium Bride”! looked so amazingly beautiful and young.  I do not look that way anymore.  The last twenty years have been cruel.  I have had cancer twice, and lived through the ravages of two nervous breakdowns.  Sadly, I recovered and did well on my own after Bob was gone, and missed him terribly, knowing we would have been happy together again, but it was too late.  Following his passing, I have just endured ten years of bitter loneliness as I have dated one loser, liar, basket case cripple after another, looking for love.  I am a woman who craves human love, never having had it as a child.

Today, I am no longer able to keep borzoi, I am just too frail from  having lost so much weight during my illnesses.   I am still active, however, in my clubs, I participate in Meet the Breeds when it is in NY City, and I am an active member of the Borzoi Club of America. However, I have ventured into the world of Silken Windhounds and I am currently living with the irresistible “Kensie”, from the Wind ‘n Satin Kennel of Mary Childs in Ohio.  A more precious creature with a princess attitude cannot be found.  She is loved and adored by all who meet her.  She knew instantly I was her person and what her job was.  She is a jewel of a dog, so much like a borzoi in every way, just half the size.  I will admit, she does not have the “drama” of a borzoi, but in every way, she is  just perfect.  I was profoundly depressed when she came.  My maintenance medications were all increased, and with her presence in the home, and the structure caring for another living creature creates in your life, I began to feel better quickly.  The same thing that would have made me happy as a child makes me happy as an elderly woman today.

This old horse, the Rancher said……

Along the Dusty Trail

 This old horse, the Rancher said,

She’s seen some better days,

She’s eating up my profits

And costs a lot for hay.

 

Another horse would suit me

A stronger one at that

She’s seen a lot of miles

Like my cowboy hat.

 

This old horse, the Rancher said,

She helped me herd my steer

I’m pretty sure she’s magic

I know I hold her dear.

 

Another horse would suit me

One that can run fast

Maybe one that’s younger

Or maybe one that lasts.

 

This old horse, the Rancher said,

She’s long and far in tooth

My children do remember

Her fondly from their youth.

 

 Another horse would suit me

A gelding in its prime

One that needs less fixing

That helps me save a dime!

 

Why, they ask, then keep her?

Why not trade her now?

Bring her to an auction,

Replace her with a cow?

 

 The Rancher’s brow grew heavy

He took a staggered step

His eyes did show his friendship

In wrinkles, as they crept.

 

His breath, he took in deeply

As he poised to say his words

It’s as if the earth grew silent,

That his message could be heard.

 

This old horse, the Rancher said

Has given me her life.

I would not trade for anything

Nor either would my wife.

 

Another horse would suit me,

And perhaps someday will come,

But this old gal, I love her,

She is the chosen one.

 

The old horse, the Rancher said

Her services she did lend

Her and I have seen the years

This old horse, she is my friend.

 

Another horse would suit me well

And younger days for me

And I will keep my promise,

Until our last breath sets us free.

 Facebook. March 9, 2021

This poem, like the one I posted a few weeks ago, “The Old One”, and the one I added earlier today, “Seven is the number of years”,  although not as eloquent and dramatic, speaks of the same theme, appreciation for an old horse that is obviously a burden now but still highly valued for the many years of service it performed for a rancher or a rider and his family.  As someone born to “city folk”, whose family  would never give stories like this a glance, let alone a second glance, or to stop and read it, and transcribe it in her Blog, where love of equines and canines are celebrated in full force. my passion for these beautiful creatures is an anomaly.  However,  I lack for nothing on the positive scale of compassion for all animals, domestic and otherwise but especially: canine, equine, feline, avian, porcine,   bovine, goats, and other barnyard animals too numerous to elucidate who live at the mercy of us humans and often suffer terribly from it. How can we wipe away their pain?  Why must it be there?  Part of it is financial, since veterinary care has become so expensive, and part of it is because caring for barnyard animals s so hard and labor intensive.  However, I am sure animal owners cut corners on quality of care and the animals suffer from it.  My heart, my passion, belong to horses and dogs, especially.

In my twenties, I rescued a thoroughbred from the track, and had a nice pleasure horse for a number of years.  Financially, long term, it was not realistic in relation to my salary.  Looking back, now that I am seventy, I realize it was not expensive at all, because the cost today is totally prohibitive.  I turned to dogs in 2002, borzoi, the most equine-like dogs in the world.  I compromised my deepest value and sold my horse, and was never being able to own on again.  I was destined to always have a horse, and I failed.  What I do instead today is donate to horse rescue charities in the amount to which I am able.  I have found many such charities on Facebook and many wonderful people, saints, who do this work.  When I find a horse poem or a piece of writing that celebrates equines, I save it because it always touches my heart.  I then share it by putting it in my Blog giving it a wider audience than it otherwise might not receive because I know I have a steady readership audience for the Blog.

 

Least we not forget, The Horses; from Facebook

Regardless of the depth and breadth of materials it holds, I find so much that is good on Facebook.  For me to note it, and then to wish to save it, and/or post it on my Blog means that I have been very moved by a particular piece of writing and it has made an impact on me.   I don’t know how all these disparate items appear in my feed, sometimes forwarded by a Friend, or just appearing out of the blue, but I receive the most astounding pieces of writing about life, the world, and our place in it.  Unquestionably, this one that I received today, stands among the best.  I feel compelled to share it with my Facebook friends and my Blog readers.  It follows:

Seven is the number of years I served my owner, trotting, walking, loping, quiet and gentle.  I carry her children, husband, friends and neighbors.  I have plenty of hay, horse friends, and time to myself.  Green pastures, blue skies, I am at peace.

Six is the number of months I carry on in pain after falling. I do it for her, anything for her.  She is impatient with me.  I try hard to keep up but the pain slows me down.  Every step hurts.  No one wants to ride me.  A new horse arrives to carry on in my place.  I do not know this word, “useless”.

Five is the number of hours I stand in the small pen at the auction.  I hurt.  I do not know these horses; I do not know these people.  I am far from my pasture.  I search for comfort, switching weight off my painful leg, the people notice.  I do not know the word, “lame”.

Four is the number of times my value is calculated by my weight.  I don’t understand their words but I can read their eyes.  Hard stares.  I try to be invisible, but they see me.  I do not know this word, “slaughter”.

Three is the number of sniffs I take of your face through the pen before deciding you are kind and safe.  I like your eyes.  They are soft.  I like your hands.  They are gentle.  Please don’t leave me here.  I try to pick up my feet for you.  It hurts.  I try hard.  I rest my muzzle in your hand.

Two is the number of minutes it takes for me to pass through another pen.  I am scared.  I am trapped.  I am alone, people are shouting.  It hurts to walk.  A man is talking; his voice echoes all around me, there are so many people watching the hard stares.  Suddenly it’s over.          

One is the number of hours it takes before I walk onto the trailer.  I am alone.  I am scared.  It is moving. The door opens, I hold my breath, and brace at the light.  It’s you!  I stand still and breathe slow.  Kind hands, soft words, I’m not afraid now.

Two is the number of x-rays the vet takes while I stand quietly for you, anything for you.  Many days have passed.  I have energy now, my pain is less.  I like my new pasture, I like my new stall, I like my new hay.  I don’t know why we have a vet but I stand still for his visits.  So many visits.  I do not know the word, ‘rehabilitation”.

Three is the number of months before the pain is all the way gone.  I am relaxed with you, we start to ride together.  I am afraid the pain will come back, butt you are gentle, so I try.  I try hard for you, anything for you.

Four is the number of weeks I learn a new way of riding.  Another person rides me every day.  I’m becoming strong.  I understand my lessons..  I am proud to work, I feel you are happy with me, visiting me, and learning together.  I do not know this word , “training”.

Five is the number of years I work hard for you.  We travel to shows, we work cows, we ride with friends.  We do hundreds and hundreds of miles together.  You trust me and I trust you.  I give you everything I have, everything for you, anything for you.  I memorize your rhythm, your looks, your moods.  I know when to be wild and when to be still.  We are a team.

Six is the number of minutes I try to hide the pain after a fall, but you see through me.  I stand for the vet, still as a stone.  The pain leaves but I sense your sadness.  I remember a word from before when I had pain, “useless”, but you never say that word.  You no longer ride me but I see you every day for carrots and treats and long walks.  I relax again.  You will not abandon me.  I do not know this word, “retired”.

Seven is the number of breaths I take in your arms.  I has been many years, we have grown old and wise and slow together.  I lay down like so many times before but could not rise.  You came right away.  I tried for you, but I could not stand.  You say, its okay, sink down next to me, I breathe slowly.  You are very close, holding my head, weeping. 

I feel your sadness so I put my muzzle in your hand one last time to comfort you, anything for you.  I breathe out.  Green pastures, blue skys, I am at peace.  I know this word, “loved”.

 Author Unknown.

Facebook

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How sad it is today that society has such a diminished use for horses over the last one hundred years that owning them has become a sport, or an expensive pleasurer hobby, or a breed farm for the horses to be sold for profit, with great emphasis on the economic worth of the animal that needs to offset the ever growing expense of owning it.  Although we are grateful for the advances in veterinary medicine that allow them to treat and relieve previously untreatable pain conditions successfully, thereby keeping their economic value viable, it comes at a high cost to the horse owner, an expense that they may not be able to afford.  Then, there is the kill pen slaughter.  In today’s story, one lucky horse found his Guardian Angel, a lovely lady who saw him broken down and thought she had a chance to heal him and could see the potentially good horse he could become for her.  She took that leap of faith; she did the right thing by purchasing, and transporting him, then by vetting him, then by “rehabilitating” him so he could live pain free.  In return, he worked his heart out for her, as in “anything for her”.  The story makes some serious assumptions, like the lady having the time and resources to rehab this horse and retrain him, with success.  She then had a great horse to ride and love, and she was loved back in return.  She had a huge heart for her horse and always did the right thing.  I cannot help but be very critical of society for failing to do the right thing regarding our domesticated animals most of the time.  Whether it is puppy mills, or breaking or breaking down horses, abusing donkeys, slaughtering donkeys for their hides and milk, seeing young thoroughbred break down on the track, I wonder, where will this end?  With horses no longer needed for work, will they go away like so many other animals that no longer walk this earth?  In the canine world, one may think there will always be dogs, and there are many, yet many breeds have been lost over the last 100 years, especially in Terriers and Sporting Dogs.  Once the breed is gone, it really cannot be brought back, as some breeds claim to have done, as with the Irish Wolfhound, by recreating it using similar dogs to  create a resemblance.  It is better not to lose the breed at all than have to reconstruct it.  Likewise, it is better not to break down a young horse than have to rehab it.  People do not think that way, they are abusive and selfish, thinking only of what they want to do with the animal in the present, and throwing it away when they are through with it.

The roots of mankind’s responsibility for animals is in the Bible.  Yet, we have done a sickening  job of failing them.  There are no shortage of tears I weep for the canines and equines who depend on mankind for their wellbeing.  God sees and knows everything  and has no inhibition to unleash karma for betraying the trust of animals in the hands of humans who betray it.   When I pray, I pray for the abused, abandoned, and dying animals before I pray for myself or others.  Animals do not have a safety net and need the prayers more.  Perhaps most of mankind has forgotten the animals, but God and I have not.

Blyss Poetry….. a rarer than rare artform but still here

My world as I knew it for some time now was shattered by some traumatic news from a friend, no, a man I believed in.   The end result was him asking me not to contact him anymore.   No explanation was given, just that.

I had so much I wanted to say, yet that option was denied.  I was in enormous emotional pain.  I guess I brought it upon myself, I just don’t know how.  I have no one else to blame.  Unable to write to him, yet having so much to say, I remembered he is a Facebook “Friend”, still!  I posted messages to him and about him and for him on my public page, knowing he would read them.  They are my poems,  so I am saving them here.

Although many other Facebook Friends  reacted with concern,  the gentleman remained silent.  Perhaps he was never a  friend.  I can’t seem to keep my love life from crashing and burning around me.  My only loyal loves have been with my dogs since 2002, especially my borzoi, and also my Black Lab, and now my Silken, Kenzie.  And that makes me glad, they are so much more worthy of my love than  they ever were.

In the ten years I have been a widow, I have been surprising how many  men have been turned off by me having dogs.  True, I had multiple, very large dogs, and men can’t handle that kind of competition.  And, I will always put my dogs before any  man, and my passion for them, the borzoi breed in particular, dog shows, breeding, the whole thing, before any man.  My life revolves around my passion for dogs, my borzoi, and now my Silken Windhound, Kensie.  It is how I deal with my pain.  It is a lot for a man to compete with.  Where I succeed with dogs, I fail with men.  My poems, unedited words from my soul, follow.

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So easy to love

So hard to lose

Come back.

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Today is a wintry cold day in March

Soon it will be spring again to bring me joy

And maybe hearts will heal.

But for now, only lonely,

A heart dies slowly in place

One day at a time.

 

Status of dog shows in 2021

After a year of canceled dog shows due to COVID-19 in 2020, it does not look much better for them in 2021.  There are some dog shows, but the conditions under which they must occur precludes any enjoyment by spectators, in fact, spectators are not permitted at all.  In addition, no vendors or selling of catalogs will be allowed.  Considering it will be expensive for me to attend some of these dog shows, I recently canceled my hotel reservations rather than deal with these disappointments at shows for days on end. As of today, I still do not know the status of the Somerset Hills KC show, in September which is where the Borzoi Club of Central NJ holds its annual specialty show, but I am not optimistic.  Westminster KC dog show is supposed to take place in June at Lyndhurst, in Tarrytown, but I do not see how it can be a “benched” show as it usually is.  Since the show is usually a hub of vendors for many kinds of merchandise, without food vendors, and attended by the most devoted in the dog show world, it does not look very pleasing.

Another Facebook Wisdom; Any and all wisdom is required.

I would like to share from “Notes from a crazy soul” on Facebook:

“There comes a time in life, when you walk away from it all, the drama and people who create it.  Surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good.  Love the people who treat you right.  Pray for he one’s who don’t.  Life is too short to be anything but happy.  Falling down is part of life.  Getting back up again is living.”

With that quote in mind, I realize how much I fail to succeed in living a life of wisdom.  Instead, I am tested with tragedies that fly by with the speed of a tennis ball I cannot see, but only hear the Hisssssss of it speeding across my face, just missing me, barely.  The impact would be damaging, somehow fortunately it misses me, but the effect is the same.  This pattern has followed me throughout my life.  It began with my parents who created their own domestic tragedy of a marriage and imposed it on their children.  It left us, their children, stuck in the place where they failed, unable to go back or  unable to move forward.  The accuracy of this pattern in my life is stunning.  In every relationship, all I have to do is sit back, smile, and wait for it to happen.

One day in   2002, I had the opportunity to buy a young male borzoi.  He was very sweet and beautiful, and I embraced him to my heart.   I felt a love I never thought I knew.  He was followed by several others, including two bitches, and we bred a litter and kept a male.  After a short while, I realize I had been changed by this experience and felt protected for the first time in my life.  Love had found me at last and changed me forever.  When one of those first borzoi died suddenly, in 2008, I became very ill.  I had never grieved like that before.  In 2019, my last borzoi passed away.  I told myself I was fine and was doing well.  A myth.  A year later I was diagnosed with anorexia and bipolar depression and had to make serious choices regarding my treatment.  In addition, between 2013 and 2020, I had cancer twice, each one requiring surgery.  My parents’ legacy was still alive and well.  They won after all.

Unexpectedly,  I met a magical and new man in 2020 who swore his undying love for me after finding me and my dog pictures on Facebook.  He  told me I could trust him.  I was his everything, especially, his future.  One evening, a simple conversation turned suddenly aggressive and he left me.  It took about one minute and he was gone.  Although I begged him to return, and he did, he created another dramatic scene  few months later, leaving me alone again.  I felt like a fool for trusting him, but he put on a great show of a man in love and I believed it, even in the face of many contradictions.

It is experiences like this that I must be wary of, and not just me, but everyone.  I don’t care if you are a man, since I am sure there are insincere, manipulative, ingenuine women in the world, as well.  But I have accrued such a long list of men covering the last ten years of my life that I have been a widow trying to exploit me, men who had no love in their hearts for me whatsoever, that I wonder if I should end this quest once and for all.  They all had nothing to offer beyond smoke and mirrors, and when they grow tired of their game, they create a scene and leave.   I know I have many true friend and it is to them that I must turn.  I have Kensie, my new Silken Windhound, by my side, to replace my former borzoi, and she makes me smile.  Life is hard but there are little things that make it sweet, and downy pillows on which to rest my head and dream.