Category Archives: Depression

More Good News and Some Bad at Blyss Kennels

Undoubtedly, there has been much to be happy about at Blyss Kennels.  Tresor and Jelly are both well, even if I am taking Tresor to the veterinarian’s office tomorrow about an abscess on his gum.  I am not going to let them make me worry tonight.  We had an unseasonably warm steak of weather for February, with temperatures in the 60s and mid-70s.   So yes, all this is good news.  And recently, the beautiful international champion bitch, “Lucy”, the grand-daughter of our Majenkir bitch, “Mikhailya”, won Best in Breed and placed in the Hound Group two years in a row at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City on February 14, 2017.  My son, Graham, and I were both there in attendance on Tuesday night to see the final judging.  Last year, “Lucy” went all the way and was awarded Reserve Best in Show.  My heart stopped.  It was one of those rare times when I thought of my late husband, and hoped somehow or somewhere, he was watching that joyful moment.

So why did I break down in private so badly?  How could something so banal make me so ill?  What, or shall I say who was behind it, if anybody?   Who holds so much power over me, yet did?  Even I was shocked at the slope of the trajectory and the speed at which I slid downwards on it once it got in my way. But it did.  And for those who want to read about the dirt, so bad that not even borzoi love could protect me from, here it is.


Dumped.  In retrospect I probably never had a chance.    Your way…. a cad’s way…….   I cannot recall a cross word….. and when I believed in us most of all you dissipated in silence.


There are the darkest nights that envelop me through the longest days to eternity………  and leaving me feeling so defeated I embrace the darkness until it becomes comfort.


I seek the special forest high in the mountain in the sun    Where a wild hawk can soar so high above the tops of the trees as if by magic then is out of sight.  Or, slivers of light in the night – stars –  Guide our feet along many winding trails.  I encounter strangers there. “Where is your home?”, they ask?  “Let me take you there.”    And I reply, “No.  It’s gone forever.  Good-bye, Friends, far and wide. Good-Bye.”


Saturday night.  No sound but the inhales and exhales of sleeping hounds.   Tomorrow I must get up.  It is what is expected of me.

Lasts week I lingered long at the ledge…..     An instrument of harm in my hand……   Though the bleeding was only in my mind……   the pain lacerated through.

Here one minute gone the next……   You inhale love exhale hate like yoga……  To the din of racing thoughts…..  Someday you will let me know.

Still down but stirring.  Learning to walk.   Journeys beckon.  I can do better than this……   Be my star that I can follow….. a reason……..  To raise my eyes unto the mountain for my comfort!

A Quiet Winter at Blyss; Until Westminster!

I cannot seem to overcome my negativity about being alone in the heart of winter and so I feel no need to write about it in my blog.  We are all well at last.  Jelly had a serious injury last October that kept her in pain until well into January.  I am so grateful all of her problems appear to have dissipated.  Now I have to work harder on mine.

Now, it is only mid-February.  So much snow is still expected to fall.  A kind neighbor snow-blowed my driveway last week when we had a large snow-fall.  I do not seem to be able to shovel anymore.  My body tells me, “No”.  I listen.  My  mind tells me things, too, and  although I do not know what to make of them, I listen.  They are not good.  But not only do I listen, I believe.

But all is well with Tresor and Jelly now.  I have fun with them, and I can truly say they are my only joy.  I live alone now, friendless, and as they say, even when I meet someone, “The Song Remains The Same” by Led Leppelin, or like the B side of a 45 with a bad needle stuck in a groove.

This week was the 141st Westminster KC Dog Show.  Again, for the second year in  row, Lucy,  my Blyss Kennels’ “Mikhailya’s” grand-daughter, won Best of Breed.  Sadly, she did not win the Group.  She was robbed by  Norwegian Elkhound handled by a very old, frail woman with a strong presence in past Hound Group rings whom the Judge acknowledged.  Lucy was given a Group Four instead.  My son and I were there in person Tuesday night to see the Sporting Group, Herding Group and Terrier Group judging, and Best in Show.

Somehow, we got over that Lucy was not there and had  lot of fun.  I got to stay overnight in his new apartment in the East Village.  It was a happy and fun occasion.  Then, Wednesday I had to take a  taxi to Penn Station to catch a NJ Transit train that would take me home to the Summit, NJ station.  A girl-friend picked me up.   We had lunch in Summit and fantasized we were on the Upper East Side instead.

I don’t know how any of this has happened to me.  Why am I here in such a lonely place, I ask myself? I am beginning to believe true happiness is not meant for me in this world.  When my borzoi both pass away, I will a have to reevaluate what I am doing.  But for now, living with perfect love, borzoi love, this is as happy as it is going to get.  For now, they can make me smile.

Lucy – Head Study
Westminster Group 4 Rosette

Blyss Kennels between Christmas 2016 and the New Year 2017

If there was ever a difficult week to be alone it is this one.  All of the surrounding bushes so alive with either blossoms in the spring or their autumnal dried flowers in the summer or fall have the unequivocal  beyond a doubt look of dead.  It is hard to believe they will ever bloom again.  Today, when I walked Jelly throughout the neighborhood, I even  passed a house where the Christmas tree was already on the curb.  If there ever was a day when everything was past tense, it is today.  The words were even spoken by me in a conversation with a close girl-friend, out of my control, “….I never dreamed I would be a widow in my retirement…..”   only my husband, unlike the shrubbery and the perennials will not be back in the spring.  And now, I will be cold every day for the next four months, no less.

With those dark thoughts expressed and out of the way, I do look ahead to what might be ahead.  Tresor turned eight in December, and Jelly turns seven in April.  I adore my two borzois and their companionship is my utter sanity and only joy.  I awaken to their frolicking and joy if I am not up early enough for their taste.  I lavish love upon them both.  There is no better way to start the day.

But more than anything, 2016 will be remembered for the spectacular success not of Blyss Kennels but of its derivative, where the son of our “Mikhailya”, “Magnus”, was sold, to Belisarius Kennels of Japan, to Mai Ozeki Hirai.  Not only did Magnus win magnificently well for the kennel, his offspring were even more spectacular, that being his daughter, “Lucy” and her son, “Vinto”.  There is no reason to believe these spectacular accomplishments will not carry over to 2017.  In fact, they are expected to.  “Lucy” will be at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show again in February, and at the Borzoi National Specialty Show in Maryland in May.  Vinto may even make another appearance as well.

I wish all the readers of Blyss Blog Encore a Happy New Year.



More Blyss News: Problems at home, Challenges still; but Lucy’s and Vinto’s stars continue to rise!

As we slowly go into winter, every passing day is a reminder of how quickly it will be upon us, as the days that temperatures hover in the 40s and the 50s on the thermometer become more commonplace.  These are days when one must wrap oneself in multiple layers of clothing before leaving the house even to do a brief dog walk.  And it is still only autumn!  The very chill fills me with disdain for my world.  And as it does, I feel the strong arm of depression pulling me down hard and back to where I should never venture alone yet there I am in spite of it.

Almost four weeks ago, Jelly suffered serious juries to her front legs that have been slow to heal, one leg in particular.  I have been taking her to our veterinarian twice a week ever since, approximately a 100 mile plus round trip because I trust the veterinarians in that practice.   Tomorrow, we go again, and I hope it will be our final appointment.  This has taken a lot out of me emotionally.  Please let tomorrow be the last day of this.

The bright lights in my world continue to be the joy I derive from reading Facebook.  There I can glean the latest news of “Lucy” (Mikhailya’s grand-puppy), and “Lucy’s” son “Vinto”, (a great-grandson of Mikhailya’s).  The news is that with Vinto in Japan, and Lucy now being shown in the “sun belt” of the United States, they are both winning regularly Best in Shows!  This warms and cheers me almost every day, since the owners and handlers are very generous with their publicity and these beautiful borzoi are always on Facebook.  I copy these e-photos and save them in a folder on my hard-drive so I can share them on my Blog and always have them to go back to.   The most recent photographs are attached.


Lucy: Best in Show,Nov. 20,2016, Tuscon, AZ
Lucy: Best in Show,Nov. 20,2016, Tuscon, AZ
Vinto's Tenth Best in Show, in Japan
Vinto’s Tenth Best in Show, in Japan
Lucy: Head study
Lucy: Head study

In the meantime, I derive joy from the accomplishments of these two beautiful borzoi that are connected to my life.  They are truly my accomplishment of the “blyss” I set out to find in 2002 when I said “Yes!” to buying my first borzoi!  And yes, I do credit my “Mikhailya”, a rare, beautiful and extraordinary borzoi that I knew should be bred and convinced Karen Staudt-Cartabona to do so to Regal in October 2008, leading to so much success for Karen and me.

Therefore, I will work hard on improving my attitude at being happier and realizing I cannot do anything about any of the problems I think about all the time.  After all, its roots run long and deep going all the way back into a violent childhood.  Like all victims of abuse, it shadows adult life  preventing one from achieving their potential.  Comfort is often derived in self destructive habits, or unusual things.  An exaggerated love of animals is common, and victims of physical abuse are very common among people committed to living closely with animals.  For myself, my true love was lavished on a second great Majenkir bitch we came to own, my beloved Opal.  The pain of her loss remains unparalleled in my heart; it cuts me all the way down and makes me lose my will to live.  I say her name, and her image appears to me in my mind’s eye; her beauty and sweetness had no equal……Opal……tears……prayers…..  And today, I have My Tre.

Tresor with Jelly on his deck, 2016
Tresor with Jelly on his deck, 2016



1st_May 2005, Opal wins a Puppy Class, Bucks Co. KC

Baby Opal wins her first show, shown with Bob and me; Bucks County KC 2005

Tresor and Jelly continue to be wonderful life companions for me every day.   Tresor, especially, has grown more affectionate and loving toward me since we have been living alone in our home.   I think to myself, why do I want to share this beautiful dog with anyone?  I have had to share him with other people all of his life, and now it is just him and me.   And, with Jelly, whom he also adores.  Tresor, “My Tre”, “The Tre”,  is blissfully happy here with us, and when I think of my life that way, I can find a crumb of happiness and a mote of optimism for someday, that someday, the pain will go away and something will happen so my life will be better.  In fact, perhaps it is better already.

Home with Tresor & Jelly
Home with Tresor & Jelly


At Blyss Kennels Today: Tresor, Jelly and Myself

I am thinking of being alone today and wondering why that is so hard for me.  I think of that song,   “The World I Know” and listen to it on YouTube.

The October chill has returned, and with it rain.  The furnace that had been off for so long turned itself back on.   Where are you, ———– ?  Well, I hope you are happy with the outcome you created.  You proved “everybody told me so” was right.    I made a mess of things again.

Home with Tresor & Jelly
Home with Tresor & Jelly
There are qualities that I look for in a man: physically and emotionally/psychologically.  Like, it’s hard to put into words, but I call it a spiritual understanding; “a connection”; not always having to say a word but knowing what the other is  thinking and/or feeling or would say if they spoke.  Or, someone who can really quiet my mind of its racing thoughts; make me feel quieted; relaxed.  That would be a really great quality, too.  Or best of all, someone who can make me forget what I know is my inexorable destiny that in the end, I am truly alone.  I wonder if encountering a special man who can overcome destiny itself and have to create a miracle to reach me will ever happen to me again during the remaining time I have left to my life.  I am sure you wonder about that, too.  If not, the ending is an ugly picture best left undescribed.
 On Monday, I am traveling to Jelly’s breeder’s, N24’s home, in NY State, for a breed club meeting for the NY club.   The people that I know from that club will be there and I am looking forward to that.  It is also N24’s birthday on Tuesday.  I found an especially perfect gift for her over the summer.  It is a set of brown pot holders with a beautiful and ornate outline of a borzoi embroidered in gold threads.  I will only be there one night.  Then, back to home to Blyss Kennels, Mountainside.

Blyss Perceptions of Changes of the Seasons and of Life

Lorene with Paris, Delaware Bay, Goshen NJ
Lorene with Paris, Delaware Bay, Goshen NJ

Summer seemed to last long here at Blyss Kennels in Mountainside, NJ during this otherwise uneventful fall of 2016.  The heat lingered well into October and the need to use the furnace then was only intermittent.  No sooner did I turn it on than the temperature climbed up to 75 degrees in the morning again.  In other times, I would have taken my borzois in the van and gone to Cape May to one of a few inns that allowed us to bring them.

The memories of those happy days and the companions who assisted me there are long past.  Perhaps I could go there with Jelly, but I could never go and leave Tresor behind, and I could never bring them both.  I am friendless these days, so I would have no help with Tresor, alas, I am  stuck home for the gorgeous month of October.  Not only that, the temperature in Cape May is ten full degrees warmer than it is in Northern New Jersey.    The thought of the happy times I have lost is like a twisted dagger in my heart.  The most recent friend, whom once I thought was so true and loving, turned out to be like so many others before, untrue and hateful, so much so, that I asked him to leave.   After he left, I felt as if I jumped off a cliff into an abyss of fear – without a bungee chord.

Portrait of Jelly Maxine Bochnia
Portrait of Jelly
Maxine Bochnia

My poor borzois, who love to be taken to the sea, remain here with me in Mountainside.  I am grateful to the two new dog walkers I have found for Tresor.  Even Jelly has a friend who takes her hiking on the trails in Watchung Reservation!  I do not believe they grieve the loss of their former friend, but surely they must wonder as do I:   why?…….  where?…….when?……

I have sought solace in the peace of prayer.  There is nothing else to do.  I am in God’s hands.  I have done all I could to find happiness in relationships and husbands.  Nonetheless, I always find myself in the role somewhere between a freak and a failure.  But if God made me, I am in His image and therefore must be good. It is not for me to judge only to beg for mercy from the horrible pain of loneliness these separations impart.  But, I tell myself, I have Jelly and Tresor…….  So, I try to tell myself that I am really not so alone after all.

When I walked to church this evening to attend a special program of the Rosary Altar Society, to a church that is so close that I can see it from my living room window,  I was bathed in the light of the full moon.  I felt illuminated by its effervescence.  Perhaps it was the Eye of God. Catholics are taught when they are little children that God’s eye is always watching and protecting them.   For myself, I have survived the chaos of my life.  I have endured and gone on to do the special work God has laid out for me as an adult.  In my case, among other difficult acts of love, it was to take care of his dogs; many dogs; only now, the dogs are and have been His borzois.

Later, walking home from the Church in the moonlight, I saw myself standing on the beach of Delaware Bay with my borzois.  I am taken back in time by several years.  My husband, Bob, took some wonderful photographs there a long time ago!  How I cherish them.  They are framed and proudly displayed in my home as well as on Facebook.  Mikhailya – Casanova – Paris – Ebony!  How empty my life would have been without them!  They were among  – if not – my best friends! Today I have Jelly and Tresor, and I have their own stunning portraits, too.  Gifts from God, I cherish them all.  I know I am blessed.  I can only pay God back through my adoration and prayers, and trying to be worthy of all that is and has been good in my life.

Mikhailya with me at Delalware Bay
Mikhailya with me at Delalware Bay

So together let us welcome this balmy October weather.  As the temperatures rise, let the skies be blue and full of puffy white clouds, the kind where Mary can place her footsteps wandering in heaven.  And as she does, may she impart her blessings and joys on those who look up to her in prayer!

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.


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.


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


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


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




Strange…..   recent readers, or readers who have not read everything on the 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!”


“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.




Blyss Despondency – an Oxymoron, therefore a Mistake

I believe it is always wrong to give in to the seductive temptation  to dwell on despondent thoughts, and who does not have them.  In my case, it is doubly wrong because I live with the two best dogs in the world, first of all who happen to be champion borzoi, and secondly are “Tresor” and “Jelly”, respectfully, therefore not ordinary dogs.  All I have to do is look at them, and they turn their eyes to me with a luminous gaze that speaks only of love.

But to err is human… the first part of that famous adage goes.  And I do say about myself I err with great ease.

I found myself alone with a large amount of time on my hands this weekend.  Well, why should that be anything new, since everyone knows I  live a solitary life here at Blyss Kennels aside from “Tresor” and “Jelly” regardless of any efforts I have made to the contrary.  And I forgot to consult my new method of coping with this which is centering on Catholic reading and  writings, based on my already strong foundation in that religion.  It sounds like such a wonderful idea until a difficult time arises, then I never think of it.

Sunday was a perfect example.  I was planning to spend the afternoon alone watching Turner Classic Movies on cable TV hanging out with the borzois.  Sure enough, toward the end of the day, a particularly weighty film was put on, The Heiress (1949) Dir. William Wyler, starring Ralph Richardson, Olivia De Havilland, and Montgomery Clift.  I was familiar with the story, having read the Henry James short novel.  It was as tragic a domestic tale as was ever written.  I wondered if I was up to watching it.  The doomed heiress, Catherine Sloper, reminded me so much of myself, that in the area of personal happiness, everything had gone terribly wrong through no real fault of her own, just family dynamics, especially with her father.   It made me wonder if perhaps I should not watch it at all, fearing it would plunge me into a deep depression.  I thought more and more about what to do.  Then I was struck with a fantasy.  It went like this.

What if we could go back in time in a time machine, and be in the days when Henry James was writing The Heiress.  Instead of a father regarding the marital prospects of his daughter so poorly that he suspected a man would marry her only for her money, that his generosity of spirit would allow her to marry a rogue whom she loved in order that she may enjoy the happiness of marriage.  Instead, he interfered; she lost the man; the two of them – father and daughter – ended their relationship together despising one another.  I imagined my Sunday afternoon spent alone for so many of the same reasons could be placed into a time machine.  Suddenly, I was a ghost sitting in the room with Henry James.  I was able to influence his creative spirit!  He wrote the novel with the happy ending.  Then, one hundred years later, the movie shown on Turner Classic Movies last Sunday would have the happy ending.

Who knows, maybe I could be in a time machine and go back in time.  Would my father get a second chance to get it right and after despising me, love me instead?  How different a person would that have made me?  But surely, Henry James, being a great writer, might have found a way for his paternal character to make his daughter happy.  Would my father have recognized his cosmic “second chance” and done a better job the second time around?  I know now as an adult, he meant well, I know he did, if only he could have……    Then, my Sunday afternoon spent alone in the present and watching the Heiress would have had a totally different emotional response. And I would not be the person I am today.

I watched the whole movie and found myself reacting to something different for the first time.  I no longer saw the father as a true villain.  Although I felt emotionally closer to the young woman I found myself having an understanding for the values of the father.   Having worked in a demanding career for thirty-eight years from which I recently retired, I can see the value the father placed on his own money, and his wish not to see it squandered on a foolish son-in-law.  This complicates the story, adding to its value as a masterpiece, does it not?  No one is truly right, and no one is truly wrong.  Perhaps I should try to think of my father that way.  There are no good guys, there are no bad guys.  There are just ordinary people trying to get it right at the end of the day.




Losing Blyss Opal Ten Years Ago and Beginning Blyss Blog.


This is the iconic portrait of Opal by Maxine Bochnia taken at six months old in 2005, famous on the internet and proudly displayed at trade shows wherever she works.

Note:  Although I am writing about a very sad subject in this entry of Blyss Blog Encore, it does not reflect the way I feel in the present.  Upon reminiscing about Opal on the tenth anniversary of Her death, my words in quotation are reproductions of documents that described my feelings at that time.  


I must look back ten years now to remember the premature death of the borzoi puppy bitch I loved so much, Opal.   I wrote Opal’s obituary shortly after Her death and posted it on BorzoiNews-L.   Opal is not for public consumption therefore I am not posting this anniversary on Facebook or Twitter, but only mentioning the anniversary in my Blog.  For  the writing of that obituary and its publication on the BorzoiNews-List,  and the first entry in my Blog one year later describing my feelings about my grief, catapulted me into creating Blyss Blog and its continuation, Blyss  Blog Encore.  It was very clear that my grief was still raw one year later and would fester for many years.  There may be some readers who remember Opal’s obituary that I posted that day in the listserv.  It follows:


“‘And a lady always knows when to leave.”

As many of our friends know, our youngest borzoi, “Opal” at Blyss, has been ill for some time. It has been heart wrenching to see her fail to thrive, waste away, and know something was wrong but not know what. To know was worse. She fought hard to live. Sadly, she lost.

Opal will always be remembered for her beauty, sweetness and grace, and that her time with us was much too brief. I believe she had a career as a show dog in her future, although perhaps not equaled to that of her great dam. That stopped being important to us, if only she could be well. Opal was happiest when she could be at home, making everyone feel special with her unique style of affection, tapping you with her paw to get your attention, or leaning into you to be scratched behind the ears, or licking your hands and face. Still, I would be a liar if I denied regretting the loss of so many “what could have beens” for her. Truly, she was robbed. With her passing, we lose much, too: Opal’s infectious joy, the heart of our home.

Opal’s untimely departure makes me recall a wonderful line from one of my favorite movies, Fried Green Tomatoes. Ruth, a much loved main character and a beautiful young woman, dies prematurely. Her friend, Sipsy, comforts their friends with the following words:

‘It’s all right, honey. Let her go. Let her go.  Miss Ruth was a lady.  And a lady always knows when to leave.’

Thank you, Roni and Jennifer Zucker, for sending Opal to Blyss. We shall always be so grateful.

“Opal,” Raynbo Opalesque at Blyss

October 21, 2004 – July 7, 2006

“May we meet again, Dearest Little One.”

Lorene Connolly & Robert Dwyer, Blyss Kennels, Mountainside NJ


Lorene & Opal, 1 year old.


One year later, no less consoled, I began the Blyss Blog with these words on July 6, 2007:

“One year has passed since I had to let Opal go. She was my best dog but She soon sickened and died…Today, I don’t understand why or how I am still here….I lost much by losing Opal. Opal meant the world to me… I tried to go to Her many times, many ways, but I failed. I still wish I could die… Nothing I feel makes any difference so there is no point in having  feelings. Wishes will not bring Her back, and my wishes stand for less. I have honored and memorialized Opal with my entire being and honors and memorials can’t bring Her back. I have cried myself sick and my tears don’t bring Her back. I have sickened myself into depression and depression can’t bring Her back. I have starved myself and starvation can’t bring Her back.  And I have grieved until I am out of grief and grief can’t bring Her back. She is gone.”


Today, nine years after writing those opening words, although I no longer suffer the loss of Opal, I have not forgotten Her.  Instead, I am humbled by the memory that the pain of Her death caused me.  It transcended the emotional, and touched me in all aspects of my life to the point that I became physically and emotionally ill.  I never thought I could be so sick, sick to the point that my life was in danger.  There were other factors involved, true, but nothing has ever caused me so much pain before or since, as holding Her lifeless body in my arms.

It is still as sad today as it was then:  I lost ten years of blissful happiness with Opal when I needed Her so much.  By losing Her life, She lost Her chance to be my dog, when I was Her special human.  Moreover, by losing Her, I knew I would be lonely forever for that special kind of special love for me that only She had.  For that special love, the kind of love that Opal gave to me, was the kind of love that eluded me in all other areas of my life, not only in my three marriages  but going back to the earliest years of my childhood, a time of nightmares, devoid of safety and peace that only nurtured an endless, desperate quest for love as an adult.

When Opal died, Her light died with Her.  I was cast into a suffocating darkness from which I could not escape.  But life is cruel, and it goes on anyway…. Today, ten years later I am here trying to show Her the respect She is due all the while becoming a different person, a recovered person from an emotional blackout that consumed me for many years that followed.  I can recall Her memory now without the horrible pain in my chest that always brought on uncontrollable tears.  Perhaps today, I understand fully that She never really left me, that She was here all the while, always right here by my side.   Today I have the faith and the courage to look down and see Her as She looks up at me.

Paris with baby Opal
Paris with baby Opal

For Opal, I wrote prayers and I wrote poems.  In particular, there is “Opal’s Prayer” and “Hounds of the Steppes”.  They help me to remember she is always alive in my heart.

Closer to full recovery at Blyss; Doing better; Loving Tresor and Jelly

I am further along on my road to recovery after a freak accident walking Tresor caused me to break my shoulder on May 16, 2016.  Most of all, I am finally relieved of the excruciating and relentless pain the injury caused me for a full four weeks.  After that point, I obtained a significant amount of relief and ability regaining motion of my right arm that had been in a nearly frozen position across my chest held up in a most  unnatural way by a sling that day by day was becoming an increasing instrument of torture itself.  Two weeks later, on July 1st, I was told I would be able to drive.  Now my life has returned to normal except for the long hours I must endure of a new torture, physical therapy.  But I will not complain about that.

Moving on, while holed up alone, isolated, in pain, and very depressed, my mind played its usual repertoire of tricks.  First, it told me food did not taste good if I was in pain so I dropped ten pounds that unsettled all of my friends, family and doctors.  I do that, I just do.  I still do not want to eat.  What’s there to eat about? What’s there to eat for?  And extreme physical pain only transferred itself to the already existing emotional pain of being alone (a widow) reminding me of it in a new way.  Still, I hung in there eating as best I could, it only was not enough.

Now that I am feeling better, I am able to appreciate how lucky I am, lucky for my lovely home, my remaining close family members, my close boyfriend, and most of all my two borzoi, Jelly and Tresor.   Those are the things I have to focus on, as the memory of the pain dims into the distant pass more and more every day.  Although it was frightening and horrible, and it isolate me, now that it is over I have regained my equanimity toward life and have achieved a better balance.   Perhaps sometimes it takes a calamity to underscore your gifts for you, perhaps they disappear under the cover of mistakes and tragedies and you think everybody else has it better than you do, but to believe that is wrong.   I am able to raise the blinds in my bedroom every day now free of pain and give thanks for that and so much more.

Regarding the true focus of this blog, which is not me, Jelly and Tresor have been through a lot due to my accident as well.  However, they have ended up in a better place.  Jelly charmed herself into the heart of another dog acquaintance I have had for many years, who has asked to take Jelly with her and her lovely dog when she takes him out hiking in the Watchung Reservation which is almost daily.  Moreover, I found a wonderful man to walk Tresor for me, and that relationship  is working out well for him, and so for me, too.  Tresor is a dog who loves to be walked, and he looks so proud and full of himself as he saunters down the driveway with his dog-walker.  He is such a show-off!  The world is all about him, so he thinks.  He loves his life, and all the people in it.  It is worth everything in the world to me to see him happy this way.  When he comes back, he lavishes me with his affection, never missing an opportunity to rub his head on me, or reach out to me with his paw.  He wants to be close to me wherever I am in the house.  My heart is full of a special love for Tresor.  Every day lived with Tresor is a gift, and there is no pain in the world that could have destroyed that.  We co-exist in a bubble of dog love bliss, I know.  I know it will not endure forever, but while he is here, I will not allow anything to come between us again.  We share a sacred bond.  I never knew a dog could make me so happy as Tresor does.  And Jelly is right there behind him.