It is the first Sunday in 2021 and here I sit home alone. I am alone because my boyfriend has left early to go home to visit his son and grandchildren whom he did not see over Christmas. However, I had something nice to look forward to, a Zoom meeting of the Borzoi Club of Greater New York. It was lead by the President Elisabeth Szymanski, who did a superb job. The Club plans to hold Specialty shows in May and September. Coming up soon is another Zoom meeting of the Central NJ Hound Club Association, also planning upcoming shows. And what about the Borzoi Club of America’s National Specialty Show in May, 2021, in Wilmington, OH? But will they happen, I ask? Will we all get our vaccines to adequately create herd immunity and make it safe to mingle in public places? So many questions. So few answers.
But here in the United States there are fabulously wealthy, very successful people and their wives who have been interviewed on television who believe our vaccine should be given to people who live in other places first, meaning, on other continents. They have no sympathy for what happens to those of us living in the United States. These are individuals who were able to amass great fortunes here, in a country with their talents in the fields of technology and computer science were valued, and were able to market their products around the world. Yet, they have no concern or appreciation for the country who made their educational or professional opportunities available for them to garner their success. It was not a coincidence their spectacular success occurred here where it did. Yet, they feel no need to appreciate or give credit to their own country for their success in any way, and they look down upon it and its ordinary citizens with a repulsed disdain. They lost my respect and admiration long ago. I regard those kind of opinions that are hurtful to Americans to be traitorous.
Other thoughts that have entered my realm of consciousness concern the ongoing saga of my health, the various parts of my body that do not work properly, causing me discomfort and concern. There are two big doctor appointments with specialists on my calendar already for January 2021. This, added to the travails of the world, can truly break me down into despair. Somehow, I am eating better and gaining needed weight. I am reaching out more to friends by writing, emailing or calling. Let my messages be what they are, welcome news or poor intrusions, so be it, whatever. At least I care enough to reach out and perhaps touch the tip of another’s finger with that of my own to let some soul know they are not alone. We have viruses and neoplasms floating around us and in us but we must live on regardless of the horrors we are asked to endure. I have seen death, and watched people die sitting at their bedside. It is not pretty. Medicine as a profession is still helpless many a time when you might expect it to succeed. Give me strength the next time I must encounter it, even if it is that of someone I love, one of my dogs, or for myself.
For the New Year, may I be blessed with tranquility and the comfort of silence and peace. May my thoughts be serene and my love rewarded in kind. I love my Silken Windhound, Kensey, and my boyfriend of ten months, with whom I am still happy. Life has a way of going on from unhappiness and trauma, and I am in some place away from all of that now. I wish the same for all who take the time to stop and read this Blog.
Once again in a most unexpected way it is words from a stranger on Facebook that someone shared to my feed that has caused me to take pause and reevaluate my psychological outlook and my interpretation of the most painful events of my life that have transpired starting in childhood, culminating with the death of my last borzoi in 2019. It was a long run on tragedies and I have been beaten down by them, almost to nothing yet am very physically strong and resilient beyond anything one should expect to be able to do. Yet here I am still standing if not shattered and shaken to my core. How sad it is to have had to live through these tribulations, most of which were unnecessary. I was not alone in my misery, it was due to profound parental dysfunctionality resulting in our suffocation, and all of my siblings endured the pain with me, none coming out any better for the experience. It threw us into odd directions as adults, along tangents that could never intersect, leaving us lonely and alone forever. My joy was my borzoi, given to me by my husband, Bob in 2002, and the jewel of the kennel was my beloved Opal (Raybo Opalesque of Byss) in January 2005. I never saw, nor have ever seen, such an exquisite creature, nor loved anything more than I did her, canine or human. She was the daughter I never had. My great love was reciprocated in kind and then some. But perfect bliss was not to be for I am me, and by 19 months she had passed away from a congenital kidney disease and her littermates followed shortly after. Breeding is not a straight line. The event took place fourteen and a half years ago but it is like fourteen minutes. I ruminate, I cry, I grieve, I write, I speak of her and my never failing love and the loss I suffered. I know it is wrong but I could not help how I felt. Fourteen years of grief wrestled me down and I am drowning. I have almost died of grief related issues by becoming anorexic and having cancer twice in seven years. Opal wasted and so have I. I have longed to be where she is. Life is not livable for me without her. I needed her spirit to keep me going but it is gone, and has been gone a long time now. However, I today I knew I was wrong. Opal is the best thing I ever had, and the best thing that ever happened to me, according to Elizabeth Ammons, from Lessonslearnedinlife.com. She writes as follows:
Found in my Facebook feed, December 2, 2020. L.C.
You can shed tears because they are gone, or you can smile because they lived.
You can close your eyes and pray they will come back, or you can open your eyes and see all that they left for you.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see them, or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday, or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember only that they are gone, or you can cherish their memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind and feel empty, or you can do what they would want.
Smile…. Open your heart…. Love…. And go on.
These are words I need to read, study and hear. My grief of 14 years diminishes Opal. I should celebrate her. Her memoir, and that of all my borzoi, should bring me joy, not make me wish for my death. Yes, she is gone, as are they, but in time we will be together again as if no time had separated us. I must have more faith in destiny. My ugly childhood is over. My borzoi loved me unconditionally and gave me back my happiness, or perhaps gave me a measure of happiness I never had.
As I moved along last month, in spite of my desire not to, in order to put myself out of my predictable, future misery, I perceived in the far distance a white flag of peace. It could almost have been missed it was so remote and brief. Could it be I see the words in a text message after a month of deafening silence, apologizing and wishing to return to my love? Yes, the very same lover who melted down and disappeared when I needed him and his love and strength the most….. But that was then and this is now….. Could I forgive him, he asked….. I replied there was nothing to forgive, please come back.
It would not be what many would have done, but I cannot be lead around like a cow in a herd. I take the risks, the unwise endeavors, the degrading gestures, show my tears, bear my breasts. It does not matter if it is a borzoi or a lover. Love is love for me. Once I love, it will not end pretty. Love charges me a huge fee but in spite of being willing to pay the price I often lose my investment.
But today, he has returned, transformed as if by magic, to the lover he was before he was seized by his own rage and exited the scene, not even knowing why or where he was going. His journey took him back to me. I love him unconditionally, like my borzoi, and took him back. He is my Adorable One, my Little Rock Star, since we spend so much time watching YouTube videos and he knows so much about 1960s British invasion rock music and the derivative bands it spawned, not to mention his guitar collection. I admit I have an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject myself, although my knowledge of classical music and opera equals it. We focus on our love and watch the music videos and rock documentaries of the musicians, amazing how many there are, and just escape our pain for the laughter hat comes from silly things. Someday, one of us will die first, and will leave the other shattered and heartbroken. Until then, we are blissfully in love. We are happy to share our joy with Kensie, although I know how much we are missing by not having a pair of borzoi to watch over things here. He does not get it though, and I believe it would be, how shall I say, “Too, too much…..”. Fortunately, Kensie does a wonderful job behaving just like a borzoi, and that is a very nice, endearing quality of hers.
For a year that commenced in a very bad way, a year that saw COVID-10 descend upon the Human Race and kill hundreds of thousands of people, well over 220,000 Americans, I can look back on it and see stars against the black background.
Here we are now, in new days for our country and the world. It’s been about three weeks now, and it still feels all wrong. Many people have a point and are right, even though they have opposing view points. Many people have died, many unfairly. Any life lost to violence is a sorrow and pains me deeply. Life is to be cherished and celebrated. Every person is a members of the human family, and one person’s joy is all of our joy, as another person’s sorrow is all of our sorrow. Living together in harmony, sparing the use of defamation and striving for consensus is how people should come together to resolve differences.The current American President fails to accomplish these skills that could “unite” the multitudinous masses that comprise America and disparate points of view, thereby only deepening the divisiveness growing dangerously wide in America. Even Generals and great military men of our day are apologizing for showing unity with their Commander in Chief, which he accomplished. He wanted a photo op of himself holding a bible – it was upside down by the way – in front of St. John’s National Cathedral where he does not worship – which he got. It had the effect of boomeranging on him, making him look evil. Where does this stop, I ask you?
If you are me, it stops in gardens, working in them, on them, or simply admiring them. It also includes surrounding yourself with a pack of really huge and gorgeous dogs, like, did I say borzoi? So, in January, I bought a Silken Windhound, although I really wanted another pair of borzoi. It is she, Kensie, who makes visits to formal gardens or fields of wildflowers, or in expansive meadows, or taking long walk together on winding roads that were once forests on the side of a mountain and probably should have stayed that way, even though I have lived here on four of those separate roads over the past 70 years. I also cheat by thinking I make new friends by getting into impromptu conversations with people who complement Kensie on these walks because of her exquisite and unusual beauty. I did not plan to get another dog after my last borzoi, Jelly, died last May.
Today, suffering permeates into the invisible fiber of society, unable to be seen. And, it is just not “there” to be observed by voyeuristic people who want to watch others suffer because it energizes them. The voyeurs will suffer, too. No one will be truly energized by this suffering because it is 100% toxic. Like the COV-19 virus, it is in our DNA now and it will take no prisoners. No one is free of it. Moreover, as the current, elected President fails to represent his people, Americans, nature hates a vacuum, and a charismatic leader will emerge to correct that mistake. I tremble.
I conclude we need our animals, wild flower meadows, and our gardens more than ever today! However, there was a time when grand words were written and sung by those of my generation, and they may speak to us today. Let me share a ballad written in honor of a true peace music festival, written by a Canadian song writer of the highest caliber, Joni Mitchell and sung by her closest friends, David Crosby, Steven Stills, Graham Nash, and Niel Young, also a Canadian.
… We are stardust, we are golden
We are fifty year old carbon
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.
Maybe it is the time of year
Maybe it is the time of man
I don’t know who I am but life is for learning.
We are stardust, we are golden
We are fifty year old carbon
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.
By the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong
Everywhere there was song and celebration
And I thought I saw the bombers turning shot gun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies about our nation.
Found this on Facebook Sunday, May 31, 2020. I did not create this poetic essay, but I modified it to make it more suited to myself. I found it so appropriate to me. It rang true. I shared it with my Facebook friends and thought I would place my edited version here. I edited it to more accurately described my unique experience with my own dogs.
THE DREAM THAT MANY WILL NOT UNDERSTAND:
My Dogs are my personal dream.
One day when I am very old and when I can not walk anymore, it will be in my heart as a trophy of my memories.
I met people who taught me something and have the same spirit as I, and I met others that I’m glad I forgot.
I got wet,
I felt cold,
I felt warm,
I was afraid,
And I stood up,
I even hurt myself, I have been broken,
But also, I laughed out loud inside .
I spoke a thousand times with myself.
I sang and shouted with joy like a madman,
And yes … sometimes I cried.
I have seen wonderful places and lived unforgettable experiences.
I stopped a thousand times to see a landscape.
I spoke with perfect strangers, and I forgot people I see every day.
I went out with my demons inside and returned home with a feeling of absolute peace in my heart.
I always thought how dangerous it is, knowing that the meaning of courage is to advance even when feeling fear.
Every time I go out with my dogs, I think about how wonderful they are.
I stopped talking about it to those who do not understand, and I learned to communicate with others who feel the same as I.
I have met some amazing people I now call friends from all over this big world because of my dogs.
I spent money that I did not have, giving up many things I wanted or needed, but all these things are not worth even one special moment with my dogs.
They are not just a pet or a thing that I own, they are the lost part of my soul and my spirit.
And when someone says to me: “It’s just a dog”,… I do not answer. I just walk away and smile,
A dog….. only the person who loves them understands it.
May God bless my friends and all their dogs….
And the adventure continues. .
FEEL FREE TO COPY AND STICK THE TEXT WITH A PHOTO, ON YOUR WALL …
I have been quarantined in my home since the end of February. And although I have gotten caught up on many chores and my “To Do” list is short again, I am deeply saddened for all that we are going through as a human family. Even church is not open for Sunday services, you have to watch it on Zoom or Facebook, and I have not seen my son and his family, including my grand-daughter, since Christmas Eve. This all feels like a very long time ago. There have been no dog club meetings since the end of February, and all the dog shows I was to have attended have been either postponed or canceled. I keep up with close friends and family by phone, email and FB, but that is not the preferred way. I rarely if ever go to a store, and I am fortunate that my town has a team of volunteers put together by the town to shop for the senior citizens, and I am very lucky and grateful for that. Then, my new dog, Kensie, a Silken Windhound, arrived at the end of January. My predicament would have been much worse without her. Now that spring is here, there is the lawn and garden to keep me busy. But I want all my friends whom I would normally see at the dog club meetings and the shows, to know they are missed. I feel badly that no one has met Kensie yet outside of the neighborhood because I have not left town. I thought I would share some of my Blyss Kennels photos, even though my 10 days of sharing is over. I realized I have so many beautiful photographs, especially of my one litter. Perhaps no one but me really cares, but they were just such happy times here. Because they were so ephemeral, I am grateful for the many photos I have, and the beautiful portraits done by Maxine Bochnia of DigiArt. I am so glad I took the time to remember to take them. They are also at my website, Blysskennels.us. I am open to phone calls to reminisce about the shows 20 years ago when so many people, borzoi breeders, were there whom I truly loved but are gone now, when many people traveled far in their big RVs to come to borzoi specialties or large clusters, when the borzoi entries were large at the specialties and there seemed to be more owner-handled borzoi than there are today.
Can those Halcion days be really over? Can so many special dog women I know have really died of breast or ovarian cancer recently and one more entered hospice this week, expected to die any day ….. And my most loved mentor and friend of all gone, after suffering for a year in a nursing home in PA. Cumulatively, it really is all too much. Hold your borzoi, Silkens, and other dogs, horses or donkeys you may own tight at all times. When they are gone, they are gone forever, never to return.
I have been very busy these days after months of lethargy and depression catching up with work that had been put aside. When the weather become warm, I want to start gardening and taking care of the lawn outdoors. I need to be very disciplined however I can be most tempted to stray when a film I truly love comes on the schedule for Turner Classic Movies. Last night, when I should have been sleeping, the movie scheduled was among my top 5, Splendor in the Grass, directed by Elia Kazan, starring a very young Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty, made in 1961. Another lifetime ago, I may add. I know I can write volumes about this movie and why Iike it so much, but now is not the time. I will say, even having seen it a dozen times, each viewing is as new and raw and shocking as was the first time. It is difficult to watch the growing pains of two young people who love each other trying to do the right thing while everyone around them is acting badly and the world as they know it is undergoing profound social changes, even in the Nebraska heartland. And yes, it is excruciatingly painful to watch them as they come undone and become unrecognizable people from whom they were at the beginning of the story. Together, once so close, they launch their adult lives in such different places, determined not to think much about happiness anymore, and say a simple good by before setting off apart.
As actors, the careers of Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty exploded with stardom and success, including Oscars. It is always a joy to watch their films, each one so different yet rewarding. They talents are boundless. Natalie was taken far too prematurely with a tragedy that defied all logic, as if it were part of the plot of the movie she was making. It never added up to me…… But the death of a great movie star usually does not. They never really die. The movies and the stars I love so much share my heart with the dogs and the horse I have loved so much. I am so grateful for the technology that enables us to watch, rent or stream virtually any movie we want to watch almost anytime for a very small amount of money. They are my companions in loneliness.
Lorene, Karen Ackerman, and Mikhailya’s grand-daughter, Hawk Eye
There are no words to describe the loss and grief I feel knowing all of the Blyss borzoi are gone. And even Jelly, so wisely chosen from Bibikov Kennels in Cross River, NY, and destined by Frances Wright to come to Blyss ever since she was born, has joined them in farewell. I wander around as if I were a blind person, bumping into life’s obstacles, not knowing how to get out of the way of pain. And at the end of the day, every day, I ask myself, “Why am I here?” And I have no answer.
I can only contemplate that as alone as I am in my humanity, even a higher being does not want me.
I had the joy in May of attending the Spring borzoi specialty shows in NJ and PA, and was honored to have Wendy Finlayson of Mayvale Borzoi, in New Zealand, be my houseguest for one week. After the shows, we were invited for a day to Majenkir, a true high point. The last time I was there, it was all of nine years ago, to deliver the puppies of the one Blyss Kennels litter to Majenkir, the inimical “Magnus”, and his littermate who was lost, “Zephyrus”. I say “Zyphyrus” was lost because he was sold to a family on the west coast and was not heard from again after the male owner of the couple died suddenly and he and the wife went to live with one of the adult children. Not long after, “Magnus” was sold to Belisarius Borzoi, in Japan, to the Ozekis. Therefore, after nine years, I had the joy of being invited back with Wendy and other guests, Frances Wright of Bibikov, Don Foran from the UK, Karen & Howard Spey of Bookstor, and a few other guests. It was a lovely May day, and many wonderful photos were taken. We were then treated to a wonderful dinner at a nearby restaurant, The Lake Edge, on the shore of Swartswood Lake, that had the misfortune of burning down a few months later. Karen had many new young dogs to show us that day. The place looked as lush and gorgeous as ever, as if with the passage of time, it only got better. The borzoi never looked lovlier, as if she had honed her craft to such a degree that she no longer bred mere mortal canines, but canine deities. More would be seen of them at the fall specialties four months later. I cannot hold back the piece of intelligence that those particular specimens, a sire and his daughter, are direct descendants of my Magnus, the very borzoi pup I delivered to her on that day in March 2009, a grandson named “Vigow”, and a grand-daughter named “Symbolic”. At the Borzoi Club of Central NJ Specialty Show on September 7, 2019, “Vigow” won Best of Breed, and his daughter, the puppy-bitch shy of 18 months, “Sympolic”, won Best Opposite Sex. I was so totally over the moon happy!
While I was at the Borzoi Club of America Specialty Show in May, in Gettysburg, PA, from May 11 – 18, I renewed my acquaintance with the regional governor in the west, Karen Ackerman, who happens to own a Mikhailya grand-daughter, and a Magnus daughter, “Hawk-Eye”, who courses and does Open Field Coursing. I met her with her husband and Hawk Eye several years ago at the National in Huron, Ohio so I was thrilled to see her again in Bethlehem, PA. I just learned that she has a littermate of Symbolic, Lyra, who courses with Hawk Eye, and I was absolutely thrilled to learn of that, because I know that she has a second progeny of Mikhailya and Magnus, and that puppy bitch, too, has a great life.
I know that Magnus, and therefore my Mikhailya, have progeny all over the world. This makes me so proud, but I wanted to know who they were, how many there were, and where they lived. In order to obtain this data, I needed a report known as a “reverse pedigree”. Therefore, I requested one from an organization that compiles this information, Borzoi Breed Archive, in Vienna, AU. At first they said they did not have this capability and therefore could not provide it to me. Then, I received traumatic, tragic news about Magnus from a most unlikely source.
One day in June, I received a letter from Keizo Kaida, the former employee of Belisarius Kennels and handler of Magnus in Japan. He shared some very unhappy news regarding Magnus, and included photographs. Interestingly, Wendy Finlayson was in all of the photographs. He maintained that in August 2017, Magnus died suddenly, a day after Wendy left Belisarius Kennels after a visit of several days. That I had known, and always thought was “strange”, like, why did my borzoi die because Wendy left? But, Kaiza maintained that Magnus was not well kept in his retirement, he was kept in a kennel that was too hot and damp for him, and he suffered for it. My feelings regarding his death in connection to Wendy is that he heard English spoken. She doted on him, and showered him with attention and affection. She gave him a bath and blow dried him. This was shown in many photos I saw. Surely he looked happy. Then, she left, leaving him behind. My beloved Magnus believed he was going home, and when he realized he was left behind, he died the very next day. Wendy did take two of her own dogs out of the kennel that day when she left, but she left Magnus behind. If only she had taken my Magnus, too.
I had been told when he died that he was a house dog since his retirement, an unfortunate mistruth. How sad….. How sad he was not sent home when Belisarius was finished with him so he could die in New Jersey, where he would be loved. He deserved to be sent home. He made great amounts of money for both Majenkir and Belisarius kennels, and earned them a great many titles.
When I learned about this, I contacted the Manager of Borzoi Breed Archives, Karin Schellner, and told her about the Magnus’s story. I told her how much it would mean to me to get his reverse pedigree. I told her about how he died a slow, sad death, alone, unwell, and in exile in Japan. Karin ran the report for me, with the data she had at the time, going out four generations, all the data she had at that time, gratis. I was overjoyed to receive it, and sent her organization a donation of $100.00. She said the Borzoi Breed Archive was going to make this report available to everyone very soon. The report showed Magnus had 123 progeny all over the world, going out four generations.
I am so proud of this great borzoi whom I call “Magnus” instead of “Max”, his undignified Japanese call name. Such a bitter loss as this can never be measured for the depth and breadth of the pain of it. Let it be a cautionary tale. Guard them well. They give us so much when they trot around the ring and look so pretty doing it. It is not what they would ever do naturally. They do it for us, because we ask it of them, and because they love us. We owe them at the very least the very best of our care when we are through with them.
If anyone wants a copy of Magnus’s Reverse Pedigree, please contact me, Lorene Connolly, at Lorenecon@gmail.com, and I will be happy to share it with you, along with some of his beautiful photographs. He was one of the most handsome borzoi ever to be bred. But his dam was one of the most beautiful borzoi that ever lived…
for photos and information about CH Majenkir My Ksar Mikhailovna “Mikhailya”, the dam of “Magnus”. When My husband, whom she adored, was taken suddenly from us, Mikhailya was inconsolable. I tried to make a good life for her, but in my heart, although I did my best, I know I failed her. I have to live with that knowledge every day. It is one of the biggest regrets of my life.
For the last two years, I needed to work because, sadly, I needed the money. However, working did not help my finances much, especially the last year when I worked in a very fancy department store with beautiful clothes and jewelry. I am a girl with a spending disorder, and it kicked in while I was there. I had to quit that job and I decided to address my cash shortages by closely examining my spending patterns and I found many “mistakes”. Still, I have financial obligations that are considerable and challenging. Not having a borzoi at this time will help keep me on the path to becoming more financially sound. But I have made the decision to attend the Borzoi National Specially this year because I can drive to get to it, and that is a good thing.
I thought about moving to southern Delaware but after a long consideration, realized I could not do it. I could not leave my home, and did not want to be far from NY City where my son and his family live. I have a baby grand-daughter now whom I adore. I am trying to be happy in the here and now, content that what I have is good, just as it is, that I have accomplished a lot, and have every right to be happy. But the real reason is I could not leave my home in Mountainside, or the beautiful Watchung Reservation that borders it where our lives, Bob’s and mine, with our borzoi was lived.
Before deciding not to move, I set about cleaning out boxes and files in the garage and attic. There, I found many items of interest, including my borzoi books, magazines, BCOA Yearbooks with photographs of Blyss Kennels borzoi, and many figurines. I have decorated my house with the figurines and pictures, many of which are beautifully framed. Going through my files, I found all of the correspondence with Karen Staudt-Cartabona of Majenkir Borzoi, the owner of the stud dog for Mikhailya’s litter, that I had done over the years, especially those written during the summer of 2008, prior to breeding Mikhailya. They were long emails, pouring my heart out to her, about how I felt about Mikhailya, and why I wanted her to be bred. Then, I found the email telling her about the birth of the puppies, and how splendid a puppy Magnus was, about his “greatness” even as a newborn! After that, I found a file about “Raynbo”, the kennel of Roni and Jennifer Zucker, from whom we got Paris and then Opal. There were photos of visits to their home: club events, a Match show, picnics, private invitations. I was overwhelmed. Tears flowed…… So much is gone now or different: Roni is dying in a nursing home; Jennifer has to work outside of her home and kennel; Bob is dead; I am old and frail; all of the borzoi of those days are all dead. Nothing is as it was. Although reviewing these materials left me feeling overwhelmed, I was so grateful to have saved and found it all again.
I will say life is unbearable here without Jelly. I am acutely aware that this is all so deja vue. I am taken back almost thirteen years to the death of Opal. This is definitely familiar territory, and not terrain one would want to visit again any time soon.
But if I am devastated, Jelly’s darling dog walker is destroyed. She stopped by today weeping, asking why I put her down when I did, and why I did not wait, saying she would have taken over the payment of the continued veterinary bills. This would not have been feasible, given this woman’s financial situation. Still, I know she would have done it…… there is no limit to the kindness of some people, and she is that kind of person. And Jelly was the kind of dog that would bring it out in someone. A man who accompanied her on her walks with Jelly with his dog was equally devastated and burst into uncontrollable sobs when he heard the news. I decided to go to The Scouting Field in the Watchung Reservations to be with them today, and joined them on a hike to the Deserted Village. I had not done this in several years, probably not since I broke my shoulder walking Tresor three years ago. Jelly loved this daily outing with them, and they told me of her many exploits out on the trail and all the fun she had. I felt she was there with us, and not only Jelly but all the Blyss borzoi, especially Opal, whose image kept flashing before my eyes during this long and rather arduous venture for me. For the longer I had Jelly, the more she melded into Opal, and the more I felt that Opal had returned, and that she had never left me. I had had her with me all these years. Recently, with this new found knowledge, I felt blissfully happy, happier than I had been in years. Then, she was gone. So now, I am grieving again for Opal, too. I feel that every time I reached out and touched Jelly, I was touching something God-like, something beyond reality, and it transformed me into something beyond what I was, something greater, better, beyond anything I could ever be myself. Because of them, Jelly and Opal, especially, but all the Blyss borzoi, I was a better person. Their innate goodness made me good. I bought this beautiful cottage eight years ago for my four borzoi. Now they are all gone. Now, I am alone, and I will be alone forever. It is as if they died, and I died with them. My beautiful house has become a hollow tomb. And I am still here I it, and I don’t know why.