Category Archives: Joy

The Spring Specialty Shows; Updates with the Breeders & the BCOA Specialty Show

I am very excited about leaving for the Borzoi National Specilty Show tomorrow. However the preceding two weeks have been truly special, as well. On May 2nd., Wendy Finlayson, of Mayvale Borzoi, New Zealand, was looking for a host home near the East Coast Spring Borzoi Specialty Weekend in early May, and I w.as recommended to her by Joy Windle. I graciously accepted the opportunity to host her. Therefore, on Thursday, May 2nd I picked her up at Newark Airport and we were on our way. On Friday, May 3rd, there were back-to-back specialties with the Borzoi Club of Greater NY and the Borzoi Club of Delaware Valley. Daniel Foran, who was being hosted by Frances Wright, was judging the Borzoi Club of Greater NY, and it was very exciting to watch his class.

On Wednesday, we were invited to the home and kennel of Karen Staudt-Cartabona.  Fran along with Daniel were there, too, along with Karen and Howard Spey. It could not have been a lovelier day. There we saw many puppies and adult borzoi of various ages. Among them was a bitch named “Mericlone. This is a “Mikhailya” Grand-Daughter and a “Magnus”/”Max” daughter, making her a half-sister of Belisarius “Lucy”. As I stood besides her, caressing her, she stood quietly besides me. As shd did, she tapped me several times with her paw, as if she understood my significance to her life, and was trying to tell me something. She was exquisite. Later, we got to see more puppies and dogs, and it was a wonderful day. Wendy critiqued Mericlone’s litters; Mericlone recently had three, along with some of the other dogs. Wendy was very impressed with the high quality of the dogs Karen had at this time.

The last time I had been to Karen’s home was when I gave Karen the puppies that were hers from the Blyss litter, “Magnus” and a third pup, 9 years ago.   It was a bright, sunny day in March, 2009.  It was hard for me to give up my puppies. I knew it would be my only one, and I would have given the world to keep them, but this would not be possible.   I knew “Magnus” would go on to greatness with Karen. Regarding the third puppy, his owner sadly died shortly after getting him and it was hoped that one of his adult children would take him in. Therefore, I lost touch with him. I hope and pray that he did well, too. It’s funny how life is. Three men associated with this litter died at that time the litter was born. Mr. Ozeki, the father  of Mai Ozeki Hirai, the owner of the third puppy, and my husband. But today, it feels like a lifetime ago. I had to sell our beautiful, spacious home and kennels at the top of the first ridge of the Watchung Mountain range in Mountainside, NJ, and downsize considerably on a small property at its base. Life is difficult, unpredictable and capricious. One must always be ready for what lies ahead, for the most unexpected.  At least I was able to keep all my borzoi, then when they died, I was able to get Jelly from Fran, who wanted me to have her in 2010 when she was a puppy, shortly before my husband became ill.

 

Passing Days at Blyss without Jelly

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.

 

“I will by you a new life.” Everclear. In rock song lyrics, not Blyss.

I returned to the workplace full time on Tuesday, September 4, 2018, after working part time for one year, moving to a different retail store.   I was surprised to  have the position offered to me.  Sadly, I needed the money as well as more things to fill my time.   I was tired of having open ended unstructured days trying to navigate life as a widow very much held down by the responsibilities of keeping borzois and the upkeep of a home in an area of the country with a high cost of living.

For good news, it appears Jelly’s condition of chylothorax has disappeared.  I thought  it was always fatal.  There was no mistake in the diagnosis.  Her chest was tapped twice, with a considerable amount of fluid extracted.  Although it is perplexing , it is joyful to know she is well.

I have to stay focused on the blessings life has tossed my way, the ability to pay my bills, and the health of Jelly.  Her breeder and I are even discussing the possibility of showing her as a Veteran at the upcoming Borzoi Club of America National Specialty Show in May.  She finished her championship as a puppy, and this would crown her life.

Life goes along in these twisted, bizarre ways.  The return of Jelly’s health may portend to return her to the show ring where she began.  This would be her personal victory over death.  Many people would be happy for her, and I think for her breeder and me, too.  It would be a very happy ending to the story of Blyss Kennels, a story that began with the dramatic death of a precious puppy bitch, followed by that of my husband, leaving me alone and confused not knowing where to turn.  I would hope I brought it to the right place; a place with happy beautiful dogs and my life where it belongs.

Lucy’s Farewell

After having written about Lucy and her many accomplishments over the last two years, the Grand-daughter of our Blyss Kennels bitch, Mikhailya, from the one litter she had, you are no stranger to her  phenomenal list of accolades.  However, if you have not followed the story or are new to the Blog, allow me to reproduce the post that Valerie Nunez-Atkinson, her handler of two years, wrote about her on the eve of putting her back on the plane to Japan.  Upon arrival, she will return to Belisarius Kennels to Mai Ozeki Hirai, her original owner and breeder.   Her great sire, “Max”, Mikhailya’s puppy, sadly passed last August and will not be there to greet her at her homecoming.  Valerie’s Facebook post follows, documenting Lucy’s show career and accomplishments:

May 8 at 9:52pm

 

See you soon…..on her way home to Japan

 

The time has finally came, forced to say our goodbyes, The Lovely Lucy is on her way home.

We’ve dreaded this day as we have done in the past and no doubt will in the future. It’s the hard part of opening our hearts to those that come to us, those that we welcome and take in as family.

Lucy, with us for over 2 years exceeded all expectations…2015 Top Dog All Breeds in Japan with her great handler Shota, AKC’s All Time Top Winning Borzoi, the #1Hound in 2017, National Specialty BISS, 3x BOB winner at the Westminster KC, 2x Hound Group Winner at Westminster KC and lastly RBIS at the 2016 Westminster KC….and she has also already produced a National Specialty Winning Son (WD & BOW)….All of that aside, she was just our dog that we loved and adored. She smashed every record and set more but for us she is the dog that stole our hearts with her sweet soft nature, silly snorts, scootie butt zoomies, her glamorous self and her heart that gave us her all every single time she stepped into the ring. And, that says it all considering she IS a Sighthound bitch, lol;)) When she came to us we didn’t know if she could withstand or have the want to show for what is expected here in the States….we were ready to accept that reality if it wasn’t in her heart. But, after her breathtaking USA debut at Westminster KC and her heart stopping RBIS from Famed Breeder Judge; Richard Meen we decided to see what she could do….. she readily and happily stepped up to the plate and the winning began….her National Specialty came from another Breeder Judge; Ron Spritzer (Carol Spritzer) with her Son, standing behind her, another Honor. Her AKC All Time BIS record was awarded by none other then Icon Mr. Frank Sabella, truly special in that he was a unexpected judge change that day and so thrilled to have USA owners Risky M. Molnar (Michele and Jamie Danburg on hand to celebrate the day with us.

Lucy gave Antonio his FIRST USA BIS with CJ going RBIS, another memorable day. She and Antonio went on to be awarded another 9, 10 in total for the Team of Antonio and Lucy. Her BIS total 28 in USA and 13 in Japan, career of 41 All Breed BIS’s. Much of Lucy’s success is a credit to Antonio , it was all on him to keep her in tip top shape mentally and physically. Her muscle was hard, her coat glorious (when in coat after all she is a bitch and was never ever on Cheque drops) she naturally came into and out of coat as any coated female would. When out of coat and breaking the all time record under Frank Sabella….his comment was “all the better to see all her beautiful curves, both a perfect Topline and Underline” from the Man that knows it was indeed a huge compliment to her outstanding quality and type. So, Antonio thank you, thank you for all you have done for Lucy in her time with us. She adores you like all the others do a true testament to your soul. For that I’m forever grateful.

To Michele and Jamie , we were so honored to have you join our team. Without your help, encouragement and never ending support Lucy would not of had this amazing career. We all love you both.

To Shota Hirai, Mai Hirai, Kyoko Ozeki, ?? ? Minoru thank you for choosing us. There have been many others in the decade of showing for you and no doubt many more to come but there will only be ONE LUCY. We love you all;)

To all that cheered us on through the years, we thank you. The fellow breeders that supported us we are forever grateful. And to all that was on Team Lucy, thank you??.

We have cried tears of joy many times with her, today the tears of sadness from our hearts, as she heads home to Japan.

The accolades are many indeed but today our hearts are breaking as we must say ….see you next time Lucy, forever Team #welovelucy.

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I will admit it is difficult for me to read this.  An era of historic borzoi conformation annals comes to an end with Lucy’s return to Japan.  My one comment about Mikhailya’s breeding has been consistent:  It proved to be very important to the borzoi breed  history, andir made so many people so happy.  Then why am I weeping?  As I often write on Facebook, “Tears……”

 

The many ways that dogs (borzois) move on

I have been greatly troubled by the winter weather since the death of Tresor in early December.  It is early May now.  Winter lingered on long, keeping snow flakes well in sight, and worries of icy roads and driveways  on everyone’s mind.  Where was spring, we all wonder.  My barometer is the color of the mountain.  The day the color of the mountain changes from black to green, it is sure to be spring.  That happened about a week ago.  And with it, the blossoms of the flowering fruit trees soon followed.  All seemed right with the world.

Jelly developed what looked like a fatty tumor on her chest.  The mostly off and on again boyfriend, “LT”, insisted I take her to the vet as if it were a matter of life or death.  So I made an appointment and took the long trip to Washington, NJ.  I shall be brief…..  her heart beat sound was “muffled”…..  it was determined at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls that she has chylothorax.  They removed one liter of white, fatty liquid from her chest.  Now she is on a pill, a flavonoid called Rutin, three times a day, and eats a no fat prescription kibble.  She seems totally cured.  I have an appointment with the veterinarian in Washington on Monday, four days from today, for a follow up visit.  I am hoping for a clear heart sound.  In the meantime, Jelly’s behavior is totally normal.  She does not act ill and never did.  Dogs with this disease are usually very ill and must have surgery or they will die.     We are so lucky Jelly seems to be doing so well.

In life, so much can change in the matter of one heart beat.  I am very much aware of that and live in a state of suspended terror every day for the welfare of my borzoi.

My theory of how this happened is that it was a physical manifestation of her stress about losing Tresor.  I am very lucky she has not died already.

Blyss in black; He is gone.

I had to let Tre go suddenly yesterday during a visit to  a veterinarian’s office. It was nine years & three days after he was born there. It was the happiest day of my life when his great dam, “Michailya”, gave us our only Blyss Kennels litter. He was the best thing I had to show for my life, a life characterized by extremely hard work and littered with scores of heartache & tragedies. There was never a finer spirit of a borzoi than my Tresor. I know he wanted to stay longer with me but I could not let him suffer to do it. Farewell, CD Blyss O’Majenkir Heavenly Tresure “Tresor”!   Run Free with all the other great borzoi spirits in heaven until we meet again. I know I will find you there!Photo by Maixine Bochnia, Fandogs.

A Long Blyss Hiatus

Feeling so much like a stranger in my own mind, not really knowing how to handle the high barres I have set for myself with the inner voice command, “You will do this!” I have been challenged to the point of exhaustion from running away from myself and everything except Jelly and Tresor.  I have embraced them closer to my heart than ever, they mean so much more now. When I look around me, I see that Tresor and Jelly are all that remain.  And yet, their coming to me was the result of so random and haphazard events that collided for a moment in time with me, for each one separately.

It is autumn again, and in autumn, I seem to have reasons to go to the veterinarian to take care of problems.  This time, poor Tre was sprayed by a skunk in the yard, followed by a physical encounter with another creature  that bit his leg so badly that it required a veterinary visit.  So we have been off to Washington, NJ a few times now, and still have one more trip to make.

Tre is still who he his, full of great male pride and fire!  I thought I could walk him myself again, and bought a prong collar.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  The prongs did not stop him from dragging me across the street to have a fence fight with the neighbor’s Golden Retriever, a youngster who has a fire in him as well.  He had to be dragged off the fence by his owner before I was able to regain control over Tresor again.  So, it was back across the street and into the house before I broke another bone.

Sadly, whomever I find to help me with Tresor, with walks, dog sitting and general help whom I can trust, either disappears, moves, gets sick, whatever; they go away.  I always take these losses hard, knowing how they impact Tre.   None of the losses is worse than the recent loss of LT who made a sweeping exit with a major hissy fit.  Aside from destroying me, but what am I, he knows this hurts Tresor the most because he loves him.   My Boy.  I look at borzoi photos on FB all day, and see pictures of happy borzoi running in big fenced yards, or free in fields or meadows, and my heart breaks for all the shortcomings my life attained.  Yes, I fall short.   And, there are the other people in my life, they just turn their backs for seemingly no real reason and walk away in rage….. this is a pattern that mystifies me.   Then there are the ones that stay……  they  contract fatal diseases and die.  As I write today, that is happening now with a wonderful man who has been Tresor’s most recent steady friend and a truly good person we know.  I am truly devastated about him.

Not to be overly sad and negative, I have tried to find my strength amidst all of these travails.  I identified an unusual idea that I thought would be good for me, regarding an employment opportunity, and I followed up on it.  It turns out that I now work part time at a local department store.  This has really been a huge help for me.  It puts something else in the forefront of my thoughts, something that attests to my strength, diverting me from my pain.  I am still active in my dog clubs and attend their meetings, programs, and shows, and I still serve on the boards where I have those responsibilities.  However, I have a new world that I have entered, one that demands making new social relationships, and addresses my financial shortfalls, since owning two borzois on a retirement income is not easy.

More about this later……     My new pattern of absences from home has been noticed by a certain borzoi…. and he has let his disapproval be known perfectly clearly!

Mature Tresor

The September Specialty 2017 Shows

Today,  September 7, 2017,  I enjoyed seeing my borzoi breed friends & mentor at the Central NJ Hound Assn Show in Bridgewater NJ. Much fun getting caught up, & esp enjoyed the borzois of all ages. So many new puppies! And other puppies are becoming so grown up!

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On Saturday, Sept 9, same show grounds, North Branch Park, is the Borzoi Club of Central NJ Specialty show! Planning to enjoy a great Specialty! More members & borzoi than ever.

Best of Breed was awarded to a Boy nearly still a pup, and one that I had the joy of watching grow up, since he is a nephew of my Jelly and I was previous welcome to visit (but no more…..), the stunning young Majenkir line dog, Bibikov You Know My Name, “Hunter”, owned by N24, sired by one of N5’s stunning stud dogs.  I went over to congratulate N24, but when I did, Hunter jumped out of his skin, standing up on two legs and reared, placing his front paws on my shoulders with great enthusiasm – and I let him.  I hugged and kissed him, and told him what a good boy he was and how much I loved him.  He was so happy to see me.  What can I say…..   Animals are so true, so pure……  they either like you or they don’t, they don’t have artifice about it.  I was so happy for him that I stayed to watch him in the Group, but unfortunately, he did not make the cut.  But it was a joy to sit ringside and see him in what will be his first of many Group classes.  Hunter has a great show career ahead of him.  He defeated many specials in the Best of Breed ring that day, and I was overjoyed for him.

Blyss news, how it is not always good…..but how it is made great again

Eventually, death comes to visit all of our kennels and when it does, it is never fair and we are never ready.  Whatever their age, we never believe we had them long enough.  The grief goes deep, creating a wound that does not heal easily.  I learned of one sad, untimely death, a littermate of Tresor’s,  a name I cannot mention without making my world tremble.   Two weeks later, I learned about the imminent death of one of Jelly’s littermates; that was almost too much for me to absorb.  What if I suddenly lost them, the way I lost Opal?  Could I go on?

The success of Magnus in Japan, Tresor’s littermate, will always be something of which I am proud.  He made N5 and  his new owner in Japan, N38, very happy.  But here in the States, I felt a chill from a wall of silence constructed around him, as if he never existed.  Then, his female get, “Lucy” came over and was co-owned by a couple on the West Coast, and very actively campaigned by an expert handler for two years.  She did magnificently well in 2016 and 2017, as I have frequently written about.  The more and better she did, the less I heard from people, and then she was never mentioned.  When Magnus and Lucy’s name was brought up by me, disparaging remarks were made.  I realized I had no friends in the breed except my mentor, N5, who co-bred Mikhailya with her stud-dog, Regal.

In discussing the passing of Magnus this week, I shared my experience with her.  I hope she can forgive me for replicating this email without asking her permission.  Somehow, I do not think it negatively reflects on her, but is a positive statement about all she has accomplished.

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Gmail Lorene Connolly <lorenecon@gmail.com>

Another sad passing

2 messages

From:  Lorene Connolly <lorenecon@gmail.com> Wed, Sep 13, 2017 at 10:51 AM

To: Karen Staudt-Cartabona <Majenkir@sprynet.com>

Dear Karen,

I don’t know if you know, but I am sure you do, but I received a special message from M—about a week ago telling me that our Magnus boy, their Max, had died on Aug. 31st. She thanked me profusely for him & told me he was a special borzoi who had done so much for her. He had been tired & living with her mother for some time, and she has been devastated by his passing. She asked me not to write about it out of respect for her mother so I have not & never will.

It was nice to read her kind words & gratitude. I have sensed for a long time from “friends”(?) A real wall of silence about his & Lucy’s accomplishments. Others have ended their friendships with me.

I know you think I am too sensitive, & perheaps I am for my own good, but certain things you know.   I won’t speak or write of it anymore on FB or my blog, it’s over now. But l still have my Tresor, and now the ill will has been transferred to him. Again by false friends.

In my opinion, we bred an outstanding litter together. Things would have been different for me had Bob not died so young, but he did. Now, I gave an aortic aneurism that I must be brave about.

And that is what I have to live with every day. No more litters, no more puppies, no more show dogs. Just the joy the borzoi I owned or bred or currently own bring me.

Love,

Lorene

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Karen Cartabona <majenkir@sprynet.com> Wed, Sep 13, 2017 at 3:42 PM

To: Lorene Connolly <lorenecon@gmail.com>

Hi Lorene;

Yes, I do know and yes, it is sad. Thank you for writing. It happened just after Wendy’s visit, which may have been just too traumatizing for Max. Sadly he was not that old.

Kyoko sent me a post about it, she said that her heart is broken and I believe it is. She hadn’t told anyone up to that point, so I waited for her to make the announcement to the public.

What has passed, is the truth and cannot be changed. How nice for Bob, that you and he produced the Max and Lucy legacy. Without you both having the litter who knows what could have happened or how different all might have been. There is certainly much to be proud of and nothing to keep you from taking your share of the fame of what Max has done.

Those “friends” that you are writing about are riding on the bloodline themselves, and sadly, do not have any idea how to proceed. As has one kennel after another in the past who have flown then crashed and burned.

You do not need and are actually better off without those “false friends” who do so much harm in the long run. I have learned to have and have grown a thick skin because of all that is thrown at me. At this point in my life I do not care any longer, the history of Majenkir and it’s influence on Borzoi cannot be changed.

We have to have a meeting in the near future, see you there.

Karen

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Conclusion.  For me, I have to accept that this one person, “Karen” , (N5), Karen Staudt-Cartabona  herself, is the only time I will openly identify an individual in my Blog.  I do so because  in this case she most deserving of accolades.  Karen is my mentor and sold Bob and me, mere newcomers at the time, our foundation bitch, “Mikhailya”, a world-class bitch of a Majenkir and Ksar co-breeding who did so much.  Karen took a chance and trusted us.  Moreover, because Karen is so deserving,  she should be identified buy name so her excellence and diligence and life time commitment to the borzoi breed can be recognize by all to see.  Today I understand, more wisely, that Karen is the only person who has to recognize and respect me in the breed and/or the dog world for me to be happy.     The silence of the other breeders simply doesn’t matter.

 

 

 

B Match Show for Borzoi Club of Central New Jersey

On Sunday, August 6, 2017, the Borzoi Club of Central New Jersey held its B Match  in Colonial Park, in Somerset NJ during the morning, followed by a generous luncheon under the pavilion for all to enjoy.

The Match was somewhat a surprise for me, bringing out some new members for the first time with their borzoi and their family members, and new puppies that had been acquired by members that were totally new to me.  It was at the point that I felt I should go over to N5, my mentor, and ask her to select one of her youngsters for me!  Surely, I was missing out!

Following are some of the photos taken that day!

Jennifer Zucker’s Handling Class; many were first come newcomers.

 

Judge Judith Teicher with her winner.

 

 

Match Participants