However in the world are we going to go on living with a pandemic that is infecting exponentially more people every day and killing a million people globally, and at least here in the USA, there is no realistic plan or a consensus between the medical community and political leaders how to approach a solution. Why the politicians are second guessing the medical experts while cases and deaths increase at a terrifyingly alarming rate, I cannot imagine. Then, there are many people who write on Facebook that Dr. Fauci is part of a Communist plot to close down the country to allow it to destroy our economy so Communism can take over, and something like a Revolution can succeed, demonstrates that there is a very strong delusional right wing core of fanatics trying to destroy the very efforts we need to make as a country to keep its citizens safe from a horrible illness that could lead to a premature death or horrible suffering. When you are ill, do you consult a physician or a politician? I like to contact a physician! I wonder why.
I wrote the following on Facebook today.
In response to the current debate over whose idea is right about how to flatten the curve in countries or US states with increasing cases of COVID-19, in March, activities and places were closed or shut down, and people were advised to social distance, self quarantine & wear masks to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the population and flatten the curve. It was very effective in accomplishing that when citizens heeded the advice.
What is there not to understand here? Medicine is a hard science based on theories proven with experimental results that are statistically significant. Politics is a social science, which is a soft science, lts data makes it more difficult to prove theories that reach statistical significance because the variables in designing social science experiments are more difficult to control. If I were going to follow the advise of either President Trump or Dr. Fauci, I would choose Dr. Fauci, our country’s leading Infectious Disease specialist. Medicine is a hard science and its facts, when studied, always yield the same results.
To repeat the advice of Dr. Fauci:
Do social distancing,
Avoid large gatherings.
Wear masks and
We disregard this advice at our peril.
They are ALL the right thing to do.
17Yvonne McGehee, Barbara Binder and 15 others
I want to follow the science, not the politicians. Something to think about, for sure.
So far, summer has been lovely. Unfortunately for me, I have spent way too much time performing grueling labor. First, I created flower beds, involving bringing in soil and mulch. There were two long flower beds involved, both about sixty-five feet long. I don’t know how my fragile, petite body did it. After that was done, I had to turn my attention to the deck with the peeling paint, that the contractor said was “normal” and “okay”. I did not agree. He did not stand behind his work. Angry words were spoken, and I said, well, I will fix this myself. On the outside, I was strong and tough, but on the inside, I was devastated and depressed. I can’t imagine anyone I know having to do anything even remotely like this daunting a task. It made the garden work look easy. But, my depression only made me tackle it with more ferocity. I was not going to let this mean man get the better of me. Home Depot is my new Bloomingdales. I can go in and not even have to ask where things are anymore. I can take care of myself now. It is my goal to reverse the damage done to my deck by staining it after the wood was clean and sanded.
Aside from that debacle, I see many of my Facebook friends are enjoying beautiful vacations. A very respected pair of twin sisters recently rescued some horses, and used them to go on a horse-b ack riding vacation out west, which is where they live. They took photographs of the beautiful scenery their journey with their horses took them. I cannot even imagine a more enjoyable vacation than spending time on a journey through the American west with a beloved sister and on horseback. It struck me as such a precious gift to give one another, that their closeness allows they share so much the same passions. They are both sight-hound breeders, and AKC judges. I am truly in awe of them and their accomplishments. I was sent several other Facebook vacation photos of friends in other pretty places enjoying themselves, but they all paled in comparison to those of the two sisters riding in the west.
I was thrown a cruel dagger this week from a cruel woman, a woman who just spits out venom without any thought of how she sounds, or the damage she does to the human spirit. It has gotten her in trouble before, and she certainly has gotten herself in trouble with me, and my friendship with Jelly’s breeder, N24. That is unfortunate. The woman spoke for her, alleging I am no longer welcome at N24’s home because she does not like my Tresor, with whom I travel and bring there with me. We never had a problem with him there because she has adequate space to keep him separated from her one male, and he is very well behaved around bitches. This is a very tender place in my heart, or so I found out. I cannot bear to think that people have ill will toward My Boy, who, along with myself, has been through so much. We lost Bob to cancer six years ago. It caused me to have to give him up. then, two years ago, he was suddenly given back. And yes, it is a bit beyond my ability to handle him. I need help. However, my home has a very good set up for him, and unless there is an accident with one of the fences, or a door – more about that follows – Tresor is safe and secure here with me. He is a wonderful borzoi, full of love and happiness for people, and all he asks of life is to be walked a few times a day to be happy, and loved in return.
Since I do my own yard work now, I was outside and forgot for a few minutes that the garage door had been left open when I went into the house for a few minutes. This causes a breach in the security for my borzois. It was pure carelessness on my part that allowed this to happen. The last time I saw them, my borzois were on my bed in the bedroom asleep. I was just finishing a light lunch when a man who lives a block or so from my house rang my front door-bell. When I came to the door, he said my dog had been in his yard, and had killed the animal now at his feet. I looked down through the screen door, and saw a dead, red colored creature. I thought it was one of his cats, so I began to profusely apologize. He said it was not, it was a young fox! I assumed it was Jelly, and we went out together to find her. She was spotted right away in the neighbor’s yard next door, having not gone far, and was just taking a stroll through the yards of the neighboring properties. When we spotted “her”, we all called out to “her” and “‘she” sauntered over. However, to our extreme surprise and shock, it was NOT Jelly at all, it was Tresor! He knew how to sneak out of the house and get off the property, and once out, took himself on a hunting trip. I felt so proud of him, that he showed intelligence by not running away in the street, or going the half-mile south down the road to US Highway 22, or run a half-mile north into the Watching Reservation, and may never have come back. He wanted to get out, and he did it the smartest way possible, on a hunting trip close to home, and he brought me back his prize.
I also saw today on Facebook that Lucy, the great show bitch, who is the grand-daughter of our very own Majenkir bitch, “Mikhailya”, won a Group 1 placement at show in Kansas. She certainly gets around. Again, her handler looks like she is having the time of her life!
The week started badly, with many burning tears cried for the painful words I had to hear spoken about my Boy. The thought that people think ill of him disgusts me. He is a great borzoi and I take wonderful care of him. I care for him and Jelly to such a degree that you can call it devotion, and commitment. They are my lifeline now. I know they are not perfect, they are flawed, and probably nobody would ever want them but me, but they are mine to love absolutely and unconditionally. That is how they love me.
From April 9 – 16, 2016, the Borzoi Club of America held its annual National Specialty Show in Kansas City, KA. Borzoi from all over the world attended, although most were from the continental United States. The bitch, Lucy, the grand-daughter of Blyss Kennels’ Mikhailya, the daughter of Mikhailya’s puppy, “Magnus”, the same bitch that won the Reserve Best in Show at the Westminster KC Show on February 16, 2016 was going to be there, I knew, to compete in Best in Show. I was excited about attending and was letting it be known among my closest friends, especially Jelly’s breeder, N24, that I was willing to go with her and share expenses. Another local friend and breeder, N31, had recently approached me about going with her. I was thrilled and I told her that I was willing to go out to Kansas with her and share expenses. However, nothing ever came of it. Close to the last minute, I was stunned to learn that N24 had accepted a ride and invitation to spend the week with my mentor, N5. As it turns out, N5 owned the stud dog of N24’s current litter, so the plan to go together had a lot of credence and logic to support it. Still, I was shocked but remained gracious in both thoughts and words throughout the ensuing conversation. I simply said, “Of course you must accept. How wonderful for you and your puppies. You will have a wonderful time.”
The following week, they were expected to be in Kansas City by Monday morning, April 11, 2016, when N24 needed to show her puppies in Futurity, and on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 when they were entered in Sweepstakes. I had every reason to believe they had both arrived as they had planned. But on Wednesday, I saw a photo on Facebook put up by N5 saying she was driving out that very day and with a completely different person. Therefore, where was N24, and how did she get to Kansas City?
I decided to investigate. I phoned my other primary mentor, N7, whom I knew was at home. She informed me that N5 canceled her trip plans with N24, suddenly and abruptly the night before the scheduled trip, on Friday, leaving her on her own to get to Kansas City. However, when N24 realized she was without a companion for the long journey, she did not call me. Instead, she reached out to S31, the same person who had spoken to me previously. Therefore, my friends (N5, N24, and N31) were all sitting ringside together to see Lucy win Best in Show. Knowing this, I had to make a tough evaluation of who my friends were and were not.
As it turned out, Lucy did win “Best in Show” at the Borzoi National Specialty. On Saturday evening, however, the reaction on Facebook about her win was very subdued. I could not even tell for sure that Lucy had even won. So, I placed another phone call to N7 because I knew by then she would have known. However, she demurred. I had to wait until the following day when her owner posted their win results. Not only was Lucy’s win for Best in Show explicitly confirmed, her son, “Vinto” was there, too, from the classes . Apparently, he won Winner’s Dog. Funny how N7 failed to mention that when we spoke on the phone.
In the fifteen years I have had borzoi, I have had so few successes in the breed that my kennel can almost be considered a back-yard hobby kennel. Many tragedies struck Bob and me that could have taken us down and out altogether. But no, I persevered even after Bob died in 2011. Certainly the death of Opal took me out emotionally for several years. Then, Casanova and Paris did not make it in the show ring. Although Mikhailya did wonderfully well, she broke her leg in January 2008, which was a huge expense and kept her out of the ring for years. When we bred her, we took the puppy, Tresor, and he was very sickly for his first two years. That again drained our financial resources.
However, we were more than the sum of our tragedies. Mikhailya lifted us far above that. Mikhailya was our shining star, and Bob and I worked hard to attain her high standard. We owned her for eight-and-a-half years, and I kept her after Bob died. Her breeding in 2008 was my idea and I begged N5 to let us do it, since she had long lost interest in Mikhailya and no longer cared about breeding her. Yet, I persisted, and it produced one of her greatest dogs, “Magnus”. I have much to be proud of. A dog of my direct lineage, with N5, won the Borzoi National Speciaty and came a hair away from winning Best in Show at Westminster.
Today, looking back, I am so proud of Mikhailya. I feel she was robbed by dying at ten. I wish she could have lived longer to have seen this, or to have known it, or to have least lived to have seen Tresor come home as he did in Juy 2015. In one litter, she proved to be one of the greatest producers of her time. Was this “luck” I ask you? No, emphatically not. I planned this litter for several years hoping for the right time to come and it did. I was no longer working in a job outside of the home. But even that would not have been enough to ask to have her breed. I asked for the breeding because I believed in Mikhailya; I had faith in my bitch. Looking at her pedigree, as well as from living with her, I saw a very sound bitch from borzois (males and females) who not only won in the ring but produced in the whelping box. Bob and I really did not deserve her, she way outclassed us. However, we always gave her our best, never realizing what it was that she would be giving us.
Moreover, I embrace Mikhailya to my heart in my dreams, and there, in my arms, I kiss the soft fur on her neck, her “ruff”. Her body is soft and warm, not cold and stiff the way it was when she was euthanized. Why did she have to die, I ask, why, why? I’ve grown to love her more and more every day since then. I wish I could tell her, to let her know. I wish I had been a better owner to her, that I did not have to go to work, that I was always home with her the way I am now with Jelly and Tresor, her son. I wish I had more money, so I could have given her more opportunities in the ring, or hired a good professional handler on the level she deserved. I wish for so much! Mikhailya, who gave us that one beautiful litter, the litter that included Magnus, the litter that gave me my beloved Tresor, putting an end to grief once and for all, for she, Mikhailya, was a once-in-a-lifetime-dog. To me, her worth is greater than the sum of all the girl-friends who left me behind at the National when her get did so well. It was the honor of living with Mikhailya bathed in her special love: love that comforted me when Opal died, love that comforted me when Bob died, that special love, Mikhailya’s love, was the best win of all.
I received an surprise today regarding Tresor. He was unexpectedly returned to me. The Boy has come home. I am elated, levitated, stunned into serenity and bliss. Who knows the whys and the wherefores. It is, it just simply is.
But my joy is sadly at the expense of another. Those of his former home, his supposed forever home, must be so sad to have lost him. They have had him for four years. How can they bear it? It is not like one of them died, as did my husband. They are two young, beautiful, healthy adults – they have it all! I am perplexed.
I have felt for some time he was not being kept well. He was not being abused, but I had clear visions that he was not being exercised, or he was being crated for long periods of time while his owners both worked all day. I envisioned that they spent less and less time with him, and he was very lonely. I visited him about once a year, and I felt very strongly that he wanted to be with me, not them. Last summer, I begged the wife to return him to me, but she ignored my pleas. I did not have the strength, going through chemotherapy for breast cancer, to fight at the time. She knew that so nothing happened. I pined for him but told myself it was hopeless. I resigned myself that he was lost to me. I accepted the pain. Now, it is ended.
Tresor is a tall order. He is not for the feint of heart. I will have to learn better how to handle a dog like him, and that will mean bringing in a dog trainer. I believe his demons that create difficulties for him can be put to rest. Mikhailya’s son. I long for the bliss those two words engender in my soul. Mikhailya’s son, Tresor, Love.
Today, Jelly’s co-breeder, N24, and I took Jelly and Jelly’s dam to see a vet held in high esteem by serious dog breeders. We had some questions regarding blood work that we had done at a clinic that showed Jelly was positive for Lyme and Anaplasmosis and what if anything should be done about it. The vet had a good suggestion, additional tests (notice plural) to measure titers and antibodies, to which I consented. I then was talked into using a different anti-flea and tick product instead of the perfectly fine one I had at home. At the check out desk, my bill was $500.00, and I was positively stunned. And this was for a wellness visit, for a seemingly perfectly healthy dog. This phenomenon has so much become a problem today with pet ownership.
I am also having Jelly shown because she is worthy of it, to see if she is a candidate for a Grand Champion. She has points toward it already. Next weekend, she is going away with a handler, N3, whom I trust and who owns her sire. In several more weeks, N24 and I are taking her to the annual Borzoi National Specialty show in Ohio where N3 will handle her there in the Best of Breed class.
I can hear the clinking sound of the cash register as a continuous din in my mind. What have I done? Moreover, a different breeder, N27, has a bitch that is due to have a litter any minute now, and a puppy is on reserve for me! Then I will have two show dogs! I have gone mad.
I am totally immersed in my love of borzoi but how to pay for it is becoming challenging. I am almost done renovating my house but a certain person has a way of still finding work for him to do, for pay, of course. I wonder what he would do or say if I said I cannot use him for a while, for about three months or so, while Jelly is out with her handler and the new litter is whelped. My modest cottage has the amenities of an upscale designer home by now. Even I know I must slow this sport of spending down.
But my home is really Blyss Kennels, and it is all I have. It is filled with the memories of the original Blyss borzoi who moved here with me in December 2012: Casanova, Mikhailya, and Paris. Now, they are gone, and I see my home as a something of a tribute to them and what Bob and I achieved, and a shrine to their lives and accomplishments. Some photos are included here.
I wonder why our special happiness could not go on and on. When suddenly in June 2013 Mikhailya passed away I was shocked. It was unexpected, even though she was ten years old. The loss of Casanova at eleven years of age the following year, and then Paris some time later left me totally alone in my home, something I never planned to be. It awakened many dormant and not so dormant demons. I cried for comfort and compassion but found little or some of dubious nature, still difficult to evaluate. It is easy to trust a dog, their love is pure love. You may expect the same of others, but it is not that way, and it is easy to forget it is so. The bitterness of the betrayal when it comes goes deep, yet we never cease in our quest for that perfect love and beauty.
It was an early spring show in Edison, NJ. It was held still indoors since it is still March. Although it was the first full day of spring, it was graced with falling snow throughout. Nonetheless, here we were showing our dogs on a week-day no less. It was my first time taking Jelly (Ch. Kasharra Bibikov Maskova) to a show and I must say I had a bad case of nerves. I wanted her to do well, as a parent bringing a child to a dance recital. My apprehension was foolish and misdirected. In the ring she was as graceful and flawless as a ballerina. No need for worry there. And although I knew she wished to be elsewhere, she did her job effortlessly, as if to say, “It’s alright……I’ll do it.”
I had bathed her the day before, and her coat sparkled as if it contained silver star dust. Her almond set eyes were large, dark and deep set, giving her face the innocent expression of a fawn. They especially accented her face against her pure white color of her coat. Her beauty could make one’s heart ache. She did well on two of the three days.
Looking back on it, I learned something to bring with me the next time. I know nerves are badly frayed on a show day so perhaps I should overlook the breaches of kindness in others to their own stresses. Whatever, I have waited a very long time to bring another borzoi to the ring and I wanted everything to be perfect. To me, it was because the dog I was with was a borzoi and it was with Jelly. I thank her breeder for entrusting this beautiful borzoi to me. Words can never express my gratitude to her for bringing the sunshine back into the very dark place that has been my life for a long time.
Looking outside tonight as I walk Jelly in the seemingly cold, winter air I see the moon in its waxing crescent phase, seemingly revealing only a crescent shaped sliver of light, I thought how much like that my life is. The whole world around me feels dark and cold yet as I step out into it with Jelly, there is a place perhaps far away, distant and remote, where there is a sliver of hope, light, warmth and beauty that is mine. I only need take the time to seek it, cherish it and love it very much.
“I know nothing of days of the week…weeks of the year.” Charles Dickens.
“The song remains the same”. Led Zeppelin
It really does not matter what I do today, who I am with or what beloved gifts I may receive, even if it is a treasure such as my beautiful Jelly, they do not keep away the demons that consume me, barely hidden beneath the surface, lurking here, there to ruin everything I try to be and do.
It does not matter who they are, or how many people I know. Nothing and no one can rid me of the terror of isolation with which I live most intimately. Even on a good day, and among friends, it is always a step or two behind, or within reach of sound. It reminds me of its presence, but how can I forget? I never do.
I wondered out loud at my mother’s funeral last November, or so I was told, that “we will be back here again soon, only that time it will be mine.” Was this a prescient foreshadowing? After this weekend, the long sleep of death seems like a welcome relief.
It would be so much better to go in the opposite way of these ideas and distance myself from these voices, but they draw me in with their seductive feel-good words of truth – for me.
Today I have had an unusually difficult day. I have been emotionally battered to abuse by people I trust and love the most. I only wanted to go to a dog show but the usual pleasure of a day spent immersed with borzoi and their owners eluded me. Then the weather changed unexpectedly and it started to snow. I dealt with it by myself. I know, I should be able to do that.
Later on, I wanted to talk on the phone to a close friend, but that person denied me that simple satisfaction. At the end of the day, nothing worked out. The rhythmic unrelenting voices speak to punish me for my pain, perpetuating it onward. In the end, there was only Jelly to be there for me, though poor companion that I was for her.
I have learned sadly that life is not all about me. My concerns pale next to those of others whom I know even casually. It is wrong for me to care so much about myself. This is a lesson I am coming to learn late in life. I can only try to think less about myself, to reach out more, to give more, to be more to others, even if they do not ask. I see the flaws of others around me but instead of being repulsed I wonder why, or how they came to be that way and I feel only compassion. I know they must suffer, and perhaps a great deal more than me.