Category Archives: Rural Landscapes

This old horse, the Rancher said……

Along the Dusty Trail

 This old horse, the Rancher said,

She’s seen some better days,

She’s eating up my profits

And costs a lot for hay.

 

Another horse would suit me

A stronger one at that

She’s seen a lot of miles

Like my cowboy hat.

 

This old horse, the Rancher said,

She helped me herd my steer

I’m pretty sure she’s magic

I know I hold her dear.

 

Another horse would suit me

One that can run fast

Maybe one that’s younger

Or maybe one that lasts.

 

This old horse, the Rancher said,

She’s long and far in tooth

My children do remember

Her fondly from their youth.

 

 Another horse would suit me

A gelding in its prime

One that needs less fixing

That helps me save a dime!

 

Why, they ask, then keep her?

Why not trade her now?

Bring her to an auction,

Replace her with a cow?

 

 The Rancher’s brow grew heavy

He took a staggered step

His eyes did show his friendship

In wrinkles, as they crept.

 

His breath, he took in deeply

As he poised to say his words

It’s as if the earth grew silent,

That his message could be heard.

 

This old horse, the Rancher said

Has given me her life.

I would not trade for anything

Nor either would my wife.

 

Another horse would suit me,

And perhaps someday will come,

But this old gal, I love her,

She is the chosen one.

 

The old horse, the Rancher said

Her services she did lend

Her and I have seen the years

This old horse, she is my friend.

 

Another horse would suit me well

And younger days for me

And I will keep my promise,

Until our last breath sets us free.

 Facebook. March 9, 2021

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

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

 

Finding wisdom on Facebook for Blyss

I am frequently amazed by the truly great pieces of writing that end up in my Facebook feed.  It is as if the writer were sitting there in the room with me and looking deep into my very heart and knows exactly how I feel and expresses it with perfect clarity.  So it is with the writing of  Stephanie Bennett-Henry, especially one particular post, that I will share on my own blog, here that she posted on August 2,2015:

“I want the weirdos, the clumsy, fumbling, awkward ones  who call themselves a big mess.  That’s where it’s at.  Give me the one whose eyes are colored with shades of madness.  Throw me in a room with the loners, the ones who never found their place.  Sit me down at the table with the dreamers, the ones who feel with their eyes and see with their hearts.  Surround me with the extraordinary souls who inhale passion through their fingertips and exhale creativity from masterpieces in their bones.  I want to dance with the ones who will break their own hearts because they only know how to love too hard or not at all.  Build a path with the pieces of the broken ones.  I will follow the trail and carry each piece back to its owner, showing them the stained glass pieces of their beautiful, broken magnificence.”

Stephanie Bennett-Henry. Copyrighted.

So yes, there is dignity and loss in defeat.  There must be, be some positive dimension for humans since it is so ubiquitous and it does not kill us, it just keeps coming.  Is this a realistic interpretation of the human condition, flailing around, coming up short, losing everything, “dying” even, when you are still very much alive?  I am a master at surviving deaths.  I have had several reincarnations: surviving my childhood, surviving my first and second marriages, and coping with the tragedies that befell my kennel.  First, a puppy died unexpectedly.  I had forgotten puppies died, as I was so focused on breeding them and on their subsequent arrivals!   After, the puppies from my only litter were sent far away by my co-breeder, the one I got to keep was very sickly his first two years of life and was not emotionally sound.  This was challenging and I was focused on these events more than it was warranted until the punishing hand of God delivered its final blow: taking my darling husband, prematurely young, from cancer.  The only mercy to the story was it was swift.

My dreams of an adult life, happily married with a child and a houseful of dogs, Llewellyn English Setters come to mind since I did not know what borzoi were then,  a show kennel and horses in a pasture,  and never at a loss for love, was a bitter delusion that I never stopped pursuing long after it was feasible.  I pursue it still, and I am a very old woman.

And there lays my psychosis.  It is what places me in the room with the eyes colored with shades of madness, thrown in a room with loners who never found their place, who feel with their eyes  see with their hearts.  And yes, I have wanted to “dance” with the ones I knew would break my heart because they, too were flawed and could not love, so like my parents before them.  My life is lived on a path of broken stones and every step is painful.  But I see no magnificent stained glass portrait of myself to hang in the window to catch the sun and celebrate my life.  I am in a very dark place. The pieces of my life lie on the ground like broken stones, and an urn will hold my ashes in a mausoleum when I die.

From Facebook, “Because of Love, and It’s true! The Old Ones

I read this on Facebook a long time ago, and recently a Facebook Friend reposted it.  It touched me as much now as it did when I first read it.  I am sharing it on Blyss Blog Encore with my readers who will probably enjoy this as much as I do and be glad I came upon it again.

Because of Love!! “This is a true story”!

A brother and sister had made their usual hurried, obligatory pre- Christmas visit to the little farm where dwelt their elderly parents with their small herd of horses. The farm was where they had grown up and it had been named Lone Pine Farm because of the huge pine, which topped the hill behind the farmhouse. Through the years the tree had become a talisman to the old man and his wife, and a landmark in the countryside. The young siblings had fond memories of their childhood here, but the city hustle and bustle added more excitement to their lives, and called them away to a different life.

The old folks no longer showed the horses, for the years had taken their toll, and getting out to the barn on those frosty mornings was getting harder, but it gave them a reason to get up in the mornings and a reason to live. They sold a few foals each year, and the horses were their reason for joy in the morning and contentment at day’s end.

Angry, as they prepared to leave, the young couple confronted the old folks “Why do you not at least dispose of The Old One.” She is no longer of use to you. It’s been years since you’ve had foals from her. You should cut corners and save so you can have more for yourselves. How can this old worn out horse bring you anything but expense and work? Why do you keep her anyway?”

The old man looked down at his worn boots, holes in the toes, scuffed at the barn floor and replied, ” Yes, I could use a pair of new boots.”

His arm slid defensively about the Old One’s neck as he drew her near. With gentle caressing he rubbed her softly behind her ears. He replied quietly, “We keep her because of love. Nothing else, just love.”

Baffled and impatient, the young folks wished the old man and his wife a Merry Christmas and headed back toward the city as darkness stole through the valley.

The old couple shook their heads in sorrow that it had not been a happy visit. A tear fell upon their cheeks. How is it that these young folks do not understand the peace of the love that filled their hearts?

So it was, that because of the unhappy leave-taking, no one noticed the smell of the insulation smoldering on the frayed wires in the old barn. None saw the first spark fall. None but the “Old One”.

In a matter of minutes, the whole barn was ablaze and the hungry flames were licking at the loft full of hay. With a cry of horror and despair, the old man shouted to his wife to call for help as he raced to the barn to save their beloved horses. But the flames were roaring now, and the blazing heat drove him back. He sank sobbing to the ground, helpless before the fire’s fury. His wife back from calling for help cradled him in her arms, clinging to each other, they wept at their loss.

By the time the fire department arrived, only smoking, glowing ruins were left, and the old man and his wife, exhausted from their grief, huddled together in front of the barn. They were speechless and stunned as they rose from the cold snow covered ground. They nodded thanks to the firemen as there was nothing anyone could do now. The old man turned to his wife, resting her white head upon his shoulder as his shaking old hands clumsily dried her tears with a frayed red bandana. Brokenly he whispered, “We have lost much, but God has spared our home on this eve of Christmas. Let us gather strength and climb the hill to the old pine where we have sought comfort in times of despair. We will look down upon our home and give thanks to God that it has been spared and pray for our beloved most precious gifts that have been taken from us.

And so, he took her by the hand and slowly helped her up the snowy hill as he brushed aside his own tears with the back of his old, withered hand.

The journey up the hill was hard for their old bodies in the steep snow. As they stepped over the little knoll at the crest of the hill, they paused to rest, looking up to the top of the hill, the old couple gasped and fell to their knees in amazement at the incredible beauty before them.

Seemingly, every glorious, brilliant star in the heavens was caught up in the glittering, snow-frosted branches of their beloved pine, and it was aglow with heavenly candles. And poised on its top- most bough, a crystal crescent moon glistened like spun glass Never had a mere mortal created a Christmas tree such as this. They were breathless as the old man held his wife tighter in his arms.

Suddenly, the old man gave a cry of wonder and incredible joy. Amazed and mystified, he took his wife by the hand and pulled her forward. There, beneath the tree, in resplendent glory, a mist hovering over and glowing in the darkness was their Christmas gift. Shadows glistening in the night light.

Bedded down around the “Old One” close to the trunk of the tree, was the entire herd, safe.

At the first hint of smoke, she had pushed the door ajar with her muzzle and had led the horses through it. Slowly and with great dignity, never looking back, she had led them up the hill, stepping cautiously through the snow. The foals were frightened and dashed about. The skittish yearlings looked back at the crackling, hungry flames, and tucked their tails under them as they licked their lips and hopped like rabbits. The mares that were in foal with a new years crop of babies, pressed uneasily against the “Old One” as she moved calmly up the hill to safety beneath the pine. And now she lay among them and gazed at the faces of the old man and his wife.

Those she loved she had not disappointed. Her body was brittle with years, tired from the climb, but the golden eyes were filled with devotion as she offered her gift —LOVE. Because of love. Only Because of love.

Tears flowed as the old couple shouted their praise and joy… And again the peace of love filled their hearts.

This is a true story.

Willy Eagle.

This is an Inspirational message sent to a small group of people on Facebook. My hope is that it will make your day just a little bit better.

Judy Gaik

October 24, 2018

 

Censorship, beware! Upset at Blyss Kennels over so many things.

I see in the news today, in an attempt to be politically correct, a corporate giant, known for it’s long history and many levels of accurate information dissemination, has enforced censorship on its subscribers rather than letting each of its world wide respected universe of subscribers decide for themselves. This clearly reveals a corporate superiority complex, contempt and lack of respect for us all, by its action of removing the Hollywood icon of 1939, Gone With the Wind (GWTW), from its offerings today. In so doing, the entire country’s First Amendment Rights of Free Speech under the U.S. Constitution are violated.

This was called censorship the last time I looked. GWTW is one of Hollywood’s all time great masterpieces on many levels.  It deserves to be seen for many reasons,  especially from being entertaining, beautiful to watch, to being historically accurate and thereby edifying.

GWTW was a brutally realistic depiction of the South’s punishment and destruction for its slavery based economy by losing the Civil War. It accurately captures the South in decay and then being destroyed, with burned out fields devoid of crops. In addition, all the main characters suffered enormously for their southern, slave based economy. There are no winners here. The loss of the Southern way of life based on slave labor is clearly and unequivocally depicted.

Moreover, tragedy, symbols of moral punishment, follow the southern main characters to the film’s long end:

Scarlet and Rhet’s young daughter dies in a horrible riding accident,

Scarlet suffers a miscarriage,

Scarlet and Rhet, husbands and wife, hate one another and are both alcoholics,

Melanie dies horrifically in childbirth leaving a small son and a grieving husband behind,

Scarlet then realizes that her long time and illicit love for Melanie’s husband, Ashley Wilkes, has always been unrequited, and

At long last, Rhet leaves Scarlet when she wants him to stay with her with his most famous line of all:

“Frankly, My Dear, I don’t give a damn” , racy words for 1939.

There is no victory lap here for the South and many lessons to be learned for getting it wrong. Yet to this day, while handling perhaps our county’s most sensitive period in our history, I do not believe a film as beautiful to watch as it gracefully depicts terminal punishment on the loser has ever been created again in Hollywood.

A stunningly beautiful young, English actress and a newcomer, Vivien Leigh, won a Best Actress Oscar her first time out playing Scarlet O’Hara with her heart and soul on constant view. Hattie McDaniel, an American of color, won Best Supporting Actress.   This was the first time a person of color won an Oscar.  The film also won a Best Picture Oscar and several others. GWTW stands up as well today as it did when it was released, and it is as respected and revered today as it was when it was made, as is the novel by Margaret Mitchell, a Southern woman, upon which it is based, when it was published. The film is a huge Hollywood icon of excellence that subsequent films tried to emulate but failed.

So sad and sorry to see this happen. This is a loss for HBO that I hope other services do not emulate.

Tears for America.

Lorene Connolly, M.L.S.

Blyss Kennels, Mountainside, NJ

 

 

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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

A Poem for Blyss Keeping

A borzoi breeder I know shared this poem on Facebook this week.  I thought I would place it here for my readers to find.  It says so much so well.

I had no thought of violets of late,

The wild, shy kind that spring beneath your feet

In wistful April days, when lovers mate

And wander through the fields in raptures sweet.

The thought of violets meant florists’ shops,

And bows and pins, and perfumed papers fine;

And garish lights, and mincing little fops

And cabarets and songs, and deadening wine.

So far from sweet real things my thoughts had strayed,

I had forgot wide fields, and clear brown streams;

The perfect loveliness that God has made,—

Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams.

And now—unwittingly, you’ve made me dream

Of violets, and my soul’s forgotten gleam.

~Alice Dunbar

This is all so true of the shallow life I live without thinking until I remember what lies just beyond my back door, in the nearest field.  There abounding are every kind of “violet” and wild flower one may seek, only a step or two away off the rocky and inclining, twisting trail.

And while I am at it, let me add another I found on my own once:

Life is for the living

Death is for the dead

Let life be like music

And death a note unsaid.

~ Langston Hughes

Perhaps if death is a “note unsaid”, then death will never be.  I can say it over and over like a mantra so my borzoi Tresor and Jelly will never die.

 

Comments regarding other borzoi that can be found on Facebook

I guess I took the time and looked at most of if not all of the photos of Falca and Gala in the Facebook album of my good friend, N29.  She has a collection of photographs of her dogs in both color and   black and white.  I  have to say how moved I was by the beautiful photographs displayed there.  For me, there are three parts to the album. First,  the beauty of her borzoi, so special in their own way; second her stunning talent as a photographer; and third the surreal landscape, that being Idaho, where she lives.  It is radically different from the NE United States she knows well because it is where she grew up, in fact, only a few short miles from my house.  Sadly, although we are the same age and shared the same passions, we never met as children but only later through borzoi.

I enjoyed looking at her photos on all three levels, and felt for a while as if I was swept away to that far away place. I was consumed by wishes for what could have been in my life, such as wide open spaces where dogs can run free, compared to what is, urban scrawl and gridlock.  I wondered as I often do how it ever turned out this way when I tried so hard for it to be otherwise. Although I suffocate with loneliness in the crushing crowds, I know I should be grateful for my home and environs, meager though they are, and my two ageing borzoi, like me, walking on the trails and roads available to us, spending what is left of our days.  I so not feel at liberty to display her photographs here, but they can be found easily on Facebook by typing in their names.

A fragile mind at Blyss

I cannot say for sure why it is so, perhaps it is the stress of the upcoming holiday season combined with Tresor’s mystery neck pain and the need to spend more money in general, and the expectation to be happier than normal, but everything seems more difficult for me these days instead.  However, I am determined to overcome it all and look to the happy things that only a holiday season can bring.  Things like seeing more of everybody, gift buying and giving, and days where the word “love” is more on my lips.  For yes, I do love LT and my son so much.  Then, going over to the borzois, I could not love two borzoi any more than I love Jelly and Tresor.  All of these people and they are my world.

But what I really want for Christmas and the New Year is to fly away…..NOT to go to the Caribbean but instead  to go away to a different place to live, on a small farm in a rural area.  I want it to have a small but comfortable house, but also a small barn, a barn yard, and some fenced fields.  I want my borzois mainly, and a donkey and some goats.  This is my vision and I can’t make it go away.  It is impossible to do in New Jersey where I live.  And so, it torments me.  However, I am not going to do anything about it.  I mention it to those close to me from time to time and they do not support the idea at all.  They point out I would have to move out of state.  That would be very difficult for me to do.  So, I don’t know how I could bring this about.  For now, I am trying to keep it under the radar screen and talk and think about it as little as possible.  However, I know it is there and it pains me.  No one can create problems out of thin air the way I can.  I guess I’m “talking to angels, counting the stars, making a wish about King Kong, dancing with strangers and falling apart, waiting for Superman…”

Tresor seems to have recovered nicely from the pain in his neck for which we are very grateful.  His pain is gone and he is back to his old self, going here and there, back and forth, in the house.  He has resumed his enjoyment of his yard and deck.  But The Boy proved he still has the Fire in his Belly on a walk with me on Thanksgiving when he Lost It and got a nano-second ahead of me, broke away and gave a neighbor’s standard poodle a nip on her flank.  I ended up on the ground devastated with embarrassment, but the hero appeared to be Tresor because the person walking the poodle was with a group of friends, and they all fell in love with him!  There is no logic in this world but my solution to this suburban madness is that I will no longer walk Tresor.  Instead, my partner, LT, will walk him.   There is never a dull moment living with The Tre.  I am sure it is due to reasons such as this that his former human family returned him.

The other irregularity to occur on Thanksgiving and the days leading up to it is that the weather has been unusually balmy for this time of year and I have been able to spend a lot of  quality time outside with the borzois.  It has been fun having these stolen balmy days, like early fall instead of late fall, with temperatures well in the sixties.  Another event Thanksgiving had to give was a dramatic red sunset in the west as if the sky was aflame.  I got to see it because I happened to be out walking Jelly when it was at its peak.  These are just some of the advantages one gains by walking dogs, you never know what you will see in the sky or right in front of you, for that matter.  It was fun to see it, as if it were a sunset at Key West, or other places known for beautiful sunsets, and there it was descending in the Western sky behind the Watchung Mountains.   In the future, I am looking forward to showing Tresor again in March, at the New Brunswick Kennel Club Show in Edison NJ.  In the meantime, I keep busy working for my main borzoi breed club, and I only hope my dual roles of Show Chair and Secretary do not block me from showing him.

 

The change in the FB photo from Blyss Opal to Blyss Jelly

 

Lorene & Opal, 1 year old.With enormous difficulty, I decided to change my long running FB photo of myself with Opal to one with myself with Jelly.  I said the time was right now, that Jelly deserved that honor, not that Opal mattered less, but that Jelly was the deserving borzoi in my life now.  I want to thank my many FB friends for their kind and wise messages regarding my new cover photo and my relationship with Opal.

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I think the past ones enrich us for the ones that come later. We learn so many lessons from them, even if they leave too soon. I don’t appreciate Opal any less, it’s just that I want to cherish Jelly more – she deserves that much from me for all she gives. Some FB Friends took the time to write to me this week and shared their memories of special borzoi who had passed from their lives and how they were coping.  I appreciated their sharing that with me.  Over the years, I have been very open about what happened to me when Opal died.  Her death was a unique experience in my life that I could not accept at the time for other sad reasons.  They caused me not to be able to cope well when she died.  But in life, regardless of the level of its difficulty, we must accept it on its terms, whatever they are.  And life is very hard.  Because life is for the living, one must go on.  There is nothing else to say or do about it.

Today, because I persevered, I went on to breed the litter with our beautiful Majenkir bitch, “Mikhailya” to N-5’s CD Majenkir Regal by Design “Regal”.  That litter gave me my darling “Tresor” and N-5’s CD Majenkir Magnus O’Blyss “Magnus”/”Max”.  “Mikhailya” proved her greatness in the whelping box as well as the conformation ring.  Majenkir borzoi quality went up a rung because of her by number of the Best in Show borzoi and hunt performance titles her get and their descendants produced.

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Update regarding another Mikhailya Grand-daughter, a hunter out west

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Int JP Ch Majenkir O’Blyss Magnus, littermate to our Tresor

In my May 27th post, I wrote about a Majenkir bitch, a Mikhailya grand-puppy bitch whose name  was “Hawkeye”.   Her owner was N28, and the previous spring, her husband drove out from Wyoming where they live to pick up this puppy bitch that was out of a Magnus daughter, “Spiral”.  Today, M-5 wrote the following about this little bitch on Facebook:

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“A phone call from N28 with some very exciting news. Last year N—  drove east for a visit and picked up their Borzoi pup from the litter sired by DeJay out of Spiral.

Over the weekend Lily went to her first official Borzoi Breed Hunt with the Rocky Mountain Coursing Club. There Lily took Top Honors in a field of 13 coursing Borzoi over some of the better running dogs from all around the country. The next day was a mixed hunt where Lily came in second to a Greyhound and had the distinction of being the Last Dog Standing when other dogs went lame.

Even after all of these years of being known as a breeder of noted show dogs, I am doubly excited and proud when I receive news such as this. I never want my dogs to morph into “caricatures” of what the standard calls for to continue to win in the show ring.

Since the N——  seldom breed Borzoi, they continue to bring Majenkir dogs West where these dogs continue to win hunts and then go into the show ring where they also win! Their siblings in the show ring who never have the chance to prove themselves in the field continue to rack up show wins for Majenkir and others.”

I replied to my mentor, N5, with the following email:

“Regarding this wonderful posting on FB today, I was wondering if this was the same bitch N28 was showing at the National this year. I went over to her and her husband and introduced myself to them, as soon as I realized that their bitch was a Mikhailya grand-daughter. Is she the same bitch? She was gorgeous. She was like looking at Mikhailya’s ghost for me. Unlike many of the “Mikhailya” grand-bitches I have seen in the ring, including the National, she resembled Mikhailya so very much. Even her mannerisms in the ring were just like her. I could tell she did not love the ring, and even though she almost made the final cut, her heart did not seem to be there. She was a true field dog, and it shone through. When I asked N28 her name though she said it was “Hawk-eye”. I thought it was a strange name for such a pretty, feminine borzoi. They also said she runs very fast.”

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“Tresor” at 18 months old, photographed by Maxine Bochnia.  Littermate to “Magnus”. The get of “Mikhailya”

My mentor, N5, wrote back to me to inform me that they had taken not one, but two bitches back to Montana.  This is the second one, and her name was “Lily”, a littermate to Hawkeye.  So the two Magnus get out of Spiral, and grand-puppy bitches to Mikhailya, also proved themselves as winning hunters in the field.  It also bears mention that there are two other very notable and accomplished kennels in the Western United States that breed high-performance, winning hunting borzoi.  This year, Lily beat them in this hunt test.

I will always be grateful for my place in this large network of beautiful borzoi, especially knowing that I have made a huge contribution to its lineage through a bitch I owned, Mikhailya, and the very special puppy her breeding produced, “Magnus”.   Even though I only own his  litter-mate, he too is competitive in the ring and has outstanding breed type.  Most of all, he has my heart for his spirit and for all of his accomplishments.

I have so much to be grateful for that I should never look back in sadness for what I lost, or doubt my reasons to be happy but instead count my many blessings.   Yet, it is always frightening to feel it when it occurs, when my very foundation is shaken by some  event or other, and it feels so deceptively real to me, only to find out that I was wrong.  It is a difficult way to live except for knowing I have only to reach out and embrace Jelly and Tresor, both, for comfort and peace to be restored again.  And many more times than not, I do not have to reach far to feel the warm hand of LT catch me when I fall.