This month, March, is the tenth anniversary of my husband, Bob’s, death. I find myself recalling him a great deal, what we were doing when we learned he was sick, and how little time we had left together, of how he was robbed. He had another great love in his life, greater than his for me, that being his two sons. They were just entering adult life when he died. He did not see them grow into young men, get married, and have children of their own. I think he would have truly enjoyed that. I believe he would have found the thrilling bliss in that that I found with the borzoi, although he did love his borzoi, too. For me, I learned I never really knew what love was, never having had it growing up as a child.
My childhood was an ordeal of survival behind enemy lines, with parents ruling the house like they were Gestapo agents, imprisoning their children, ruling them with what can only be described as a rule book that grew thicker with every passing day.
Their favorite adages were: Spare the rod, spoil the child; and, You should only kiss your children when they are asleep. They did not notice that their three children were growing up despising them and being totally self destructive. They were too busy being angry all the time, with one another, and their offspring. Somehow, sadly, we survived.
I understand Bob had a happy childhood, with laid back and easy going parents. He, and all his siblings, always appeared to have smiles on their faces. My siblings and I were profoundly emotionally disturbed, and did not wear smiles well. We looked rather ghoulish with smiles on our faces, so we practiced looking in mirrors trying to look intelligent or serious instead. It seems particularly sad that I, who am so damaged, am left alive while Bob had to die ten years ago. I feel so sorry for him that he had to miss so much happy, quality, family time. I know how precious it is, but I had to learn about it from borzoi.
Borzoi taught me about love, human love. I thought I loved Bob when I married him, but I had been made too damaged by my mother to be able to love anyone again. It was fun and easy to love the borzoi. When I look back at my old photographs with them, I don’t recognize myself. I look so healthy, and am always beaming in a huge smile I cannot diminish. In January, 2005, we bought Opal. I became manic with joy. Eighteen months later she died, and I crashed into a devastating depression and have never been the same again. I cannot forget what I lost when she died, my greatest loss, my heart itself, my joy that only she brought me. I have read accounts like this by other people sometimes on FB, not often, because usually people have multiple borzoi and the others help the owner get over the loss. However, sometimes, a kennel will have one of those very extraordinary borzoi that transcends who and what it is, and when the owner writes about it, I recognize and understand what has happened to them.
Somehow, I am learning to love and smile, because I have grown from that place. In the process, I have learned that Opal made a difference in my life, by enabling me, after almost 15 years, me to experience love and joy again. I do not mourn her, I celebrate her, every day. I was the luckiest person in the world to have had her. I believe we will be reunited upon my death. Opal is my definition of heaven. Someday, when she comes up to me and looks up, and then hit me with her paw, like she used to, then, she will never be far away again.
Today, I awoke slowly. Over the weekend, it was time to turn the clocks ahead so we are in “Daylight Savings Time”, that gives us more sunlight in the afternoon and evening. That gives me time to give my dog a second or third walk in the late afternoon or after dinner. It is usually the warmer time of year, so I am out more, working in my garden or talking to the passers by, or my neighbors. My home, and home town, are particularly conducive to this. All I have to do is get up and live and I find myself enjoying the idyllic surroundings with which I am blessed.
I have been more blessed in past times because I had lived with several borzoi, as many as five or six at a time. That is a memory bourgeoning with bliss running over, especially when our litter was born. Then my last husband, Bob, was alive. Bob, who was taken from me almost violently, was ravaged by pancreatic cancer at the age of 56, ten years ago this week in 2021. I came across some photos this weekend during happy times, in particular, the time of our wedding in 2000. We looked so happy. I declared myself a “Millenium Bride”! looked so amazingly beautiful and young. I do not look that way anymore. The last twenty years have been cruel. I have had cancer twice, and lived through the ravages of two nervous breakdowns. Sadly, I recovered and did well on my own after Bob was gone, and missed him terribly, knowing we would have been happy together again, but it was too late. Following his passing, I have just endured ten years of bitter loneliness as I have dated one loser, liar, basket case cripple after another, looking for love. I am a woman who craves human love, never having had it as a child.
Today, I am no longer able to keep borzoi, I am just too frail from having lost so much weight during my illnesses. I am still active, however, in my clubs, I participate in Meet the Breeds when it is in NY City, and I am an active member of the Borzoi Club of America. However, I have ventured into the world of Silken Windhounds and I am currently living with the irresistible “Kensie”, from the Wind ‘n Satin Kennel of Mary Childs in Ohio. A more precious creature with a princess attitude cannot be found. She is loved and adored by all who meet her. She knew instantly I was her person and what her job was. She is a jewel of a dog, so much like a borzoi in every way, just half the size. I will admit, she does not have the “drama” of a borzoi, but in every way, she is just perfect. I was profoundly depressed when she came. My maintenance medications were all increased, and with her presence in the home, and the structure caring for another living creature creates in your life, I began to feel better quickly. The same thing that would have made me happy as a child makes me happy as an elderly woman today.
My world as I knew it for some time now was shattered by some traumatic news from a friend, no, a man I believed in. The end result was him asking me not to contact him anymore. No explanation was given, just that.
I had so much I wanted to say, yet that option was denied. I was in enormous emotional pain. I guess I brought it upon myself, I just don’t know how. I have no one else to blame. Unable to write to him, yet having so much to say, I remembered he is a Facebook “Friend”, still! I posted messages to him and about him and for him on my public page, knowing he would read them. They are my poems, so I am saving them here.
Although many other Facebook Friends reacted with concern, the gentleman remained silent. Perhaps he was never a friend. I can’t seem to keep my love life from crashing and burning around me. My only loyal loves have been with my dogs since 2002, especially my borzoi, and also my Black Lab, and now my Silken, Kenzie. And that makes me glad, they are so much more worthy of my love than they ever were.
In the ten years I have been a widow, I have been surprising how many men have been turned off by me having dogs. True, I had multiple, very large dogs, and men can’t handle that kind of competition. And, I will always put my dogs before any man, and my passion for them, the borzoi breed in particular, dog shows, breeding, the whole thing, before any man. My life revolves around my passion for dogs, my borzoi, and now my Silken Windhound, Kensie. It is how I deal with my pain. It is a lot for a man to compete with. Where I succeed with dogs, I fail with men. My poems, unedited words from my soul, follow.
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.
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. In my untouchable wretchedness, God, and my husband, Bob, gave me my borzoi. The year was 2003. By January 2005, the jewel of the kennel, my most beloved Opal (Raybo Opalesque of Byss) arrived. I never saw, nor have ever seen, such an exquisite creature, Nor had I ever 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 an obscure, rare congenital disease. 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 of my never failing love and the loss I suffered by losing her. 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, today presented me with something that perhaps made me see it another way, and perhaps made me realize I was wrong. Opal is the best thing I ever had, and the best thing that ever happened to me. It was put this way by a writer, Elizabeth Ammons, from Lessonslearnedinlife.com. She writes as follows, and it appeared in my Facebook feed on December 2, 2020:
“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. I hope my story touches others who grieve and cannot be comforted, or others who know the hell of a childhood devoid of love.
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.
I feel like how a dog from the past must have felt trying to enter England, in a long, seemingly endless quarantine. But no, I am a human being in the USA and I never left home. I just cannot go out anywhere safely. To be safe, I must stay home and be alone. However, walking around town is allowed if safe social distancing of six feet is maintained. Still, that does not satisfy my never ending gnawing need for intimacy. With so much time on my hands and because I am so good at procrastinating leaving my lawn not mowed and my flower beds not weeded, I have decided to write on my blog at Blysskennels.us tonight. I have been procrastinating writing on my Blog, too, showing how bad I have really been and how low my spirits have sunk.
Walking to Death
April 7, 2020
I am told it is a remedy, but tell me,
What is it that I see on my walks that makes for improvement?
It began in mid March and now it is early April. Hateful spring.
No one knows when it will end. It could be a very long time from now.
Although it remains cold and windy from winter,
I see there are splashes of color now: yellows and pinks, from flowering bushes and trees,
Breaking through. I contemplate them. They bring a hope or sorts
Having seen only grey, dark branches for so long that appeared to be dead.
It was an illusion, I thought, that this was a death of the flora, on the shrubs, on the flowering trees, and especially on the mountain.
Do I see a tiny splash of green there? I am not sure…..
I know it will be there soon,
And then there will be the miracle of tiny white Dogwood blossoms scattered among the green
Where they were once abundant…before their own virus came for them.
We live in the day of viruses, and all we can do is walk to death.
Walk them off, walk them away,
Walk them until we tire, walk them until we die.
Walk them with our children, walk them with our dogs,
Walk them with our friends, with our fathers, with our mothers and with our lovers.
How can there be so many places to walk to and so many places to walk from,
And learn so many people’s stories along the way that don’t do anyone any good
For each and every one has one, a story that is
And not about the virus that always lurks behind us now taking souls away.
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.
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.