Category Archives: Support

I would like to think it is getting better at Blyss with Kensey

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.

Blyss Poetry….. a rarer than rare artform but still here

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.

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So easy to love

So hard to lose

Come back.

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Today is a wintry cold day in March

Soon it will be spring again to bring me joy

And maybe hearts will heal.

But for now, only lonely,

A heart dies slowly in place

One day at a time.

 

A voice in cyberspace resonates at Blyss

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.

 

 

The Blyss Dream that many will not understand.

Found this on Facebook Sunday, May 31, 2020. I did not create this poetic essay, but I modified it to make it more suited to myself. I found it so appropriate to me. It rang true. I shared it with my Facebook friends and thought I would place my edited version here.
I edited it to more accurately described my unique experience with my own dogs.

THE DREAM THAT MANY WILL NOT UNDERSTAND:

 My Dogs are my personal dream.

 One day when I am very old and when I can not walk anymore, it will be in my heart as a trophy of my memories.

 I met people who taught me something and have the same spirit as I, and I met others that I’m glad I forgot.

 I got wet,

 I felt cold,

I felt warm,

 I was afraid,

 I fell,

 And I stood up,

 I even hurt myself, I have been broken,

 But also, I laughed out loud inside .

 I spoke a thousand times with myself.

 I sang and shouted with joy like a madman,

 And yes … sometimes I cried.

 I have seen wonderful places and lived unforgettable experiences.

 I stopped a thousand times to see a landscape.

 I spoke with perfect strangers, and I forgot people I see every day.

 I went out with my demons inside and returned home with a feeling of absolute peace in my heart.

 I always thought how dangerous it is, knowing that the meaning of courage is to advance even when feeling fear.

 Every time I go out with my dogs, I think about how wonderful they are.

 I stopped talking about it to those who do not understand, and I learned to communicate with others who feel the same as I.

 I have met some amazing people I now call friends from all over this big world because of my dogs.

 I spent money that I did not have, giving up many things I wanted or needed, but all these things are not worth even one special moment with my dogs.

 They are not just a pet or a thing that I own, they are the lost part of my soul and my spirit.

 And when someone says to me: “It’s just a dog”,… I do not answer. I just walk away and smile,

 A dog….. only the person who loves them understands it.

 May God bless my friends and all their dogs….

 And the adventure continues. .

 FEEL FREE TO COPY AND STICK THE TEXT WITH A PHOTO, ON YOUR WALL …

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

Musings: “The Gathering”, a Collie Event in Wayne NJ; Blyss Kennels has Changes

Lorene with Rosie and Banjo, Leslie Week's collie and Sheltie
Lorene with Rosie and Banjo, Leslie Week’s collie and Sheltie taken several years ago.

Once a year, the third weekend in August, the Collie Health Foundation, of the Collie Club of America, holds The Gathering, a fund-raising event.  It takes place in Wayne, NJ, on the site of the estate of the late Alfred Payson Tehrune, called Tehrune Memorial Park.  He was the author of the Lad stories that appeared in print, serialized in magazines and as novels during the beginning of the twentieth century.  It is a wonderful preservation although sadly, the family home does not survive.   I have been to several and so I see many familiar faces when I go.

This year, the two sisters of my late husband came to New Jersey to attend it from New Hampshire where they live.  One sister brought her new dog, a Shetland Sheepdog named Dasher, with whom she is working in  Agility and Conformation.  He is a lovely youngster.   We all enjoyed our time together at The Gathering, especially enjoying seeing so many collies and collie puppies.  You could feel the congeniality of the attendees toward one another, even those meeting for the first time.  I felt so honored to be there.

It was tempting to purchase and bid on auction items, but truly, at this time of my life, the time of “collecting”, is behind me, so I successfully resisted.   But the products available to purchase and/or bid on were lovely.  When they had to depart at Noon on Sunday, leaving me there on my own alone, I must confess to feeling so lonely and sad.  I left my chair that was set up around the ring outside to sit under the tent thinking perhaps someone would talk to me there.  It was a wise move because a very kind woman looking as equally lonely and dejected as I, began talking to me right away.  I realized about an hour or two later I was feeling very tired.  It began to feel like a crushing fatigue, although I knew I had gotten less sleep than usual for the past two nights.  Why, I asked myself, was I so sad and lonely?

There were the Sunday evening ballroom dancing classes I purchased that I did not want to miss just a few hours away. And then, I thought about the hound, borzoi, or all breed point shows coming up in two weeks.  Would this crushing fatigue last until the dog shows?  It is so important that I get enough sleep, but that does not always happen regardless how disciplined I am or how hard I try.

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I feel deeply troubled  tonight.  Harsh words have been spoken and written to me by a trusted friend .  I will struggle never to refer to them again – they are the rantings of a cad after all –  but they are indelibly stamped on my soul.  I hope it made him feel better for having written them, for having thrown the last daggar.  At least that would have been achieved.  He succeeded in darkening my mind and it will take a huge effort of self discipline not to think about them anymore.

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Lorene with Leslie’s new Sheltie, “Dasher” during The Gathering this August (2016)

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Photograph of the grave of the original “Lad” collie that lived at Sunnybank

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However, this is the wonderful time of year when the late summer dog show season  in New Jersey has arrived.  Therefore, I will let myself feel its joy.  It was one year ago exactly that having received Tresor back only a short time, he finished his Championship Dog Title  and we were all so proud and happy for him.  As always, I will turn to him for joy and comfort.  Having clearly lost the love and respect of my heretofore considered true friend who has abandoned us,  I know I have to be there all the more for Tresor and love him in fuller measure than I have already.  And I know his unconditional and special love is there all the more for me.

Tresor at Blyss
Tresor is home, 2015

 

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Opal

Strange…..   recent readers, or readers who have not read everything on the Blysskennels.us website, may not be familiar with my poem, “Opal’s Prayer”.  I wrote it when she died and became extremely depressed. I would write a new verse every year for a long time.  I would then repeat the verses over and over to myself for comfort when emotional pain or stress overcame me.  I have found myself doing just that again now.  Examples of some of the verses are:

“Dear God, Opal is yours now.  Please take care of her every day.  May we meet again, Dearest Little One!”

or,

“I’ll never forget those days, too brief though they were, When Opal was our dog…..Halcion days…..gone forever.”

as I ask God and Opal for protection from pain.

 

 

 

Recovery Alone at Blyss but with Much Help

It is very difficult to be in so much pain, especially so much so that I cannot drive and am therefore rather isolated.  However, this could be so much worse, because many people – friends – people whom I never would have thought cared – have called, come over to see me, and offered to help.  I have been very moved and touched by this, since I am more prone to the belief that I have no friends, or to focus on the bad outcomes I have had with past friends more than is necessary.  It is especially those in the Plainfield Kennel Club and individuals in the Borzoi Club of Greater New York who actually scheduled a meeting in my house, and the Borzoi Club of Central New Jersey who have shown great kindness.

Also, a long time friend, N33, whom I know from the Mountainside dog parks, has been coming over with her dog to pick up Jelly so she can enjoy her walks with them in Watchung Reservation.  Words can never express my gratitude to this woman for the kindness she has shown to Jelly.

Jelly’s breeder, N24, has great concern for the youngest borzoi in her kennel.  I want very much to go and visit, but neither my sister nor my former boyfriend will take the time to bring me there.  Also, breeders are very closed about problems with their dogs, I have observed, and perhaps she would not want me to make such a visit, or say anything about this to her.  Where I think words of support and sympathy are called for, perhaps she would find them inappropriate.  There is a saying that sums this up.  It is:  What happens in my kennel stays in my kennel.  I am not a very good follower of that adage.  I tend to want to talk about everything to everybody.  I know S24 broke my heart when she did not take me to the Borzoi National Specialty Show in Kansas City, KA in April, I have warmed toward her again and wish to comfort her if I can if her borzoi remains ill.  But I am trapped here and my voice-mail messages have gone unanswered, so in a way I am forced into silence.

I should err on the side of silence more often.  It will not be easy. Well, at least I did not write how broken up I was over the Memorial Day Weekend to spend most of it alone and in great pain.  This was what it was.  Like so many problems I have had in my life, the only solution is the inexorable passage of time and the next visit of my former boyfriend, who suddenly looks like a saint sent to me on a special mission from heaven.

 

 

Blyss Tresor: A Poem

Connolly 3 IMG_5855

Tresor Love

With the bliss that is only you, I see eternity reflected in your eyes

I wish for that forever. You arrest my love. You are its end point.

I know I will never have this again.

However between us, you are the better one. More pure

In comparison to my essence, never compromising, never selling out.

You will be the same you, every day.   And it is my job

To give you that right.

 

I notice, too, that you have grown up very well

And you make me proud. It is I who err on the side of

Self pride and vanity. That is wrong. You are the zenith

Of and transcend your species and your breed within it.

I am merely the keeper of the mundane: food and shelter,

And for perhaps more, for unconditional love, so necessary,

Perhaps you know that, too.

 

Yet you never exploit or degrade me in return

Only make me want to give more

My friends know it is you who have my heart,

And so they strayed.

You whose simple days comprise the stories of my life that matter

In the fields and cultivated park lands where we walk together

I am sure to write it down.

For the record…… and get it right.

I only wish I could lose the leash and let you run free

Like you did when you were a puppy.

But today I know you would not return.

The feelings of joy from Blyss Tresor and the terrible news of the illness of a friend

Every day I experience the joy and gratitude of living with my beautiful borzoi, Tresor.  The knowledge of how tenuous this happiness was, and how it  does not escape me that it may never have happened humbles me.  And so every day when I care for him, I realize that these tasks are finite because some day he won’t be here anymore.  At nearly seven, I feel robbed of the four years he lived away from me.  He is so precious and dear.  I am also aware that at my age, when he passes, I may be too old to have another borzoi.  Time will tell what I will do, that judgment call is out.

I spent a few nights at the home of Jelly’s breeder, N24, and brought both Tresor and Jelly along.  We had a wonderful time.  They were both on excellent behavior there.  Tresor had to be leash walked, which went well.   However, the two dogs would not run and play in her fenced area, but only stood at the gate staring at the house to come in.   Tresor was welcomed in the house with me, but then her two bitches, both house dogs, had to be confined to her bedroom.  However, for about half the time, both Jelly and Tresor were in a massive dog pen she had in her dog grooming room which for some reason worked for them.  They were always settled down and calm when they were put in there.  They divided their time between the field where they would not run, the large dog pen, and being in the house and on a leash with me.  Tresor was a perfect gentleman.  When he met a man who was N24’s friend and another, her son, he willingly went with them on walks and allowed them to handle him.  It is obvious he goes with anyone with ease, indicative of a dog who has had many dog walkers and pet sitters.  Now that he is back with me, his care takers are primarily my boyfriend and myself.

Sometimes, illness strikes when you least expect it.  Such as my otherwise healthy 90 year old mother suddenly developing a fatal tumor and dying shortly thereafter.  Two years ago, I, too, was diagnosed with a potentially fatal illness but it was successfully treated to the best of my knowledge.   Two days ago, my beloved boyfriend suffered a sudden potentially serious illness.  It has stopped me cold in my tracks.  It reminds me of my illness and my vulnerability in it.  He makes a huge difference in my life between happiness and unhappiness, serenity and agitation, feeling safe versus feeling vulnerable.  He is a wonderful man, and I want him to stay with me forever.  I am at the point of prayers for him, even though he himself does not pray.  May God hear my prayers, or, may the Blessed Mother hear my request to intercede for his behalf to her Son for his rapid recovery, for he deserves to live and be restored to health.  It is the nature of Life to be hard and unfair, even cruel, but let him be spared the potential end result of a serious illness and be restored to health.

With all of these things in mind, especially the vulnerability of the dogs I love so much and my awareness of the ephemerality of life ~ we pass through but for a brief time ~ may life be kind to us and them and relieve our sufferings.