Category Archives: WatchungReservation

Life today at Blyss Kennels. After a hiatus.

For the last two years, I needed to work because, sadly, I needed the money.   However, working did not help my finances much, especially the last year when I worked in a very fancy department store with beautiful clothes and jewelry.  I am a girl with a spending disorder, and it kicked in while I was there.  I had to quit that job and I decided to address my cash shortages by closely examining my spending patterns and I found many “mistakes”.  Still, I have financial obligations that are considerable and challenging.  Not having a borzoi at this time will help keep me on the path to becoming more financially sound.  But I have made the decision to attend the Borzoi National Specially this year because I can drive to get to it, and that is a good thing.I

I thought about moving to southern Delaware but after a long consideration, realized I could not do it.  I could not leave my home, and did not want to be far from NY City where my son and his family live.  I have a baby grand-daughter now whom I adore.  I am trying to be happy in the here and now, content that what I have is good, just as it is, that I have accomplished a lot, and have every right to be happy.  But the real reason is I could not leave my home, or Mountainside, or the beautiful Watchung Reservation, only a quarter mile from my home, where our lives, Bob and mine, with our borzoi was lived.

Before deciding not to move, I set about cleaning out boxes and files in the garage and attic.  There, I found many items of interest, including my borzoi books, magazines, and figurines.  I have decorated my house with the figurines and pictures which are beautifully framed.  Going through files, I found all of the correspondence with Karen Staudt-Cartabona of Majenkir Borzoi, the owner of the stud dog for Mikhailya’s litter, that I had done over the years, especially those written during the summer of 2008, prior to breeding Mikhailya.  They were long emails, pouring my heart out to her, about how I felt about Mikhailya, and why I wanted her to be bred.  Then, I found the email telling her about the birth of the puppies, and how splendid a puppy Magnus was, about his “greatness” even as a newborn!  After that,  I found a file about “Raynbo”, the kennel of Roni and Jennifer Zucker, from whom we got Paris and then Opal.  There were photos of visits to their home: club events, a Match show,  picnics, private invitations.  I was overwhelmed.  Tears flowed……  So much is gone now or different: Roni is dying in a nursing home; Jennifer has to work outside of her home and kennel; Bob is dead; I am old and frail; all of the borzoi of those days are all dead.  Nothing is as it was.  Although reviewing these materials left me feeling  overwhelmed, I was so grateful to have saved and found it all again.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

A Pre-summer Sunday at Blyss Kennels

It is a spring morning at Blyss, a damp, cool and cloudy day.   Slowly, I am getting the work in the flower beds done.  Jelly is much on my mind.  At eight years of age, she was recently diagnosed with chylothorax, a serious and even fatal respiratory disease.  Surgery is not an option. We are treating it medically.  She is handling it well.  Every day is a gift.   It has been good weather to walk Jelly and visit the neighbors.  It is also good weather for her to go out with her friend of two years, since I broke my shoulder, N-39, who took to stopping by and bringing Jelly to the Watchung Reservation with her and her Dalmation.  Even our friend LT, whom Jelly adores, drops in to lend a hand and visit her.   Jelly really does not know she is sick and is still able to run with bursts of speed.  She chases rabbit, squirrel, and even deer.  She is an amazing borzoi.  I am providing updates to all of her friends on Facebook, where she is very popular.

I have a part time job now at a local area department store.    However, I am beginning to believe this is not the best solution for me at this time.  I had to miss all of the specialty shows during the first week of May.   Then, the week off I had planned to go to the National I decided not to go because of Jelly’s illness.  I feel as if I have heaps of disappointments piling up on me.  And I feel my sense of isolation weighs heavily on me.  And I am somewhat limited about what  I can do about that because of caring for Jelly and not wanting to leave her alone for long periods of time.  I am very much a home-body, which to a large degree is a comfort to me, I admit.  But it is isolating.

Facebook is an enormous help, keeping me in touch with all of my friends in the borzoi community.  I have had much good news recently.  Jelly’s breeder, N-24, bred the bitch she bred three years ago.  She has eight healthy puppies.  The sire, from N-5, is a grandson of Magnus.  So, Magnus and Mikhailya are in their pedigrees.  Lucy, a Mikhailya  grand-daughter, returned to Japan and is living with N-38 of Belisarius Kennels.  She is currently in whelp and her puppies are due soon.  People all over the world are anticipating their birth.  It is so uplifting to see so much joy from these special dogs.

But it is more than just breeding and showing.  There is also a lot of news on Facebook about the efforts among the breeders and rescue organizations that have been formed, such as National Borzoi Rescue Foundation and National Borzoi Rescue Foundation – International, and the efforts of the Borzoi Club of America with their Beverley Taylor Trust enabling borzois who are in a bad way or place to be saved.  It pleases me so much to know that my own borzoi are not the only ones to be cared for and loved, including those that will never walk into a show ring.  I also want to say I applaud other breeds whose members have established comparable organizations to help their own.

In closing, today I want to thank the Maker of the Universe for the gifts of my borzoi, especially Tresor and Jelly.  Although it pains me that I lost Tresor in December,  and Jelly is ill, they still came into my life to give me love I could not find elsewhere.  I can only hope I did not let them down.  I cannot imagine life without a borzoi of my own to love, yet I must somehow face that prospect and go on.  I thank my friends for all they give me when they open their hearts and share their borzoi with me.

Blyss Reminiscing about other borzois and friends

It was the day of the B Match for Borzoi Club of Central New Jersey, August 6, 2017.  I was not showing a borzoi and did not bring any of mine for demonstration.  I would have liked to, but it would have meant keeping Tresor home alone for a longer time than I would have wished.

It was so nice being with my Club members, people who truly are friends of mine and with whom I feel collegial. People come and go at shows.  Since I had to miss the last Club meeting in June due to a conflict with Plainfield Kennel Club, it had been a long time since I had seen anyone.  To my surprise, two separate households had acquired new borzoi.  I was and am so happy for them.  What joy!

To an almost unusual degree, several people seemed to want to talk to me a lot.  I know people missed me from the last meeting I missed, and I tried to catch up with those who were interested in me, and I them.  The day was running along in a socially supportive and positive way and I was very pleased.

I had the occasion to speak with a dear couple I know whose  borzoi passed away last year under the saddest of circumstances.  I tried to be supportive and sympathetic.  This story still hurts me to think of, due to its senselessness.  Unfortunately, the dog did not have to die but no one really is the culprit.  It comes down to how to live with and manage borzois.  How does it work best?  How to make the borzoi happy?  What if you chose to do otherwise and brush aside good, sound advice?  Sadly, it will result in a sad or sick borzoi, or a very neurotic borzoi, a borzoi that cannot be a normal borzoi, which is determined by its genes.

My son, Graham, lives in the East Village of NY City.  He tells me there are all kinds of dog breeds living in the city, including borzoi.  Breeders who, 20 years ago, would never sell a borzoi to someone who lives in an apartment now do so.   It can be done, I suppose, but it requires a lot of extra care on the part of the owner socializing and exercising it.  In that way, a borzoi is a high maintenance breed.  I have a hard time with Tresor and Jelly living in a suburb however  I make it work.  Fortunately I live near many open fields and a preserved forest park, Watchung Reservation.  It has several very large open fields and a network of hiking trails.

Due to my age, I am beyond being able to do much hiking anymore, so I take Jelly to the Scouting Field in Watchung Reservation, where local people drop by in the evening and if their dog is well behaved, they are allowed to run and play off leash.  Jelly is allowed to come here and has other relationships with both people and dogs whom she has met there.    However, due to his great strength, I can no longer walk Tresor on a leash, so he is confined to the back yard unless one of his dog walkers is available to take him for a leash walk.  I wish it were otherwise, but it is what it is for him.  I do my best.  Life goes on.  I find myself saying a lot, “If I were 20 years younger…..”

And no, I don’t think I will be getting a borzoi puppy any time soon.

Blyss Kennels at Fourth of July 2017

Only I could arrive here, safely and alone with Tresor and Jelly besides me in this house, as if navigating our own small ship, on the eve of the Fourth of July. Although in my mind’s eye, I imagine myself with them bobbing on gentle waves riding along the NJ coastal shore in the Atlantic ocean.  I reminisce, it is a delightful time to be in Mountainside.  It creates the most enchanting illusion that it is about one-hundred years earlier, when there were not so many houses built along the side of this mountain, the first ridge of the Watchung Mountain range.  With heavily wooded lots replete with lumbering shade trees, and deer appearing here and there as if they were pets, one can easily drive by a house and not see it.

My walks with Jelly have been telling.  You have to pay attention.  She enjoys walking in the field behind the Catholic Church across the street.  This is the exact site where I had my accident walking Tresor last year after he saw a ground hog.  Jelly does not run around much, but she looks for squirrels and rabbits.  One evening, at a distance away, I saw  pair of frolicking fawns, their tiny bodies still covered with white spots.  The doe appeared a minute or two later.  We both froze and watched them.  When they were out of sight, we continued our walk.  Later, on the Rectory lawn, we saw two large young bucks enjoying the nearby foliage.  Then I saw the special little blinking; fire flys!  I was transported back decades in the split of a second.  It was a beautiful night.  I let Jelly off leash.  She wanted to stalk a rabbit.  She did her thing.  She is no hunter.  The rabbit got away onto a neighbor’s lawn.  She followed it there.  I called her, and she took her very sweet time coming back to me. She was a brat. For that, I put her on the leash!  But overall, Jelly is such a good companion dog.

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Reading Facebook this week, I saw more news of the great show bitch, “Lucy”.  She is the grand-daughter of our Majenkir bitch, “Mikhailya”, who left this world four years ago on June 13th.   “Lucy”  won her twentieth Best in Show, and a wonderful photograph was posted of her.

Lucy & Valerie Nunes-Atkinson #20 BIS

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For my own reasons, valid and not, my heart breaks for being here alone except for my dogs.  I am not that kind of person who is solitary very well.  I long for interaction, dialog, having things to look forward to doing with someone.    I put a lot into my relationships, and they are all gone, many to death.  Many people in my life have died, and I am only in my mid-sixties.  That rather shocks me.

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My beautiful borzois inspire me to be more than I am, for I know they need me and I must be at my best for them.  I run my hand through their beautiful white coats and embrace them to my heart!  Jelly!  Tresor!

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It was almost two years ago today that Tresor was returned to me by his family who owned him for four years.  I do not like to think of those years without him.  But, once he was returned, it was like he never was gone at all.  We picked up our relationship as if we just saw each other the day before.   I consider Tresor a gift and a blessing in my life.

Tresor in his youth

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Finally, it was around the Fourth of July in 2006 that Blyss Kennels endured its first tragedy and loss, the death of Opal at nineteen months of age.  My grief for her was lengthy and profound.  I became shockingly ill, but I could not control how it made me feel.  Today, looking back on it, I don’t know how I survived the experience.  I had to learn how to be well again and find new ways to be happy.  Life had let me down, after all.

Today, I try to remember Opal with joy in my heart.  I had the best borzoi I ever could have had.  She made me extremely happy;  she just could not stay with me very long.  However, I am still very lonely and unhappy without her!  I beg God to please unite us sometime soon.  I want to touch her exquisitely beautiful borzoi face again, and run my fingers through her silky, white coat.  She glowed and sparkled in the sun!  Her body had stunning sighthound curves that made her look so graceful.  I have never seen a creature like her before or since.

Opal wins her first Class!
Bucks County KC Show

I still love her so much.  And when I think of her, I think of the words of that gorgeous Pearl Jam song, “Come Back”

Then, there were my own feeble words, Opal’s Prayer:

Unable to deny His request to take her, Opal lives in heaven now.

How?  Why?  Thy will be done.  Dear God,  Opal is yours now!

Please take care of her every day.

May we meet again, Dearest Little One!

 

A Walk near Blyss that brought me joy

With the apparent arrival of spring throughout the town and its magnificent surroundings, that being Mountainside, Summit and the Watchung Reservation in particular, I ventured about outdoors to experience it firsthand while it was still fresh in its glory.  Starting with the Watchung Reservation, it was magnificent to see the leaves out their first day after being buds.  Then, there were the flowering bushes and trees everywhere I drove about: azelia, Bartlett pear, and magnolias.  And then there were the flowers, both wild and cultivated, and I cannot say enough about them.  At a club luncheon with friends on Thursday, a women recommended taking the time to stop and see the field of daffodils at the Reeds Arboretum in Summit, a place I drive by all the time.  I realized  how foolish I was never to stop and sit for a while, so I made it a point to later that very day.  As that silly saying goes, “Take time to stop and smell the roses”.

I had been there before, actually for meetings and programs in the old mansion that has been preserved for such purposes, but never actually to enjoy its many gardens.  I thought that was rather a dumb omission on my part, too, always thinking, I must find the time to drive by this way and drop in for a while……   but never do.  I found my effort to have been well worth it.  Yes, the many thousands of daffodils were still in bloom, and according to the nearby plaque, all 30,000 of them, in a geological bowl shaped formation caused by a glacier.  How beautiful a vista they made!  Seeing all those blossoms in one place reminded me somewhat of the Presby Memorial Iris garden  in Montclair, NJ, not too far away.  My husband, Bob, who grew up in Montclair, used to take me there.  We both had a great love of irises and had them at the first house we shared together, on Oak Tree Road in Mountainside, before we had our borzoi and lived on Summit Lane.   It’s too early to visit there yet, about another four to six weeks for irises.

Perhaps I can retain some of the splendor we achieved in the Oak Tree Road gardens here.  It will be difficult because I am doing it alone.   Yes.  That word again.  Alone.

My landscaper can bring in the mulch and other soil supplies, but for the most part, I will be on my own.  I find when I am in the garden working, still in the weeding phase, the borzoi are nearby.  I know they would rather be out walking somewhere, especially the Watchung Reservation.  Tresor would like to be running loose, looking for another dog to fight, disobeying me by not coming back when called.  Jelly just wants to walk by my side like the Lady she is.  She knows how to present the best possible picture of her canine self.

Everyone Jelly meets  falls in love with her on sight.  I take her on long walks with me and she meets people wherever we go.  She also gets taken to the Scouting Field in Watchung Reservation where she runs and plays off leash with a Dalmation named Lazarus.  He is a constant there and her best friend.  I leave her there with his owner, and she brings her back to me hours later after she and Lazarus have had their long and happy canine play date.

Afterwards, it is the dogs’ dinner time and they eat heartily.  Jelly may not always eat her breakfast, but she always eats her dinner.  The days are moving along more the  way I would like them to of late.  The departure of winter is an enormous help for me.  I am able to do more varied things and enjoy my surroundings and especially the borzois I love so much, my beloved Tresor and Jelly.  Moreover, in addition to the enormous weeding project outdoors, I am tackling the job of interior, or shall I say, mental weeding, trying to get rid of all the bad thoughts and memories of the winter before that disturbed me so much.

I would like to add one more thing before ending, that on Monday this week, April 17, my Jelly was seven years old.  I am so lucky to have her.  She is a comfort to me in this world that I never believed could be possible.  I can never thank her breeder, Frances Wright, for letting Jelly come to live with me two years ago.  I am forever in her debt.

Blyss Transitions of Seasons and Life

Sometimes I do not know how I go on one day to the next.  Much is happening here at Blyss.  Some of it is very private, such as my relationships; some pertains to my life with borzoi, such as Lucy’s continued good fortune in the ring; some pertains with my colossal efforts to make serious changes to my outlook on life in order that I may be more successful going forward.   I expect to do better in the short term going forward.

First of all, my borzois, Tresor and Jelly, are doing well.  Both recently went through a period of harrowing, serious health scares.  Then, winter has gone, and we are slowly easing into the rising temperatures of spring.  It is April now, and soon there will be the seemingly sudden greening of the Mountain behind me, that dimension of ancient places, the Watchung Reservation, that I call home, in my back yard.   Moreover, I have been called upon to do a job for my primary breed club as Show Chair for our Specialty show in September.  Having spent the second half of the day and evening working on it, I am confident it will be completed very soon, pending the answers of some questions I asked of the President.

There is now a thaw in a formerly cold relationship but sadly I expect the relationship to remain forever in the past.  My assessment of the man was correct when I said good-bye.   I have further come to believe he hurts me so much because he, along with another man I recently loved, is a cad but for a different reason.  For, like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, he has no heart.   I am  looking for a different kind of partner for my world, one who may have some space in his life for a woman like me.  It sounds so simple when put this way but this person is very elusive to find.  Although it’s been easy to lose all hope, I will be committed to finding such a partner until the day I die.

In the meantime, there is the special beauty of Tresor and Jelly who make every day a special gift of love, grace and beauty.

Jelly at home

More Good News and Some Bad at Blyss Kennels

Undoubtedly, there has been much to be happy about at Blyss Kennels.  Tresor and Jelly are both well, even if I am taking Tresor to the veterinarian’s office tomorrow about an abscess on his gum.  I am not going to let them make me worry tonight.  We had an unseasonably warm steak of weather for February, with temperatures in the 60s and mid-70s.   So yes, all this is good news.  And recently, the beautiful international champion bitch, “Lucy”, the grand-daughter of our Majenkir bitch, “Mikhailya”, won Best in Breed and placed in the Hound Group two years in a row at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City on February 14, 2017.  My son, Graham, and I were both there in attendance on Tuesday night to see the final judging.  Last year, “Lucy” went all the way and was awarded Reserve Best in Show.  My heart stopped.  It was one of those rare times when I thought of my late husband, and hoped somehow or somewhere, he was watching that joyful moment.

So why did I break down in private so badly?  How could something so banal make me so ill?  What, or shall I say who was behind it, if anybody?   Who holds so much power over me, yet did?  Even I was shocked at the slope of the trajectory and the speed at which I slid downwards on it once it got in my way. But it did.  And for those who want to read about the dirt, so bad that not even borzoi love could protect me from, here it is.

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Dumped.  In retrospect I probably never had a chance.    Your way…. a cad’s way…….   I cannot recall a cross word….. and when I believed in us most of all you dissipated in silence.

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There are the darkest nights that envelop me through the longest days to eternity………  and leaving me feeling so defeated I embrace the darkness until it becomes comfort.

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I seek the special forest high in the mountain in the sun    Where a wild hawk can soar so high above the tops of the trees as if by magic then is out of sight.  Or, slivers of light in the night – stars –  Guide our feet along many winding trails.  I encounter strangers there. “Where is your home?”, they ask?  “Let me take you there.”    And I reply, “No.  It’s gone forever.  Good-bye, Friends, far and wide. Good-Bye.”

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Saturday night.  No sound but the inhales and exhales of sleeping hounds.   Tomorrow I must get up.  It is what is expected of me.

Lasts week I lingered long at the ledge…..     An instrument of harm in my hand……   Though the bleeding was only in my mind……   the pain lacerated through.

Here one minute gone the next……   You inhale love exhale hate like yoga……  To the din of racing thoughts…..  Someday you will let me know.

Still down but stirring.  Learning to walk.   Journeys beckon.  I can do better than this……   Be my star that I can follow….. a reason……..  To raise my eyes unto the mountain for my comfort!

Late November 2016 at Blyss Kennels, updates about the borzois

By late November, you can’t lie to yourself anymore and think that it is still summer or fall.  Like being at the end of your life and your beauty is dimmed, you are not in the springtime of your youth and therefore not the first pick of the boys.  The inevitable bitter cold with biting, raw winds bear down from wherever they come from as you try to go about your kennel work suddenly turning what once brought you joy in your beauty it into an unpleasant ugly chore.  To make things even worse, Jelly sustained a bad injury on her forelegs by falling down hard on them while running off leash in the Watchung Reservation, making it necessary to go to an Emergency Vet nearby and the beginning of many visits to “Dr. Mary” for “bandage changes”, making it a very expensive injury from which to recover.  The lacerations cut across her wrist joint and the challenge was to keep the wounds covered until they were healed to avoid osteomyelitis or “septic joint”.  So, all of that  has been happening, and after three weeks, there is still one wound wrapped although it is becoming noticeably smaller.  I feel as if I live on Rt. 78, the long road I need to take to get to another road that takes me to Washington, NJ, where our regular vet office resides.  I would not let another vet practice touch my borzois, as I learned the hard way from past experiences.

There has been much in the way of good news, too.  I still see announcements on Facebook of Mikhailya’s great-grandson, “Vinto” wining Best in Show placements in Japan on a regular basis.  How proud we all are of him.  But not only of him, of his great dam, “Lucy”, who still does a lot of Best in Show winning here in the States, herself.  The next very big show will be the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in February in New York City.  That will be followed by the Borzoi Club of America National Specialty Show in Hunt Valley, Maryland, the week of May 10 – 17, 2017.  I can only wait and wonder if Lucy’s owners will show her in these shows again.  It is just hard to say, and I am not privy to this information.  Perhaps they will bring “Vinto” back since he has done so well in Japan.  If I were their owners, that is what I would do, but I am not.

I have been trying to keep my spirits up, but with the onset of the holiday season, it is very difficult.  I have been reading more, in the historical biography area.  I just finished the Ellie Bolles Ellison (2014) The True Mary Todd Lincoln, and want to read the Chernow  biography of Hamilton fame, since I can’t afford to spend $1,000.00 on a Broadway ticket to see the play.  It’s comical that this milestone has come about.  I could say more about this in light of the outcome of the recent presidential election, but I demur.  However,  I digress.  What I mean to say is, by reading it creates the illusion that I am in the company of others and it distracts me from the intense loneliness I feel.  It appears that I am not anybody’s cup of tea.  Watching the movies on Turner Classic Movies has the same effect.  I think I will try to do more reading in the new year, or, it depends on what movie is playing.  Perhaps I can be more selective.

The well being of Jelly and Tresor are all I can ask or expect.  Nothing else really matters at this point, as long as I can rise each morning and do what I need to do every day.   But I know all too well how alone I am and how much the responsibility for Jelly and Tresor weighs on me.

At this time, I can identify other areas that are critical and important, and I will be writing more about them in the year to come.

In particular, one area of interest that developed for me in 2016 and about which I have written before was the need for donkey rescue.  I have begun to see more attention given to this cause throughout the year.  Facebook has many groups with people who have a keen interest in this topic, and in recent months, the New York Times, reversing a long period of disappointment I have had in them, has taken up the topic with vigor.   And as donkeys require awareness and assistance, so it goes for all equines, horses, large and small.  I hope I can raise the level of awareness somewhat in Blyss Blog readers while still remaining true to the focal topic of this blog, the borzois of Blyss Kennels and challenges and joys I have living with them.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  In spite of many sorrows, I have much to be thankful for.  I hope you do, too.

 

 

Early November, Blyss Kennels, Mountainside, NJ. Musings about the Mountain

This time of year, early November, one cannot look away for long and not see the spectacular beauty of the mountain along which Mountainside is located.  And, a large part of the town is stretched out along the bottom, so one cannot help but notice as the town’s people go about to and fro performing their life’s work, they feel surrounded by a wall of forest behind them or that they can look up to, a wall that changes colors with such consistency and accuracy you can base your life on it.  Moreover, contemplating the constancy of the mountain, I always recall the following words:

“I lift my eyes up into the hills, for from there comes my help!”  Psalms 1:1

  We are just now, in early November, somewhat past the peak of fall foliage, however I want to comment how lovely a season it has been and how grateful I have been for that.  When driving around along many of the town’s roads or on the highway that cuts across the town at the southern point, US Highway (Rt.) 22, you are driving parallel with the mountain.  There are three main roads that take you from Rt. 22 through the town and into the mountain with the preserved forest at the top, “Watchung Reservation”. They are Summit Road, Central Avenue, and New Providence Road, like Rt. 22, ancient roads.  These days, Blyss Kennels today is located in the vestiges of an old farming neighborhood on Central Avenue.  My house, built in 1920, is a small cottage along side a large field giving the impression that it is my own front yard.  It is not, alas.  Many photographs of myself with my borzois have been taken in this bucolic setting perpetrating this illusion shamelessly.  It is worth mentioning because I have a strong sense of place, and I believe my borzois, those currently living and those deceased, are and always have been happy here.

Moreover, I know it now with certitude, my  borzois are happiest with me and  me alone.  We do not need anyone else.  Oh yes, sometimes I may want a dog-sitter or another dog-walker for them from time to time.  Otherwise, I am sufficient.  And I have come to realize I only want them, with their perfect love; their pure love; them and God.  We need no other.  Yes, like the wild meadow fields that one comes upon hiking in the Watchung Reservation, the land formerly cultivated for corn and other crops, my field is a spectacular beauty here at home, enjoying it together with them.

“……Even though the moment passed me by I still can’t turn away.”  Goo Goo Dolls.  Name.

How interesting it is that when contemplating the beauty of nature, even a relatively small mountain in a suburban community, how much one learns about oneself if they take the time to consider it’s presence and beauty.

Coda.  I may have the misfortune of outliving my “field” while living here if it is sold to developers.  Its owner died two years ago and his heirs want to sell it.  I can’t do anything about that and  I don’t have the means to purchase it myself.