The Blyss Blog

Names of dogs we know and love

I am always amazed by the individuality of each dog that I have known in my life.  And how, like humans, each appears to have his own unique combination of DNA, first that determines its breed, or mix or breeds if it is a mixed breed dog, and its appearance, but most of all its intelligence, personality and temperaments.  We share those variations with them in our own minds and bodies.  Yet, how few of us really takes the time to think of them that way, as perhaps “individuals” with lives, minds, phases of their life, and so on that comprise a story.   Other than petting, walking, taking our dogs to the vet, living with them, do we ever try to peel back the layer of their persona to read that story, the story of their lives, to better know them?

I think for me, I like to think of them that way, as lives with merit and value, whose stories may be told if someone takes the time to consider it.

Blyss Happiness side by side with Grief

When you give you heart to a dog to love, you can be sure it will break sooner or later. Some dogs will die way before their time and that truly breaks your heart, while others linger long after their time and you nurse them and try everything in your power to make them comfortable, so it is never easy. But to lose a borzoi before its second birthday to a tragic illness is devastating. Fifteen years ago, we lost our beloved Opal. The hand of God came down from heaven. He took her away and made her His own. I have to wait until I die to see her again. Her absence weighs heavily on my mind, especially this time of year, since it was the day after Christmas that Bob and I met her at the home where she was whelped, at Raynbo, the beautiful home and kennel of our friends, the Zuckers. It is a mystery I must live with every day, but it is not for me to question why. I can never stop loving her! The pain of losing her never abates. Having lived through that, I can accept anything now, nothing matters. For life, I say, “Bring it on, I can take it!”

Blyss Kennels on a beautiful October day!

This is the kind of day one dreams about in New Jersey, from the most northern parts of the state to the southern tip, and I have been fortunate enough to have spent lovely October days with my borzoi in both places, but especially in Cape May with Bob, my deceased and last husband, who died suddenly in 2011. Today, the sun is bright and warm, and the sky is azure blue, or, as I like to note, the magic color of a robin blue eggshell. However, this is the exact time we learned of my husband’s illness. Getting Bob’s diagnosis broke my heart, because my knowledge of medicine made his diagnosis very realistic to me that he would never recover and after a very brief illness he died.

When the oncologist told us his diagnosis and prognosis, we were in the hospital, and I was standing at the foot of the bed. We both worked in the pharmaceutical industry, and I don’t think he knew that then. Later, he told a friend of mine whom he met that he did not know if we understood what he had told us. She assured him we did. After the doctor left the room and we were alone, I turned to Bob and said, “We could have been so happy. Now, we’ll never have the chance.” Sadly, he seemed to agree with me and understood what I was saying.

It was late October. We had planned to stay at our favorite inn at Cape May that weekend where we could bring the borzoi, and it had to be canceled, but I was referring to more than that. I believed our marriage failed in every way. I had not been happy. A most beloved borzoi puppy bitch had died before its second birthday, and I had a complete nervous breakdown in 2006. His way was to be remote and detached from me and he had hobbies that took him away from home when I craved his companionship. He also favored his sons who lived with us, over me. These events destroyed my love. However, when he became ill, I did everything in my power to help him become well. It seemed to me the oncologist had written him off, but I insisted he be given parenteral nutrition. It did not save him, but it helped, and if there were to be a miracle, it would have been the difference that helped. But while the tumors were shrinking, there were infections and internal hemorrhages. He succumbed.

I often look back on that time and ask myself, would we have separated and divorced? Would I have forgiven him for not understanding why I grieved over my puppy so badly? Would he have spent more time at home with me? Did he still love me? Was I healthy again? Better? Instead, I had to stand up and take charge of our home and our dogs without him, care for them all, and in a year, I downsized and found a loving home for Tresor, my little “Terror”! It has had its joys but many difficulties. I have had cancer twice and broke my shoulder walking Tresor. Love in my life has been nonexistent. It fails 100% of the time so I have to let it go and learn to be strong, very, very strong, alone.