The Essence of Borzoi

Yesterday I went out on my once weekly thorough grooming and teeth brushing routine. All the Borzoi know it and oddly, all of them love it. They usually jockey for position as soon as they see my tools in my hand.

I had only had Kitty for a little less than 5 months. Although Kitty had good care before coming to me, she had not been off of Nora's place much, so she was pretty unworldly. She still is not a big one for enthusiastic greetings or big displays of emotion. She is one of the quieter type of Borzoi.

When the Borzoi spied the pin brush in my hand they knew it was time for their grooming, so when I sat down I was bombarded with Borzoi heads. They all stared down at me, wagging their tails, each hoping that I would start with them. Morgana was very resourceful. She simply got in my lap and I was forced to start with her. The others did not give up. They all stood around watching as I brushed Morgana's teeth and brushed her long coat. When I finished with her she hopped up and ran off, and Kitty promptly and quietly laid on my feet.

It was something in the way she did it, the thoughtful way she presented herself to me after she laid down. The look on her face said simply, "Here I am, I am laying down just like you want me to so that you can brush my teeth."

This is one of the reasons I love Borzoi so much. Their subtle gestures and silent communication is so precious, like the first small perfect snowflake that lands unheralded on your car: nearly unnoticeable yet remarkable because of its uniqueness and understated beauty. Borzoi are like that.

My boys are examples of how Borzoi can be so in tune with their people. To see them as they are right now they look pretty unextraordinary. JR is flat on his side on the floor, looking like a shaggy black rug, and Yankee is on the couch with his eyes half shut and his exhaling breaths fluttering his lips in a very undignified manner. They look like, well, like DOGS. Just plain old lazy dogs. But sometimes even I underestimate their loyalty and almost ESP-like communication with me.

JR is MY dog. No question about his loyalty to me. There are very few people he really likes, and out of those few he does, I am undoubtedly at the top. With me he is very cuddly and loving, very cute, especially when he offers his paw to me with great dignity. He refuses to be caught by any one but me when he goes lure coursing, and he sometimes stubbornly but politely ignores others' commands. He knows he belongs to me but in typical Borzoi fashion he also knows I belong to him. He lays with his front half on my lap at night for hours. He does not move even though he has a thick coat and probably gets very hot. His eyes close in doggy delight and his bottom lip relaxes so that there is a little cup formed there. He is perfectly at ease and in turn, whenever I take a blood pressure test I think about JR's white throat leaning against my face in sheer bliss. Works every time.

Morgana shocked me the other day. We were having "Dog Days" in the Karcher Mall, a place she has never been before. The night before the big event, I went over to look at the store we were having the display in. I unlocked the back door, accidently getting the right door the first time, so I really didn't remember clearly which door it was, and they weren't marked on the outside, either. When I went over the next morning, we parked outside the mall and I let Morgana out of the truck. It was very early and there was no one else there, so I let her trot around, figuring she'd smell around the garbage cans or something, then accompany me into the building, when I found the damn door again. The doors looked different in the daylight and I wasn't too sure which door it was, since I had only seen it once and very quickly too, and Morgana had not been with me the previous night, so obviously she would be of little use to me in finding the door, besides, why would she care, anyway? But when Morgana got out of the truck, she went directly to a door and sat down, looking back at me hopefully. I walked over and tried the key and lo and behold, it turned the lock. How in the hell did she know that was the door? She'd never been there before and I doubt I'd tipped her because I couldn't remember which door it was. I guess some experts may say that she used her nose and smelled my scent lingering there from the previous night, and I won't discount that, but it sure was weird and really neat the way she ran right over to that door and sat down. All those doors looked alike to me, but not to her.

Morgana is an amazing dog in many ways. Sometimes I think I don't really appreciate her in all her glory. Because she is so quiet and undemanding, it's easy to concentrate more heavily on the other dogs who are more demanding of my time. Awhile back, when the baby was about ten months old, we went to the park to practice show handling with some other people. I brought Morgana because she needed to run through her obedience exercises. My friend had her young Doberman bitch there, and she was doing typical cloddy puppy things, including stepping on Morgana (who was almost 9!!) and goofing around. As befits an aristocrat, Morgana calmly accepted the puppy's clumsy behavior. Later, we went under the tree were the baby was in her car seat. Morgana curled around the baby and when the Doberman came to see what was in the car seat, Morgana bared her teeth, silently, but she meant it. It's the only time I have ever seen Morgana do that, ever. It was obvious to me that she thought the gangly puppy might step on and hurt "her" baby.

Sherman did a quickie the other day when we were out coursing. It was the first time I'd had him out since he'd been back from Ann's, and when I got him out of the van he just stood there. He didn't go leaping about or anything. I thought maybe he was sick. So later when it was time for him to go to the line and course, he drug me up to the line! Hmmm. He went on to win the breed, so everyone was begging me to run him in BiF. I really didn't want to, and I rarely do run BiF, but according to my calculations, his breed win had finished him for his AKC title, and who knew when we'd be able to run him again, so I agreed to do it. I dressed him in his blanket and went up to wait for everyone to show up. No one was out there, and I was having SERIOUS regrets about entering Sherman in BiF. He was just STANDING there! Anyone that knows Sherman knows he is a leaping, barking fool at the lure course. But he didn't even care, not even when I showed him the lure. Finally, the lure operator and the judges went trudging out to their post somewhat in the middle of the field. Sherman's ears went up and he starting dragging me to the line. Now tell me, do you think that dog was smart enough to figure out that the course wouldn't start til the operator and judges were out there? You know, it kind of looks that way to me, just another amazing facet of my Borzoi.