Things Change

It amazes me, the alterations I have undergone since I became an avid borzoi fancier. I do not think that any one who knows me now, would recognize the person I was in my pre-borzoi years. On the other hand, those who knew me then would be hard-pressed to recognize me now! It is a testament to the magic of this breed, the change that was wrought upon me.

Animals have always taken a major role in my life, and I have them to thank for keeping me off some of the paths I could have taken in this journey called life. Of course, they kept me from some beneficial things also, but I donít regret my choices. For example, I ditched piano lessons and art lessons in order to take riding lessons. But this in turn led to the ownership of my first horse, which then in turn taught me bundles about responsibility and freedom. I had plenty of freedom - Toby served as transportation to friends houses and I spent hours on his back on the weekends and in the summertime. But the price I paid was his care. I did not have time for many of the things that teenagers do while experiencing the pangs of growing up and the wonderment of pre-adulthood. I did manage to make my own share of "trouble", but nothing compared to what I may have been tempted to do with more copious amounts of spare time.

The same is true for the present time. My mother questions me often about why I want to spend so much time and money on "critters". I try and explain to her that I do not attend movies or concerts any where near as much as I once did, because my money is funneled towards the needs of the dogs. I also do not spend enormous amounts on going clubbing or drinking and all the other activities she and my father were not so pleased about in earlier years. Therefore, she should be pleased in my choice of a "social life", even if it does appear immensely boring to the layman.

Another facet is employment. I flitted from job to job as a teenager. Work is a definite crimp in my personal life. Innumerable hobbies (canine-related or otherwise) must be put on hold while I punch time earning kibble, show entries, grooming supplies and treats. I am not so worried as to how the creditors would get paid as I am about how my furry children are going to eat. Iíve had times where I have subsisted on Ramen noodles and hot dogs while the borzoi didnít miss a meal of premium quality kibble. But such is the responsibility of keeping company with my cherished companions.

Another interesting way in which I have been affected by borzoi, in regards to appearance, is my wardrobe. I am so much more conservative these days. The era of trying to find the oddest outfit to wear is behind me. And I have never been so concerned before as to whether or not a piece of apparel sports pockets. It borders on obsession. If something catches my eye in a catalog or on the rack, the first thing I am looking for is pockets. If there are no pockets present, then is there a good spot to attach a bait bag? Also gone are the knee-high boots, ripped jeans and metal accents. Iíve even been caught wearing hose (albeit with a leather skirt) on the days I finished Nigel and Tassja. All the scratching and pulling was worth it.

Of course, transportation is another aspect, as discussed in a previous article. I envy those I see behind the wheel of SUVís and old muscle cars. What I wouldnít give for an Exterra or Rav4, or a í69 Mustang Fastback. But instead, I climb behind the wheel of a beat-up Aerostar that Iíve logged almost 50,000 miles on in the span of a year and a half. This bastion of domesticity is kept only for the sake of toting around spoiled dogs. Two airline crates take up residence in the rear, while the two passenger seats gather dust in the storage barn. At my previous residence, they formed my living room group along with a bean bag chair.

I look around me, at Nigel and Nikki and their children that are still with me, and I am pleased. I look forward to any future contributions I may make to the breed and my vision of the standard. I see old pictures of past borzoi and compare them to those that I admire today, and witness some of the evolution of our breed. In turn, I see myself in the mirror in the early morning and I reflect on the person I have become - and I thank my dogs for the evolution that they have caused within me, for I am a better person for their presence.