Pedigree for Novik Mily

Rus Ch
Majenkir Novik Mily

Majenkir Bogatyr of Venice S

Majenkir Arcticus

Arnov Gerik

Majenkir White Linen

Birchwood's Encore


Birchwood's Dresden v. Tobien

Birchwood's Huntress Nadia


Majenkir Bellefleur

Bevro's Rocky B Majenkir

Majenkir Artizan


Tooth Fairy Duncan

Majenkir Cassandra

Majenkir Gyrfalcon


Crescent's Crafty

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Russian and American Ch Majenkir Novik Mily

Mily was sent to Russia at four months of age as part of a program a group of us had envisioned, to return a bit of the ancient bloodlines to their native country. These bloodlines had been lost when whole kennels of Borzoi, symbolic of the aristocracy, were destroyed during the Revolution. Mily’s bloodlines go back to the early Russian imports to the USA; hounds descended from the great Perchino and Woronzova kennels.

The story actually begins about the time the iron curtain came down. While attending a concert in Leningrad, as St. Petersburg was then called, musician friends of mine, Don and Barbara Mallow, met a woman walking three Borzois. This woman invited the Mallows to attend a Borzoi club meeting and upon their return home, Don, Barbara and I began plans to bring a Russian breeder, Nadia Navakova, to the US. We drew up all of the necessary papers, which included a visa, her purpose for being here, a promise to return to Russia and supplying a health insurance policy for her while here. Nadia fl ew over to spend two weeks at Majenkir in a memorable cultural exchange which included her judging a match for BCNE and being interviewed, complete with a translator, for a full-page article appearing in the NY Times. After Nadia’s return to Russia, several of us discussed the desperate poverty these brave breeders were struggling against. It was obvious that help was needed and so we formed a non-profi t organization, “Save Russia’s Borzoi.” At the time, another Borzoi owner and friend, Pauline Bilsky, began traveling to St. Petersburg with her husband Don, whose business was based in Russia. Pauline took an interest in helping and became indispensable as the go-between.

Nadya & grandmother admire the new dog

Mily’s first meal in Russia

Preparing a meal in a Russian kitchen/ living room

We quickly learned that the only way to be sure anything of value would arrive at its destination in Russia was by hand delivery. Pauline’s bi-monthly travels suited our needs perfectly. A plea was sent to fanciers and the donations poured in! To those of you who were so generous at that time, with your donations of cash, vaccines, medicinal supplies and parasite control products, again we thank you. Many Borzois were saved through these vaccinations and people were helped. Diseases such as parvo were rampant, causing entire litters to be lost. Vaccines and even simple medicines such as aspirin were virtually unattainable and without preventatives, the dogs were covered in fl eas and heavily infested with tapeworms. It is interesting to note that through dozens of flights, Customs officials never inspected nor questioned the ice cooler of vaccines, nor the boxes of needles and syringes Pauline hand-carried.

The American dollar was extremely strong in Russia at that time, enabling Nadia to purchase land with a snug farmhouse, all for under a thousand dollars! She was among the first of the post- Communist regime to become a landowner. She built a small kennel on her farm, which she modeled after the Perchino plans. It consists of a simple log building, the walls lined with sleeping platforms to raise the dogs off the floor. Long, clean straw is used for bedding.

Nadia and I then made plans to exchange Borzoi. She was to find a good bitch for me, preferably from pure Russian lines. I was told these dogs were hard to find, as many modern Russian Borzoi are crossed with dogs from Scandinavia, England and other countries. In turn, I was to send her a good male, who would be her dog but she agreed to make him available for stud use to sincere breeders. Of course I was hesitant about sending a dog that I loved to such an uncertain, unknown future, especially when one breeder expressed her concern over the possibility of pups being bred and sent back to America for profit.

At the time, our country was experiencing an influx of Borzoi from Russia. It was believed by the Russians that the Americans were anxious to buy their dogs. However, these poor animals were unwanted and ending up in humane societies and rescue situations.

Then a letter arrived from Phydelma Gillette, who was living in a nursing home. I am fortunate to have known Phydelma and her husband Lyle, of Rancho Gabriel Borzoi fame, as friends and mentors. Phyl wrote to me in shaky script, hard to decipher but I save and cherish the letter to this day. She wrote about how wonderful she thought it was that I was to return a dog from the Romanoff bloodlines to its native country. She expressed a wish that Lyle was still alive to know of it and how thrilled he would have been. Sending a good dog to Russia had been one of his ambitions and dreams that could never be realized in his lifetime due to world politics. That letter firmed my decision: Mily would go.

Mily growing up and off to a hunt

I sent him at four months; an age I hoped was safe for travel, yet young enough for him to adjust to the difference in food and to be raised as one of Nadia’s own. Nadia chose his name Mily, which means “Sweetheart.”

Navakova is her kennel name. He thrived in Russia and, at maturity, was shown by Nadia, easily completing his Russian championship. Mily even won a group three in the “Native Working Group” classes after taking Breed at St. Petersburg the day he completed his championship. He was awarded “Excellent” by all who judged him.

Over the years, “Save Russia’s Borzoi” had evolved into another non-profit organization re-named “Rabota” (translation means “work”) which helped primarily Russian women who were alone, to become self-sufficient. Pauline continued over the years to hand-deliver cash, medicines, vaccines and even dog food, to the group we had been helping. The concept of Capitalism was virtually unknown in Russia but they were quick to learn of the advantages!

A successful Russian hunt for Metell & Podar

We helped Nadia obtain two good cows so she could sell milk and hand-made cheeses, then a difficult-to-find handloom peddled by foot, since electricity is so unreliable in her village. With the loom, she is paid by her neighbors to card and spin their wool. Incredibly, this is a real life example of rural Russia in the 21st century!

Earlier Nadia had sent me a pretty puppy bitch named Romashka. Although she had some lovely Borzoi features, such as tiny ears, beautiful eyes and a perfect mouth with large molars, I found her to be “weedy” and unsound. I kept her as a housedog but never bred her. It is interesting that when she first arrived, she would literally “eat off the land.” I watched her graze the heads of seed grasses and eat all insects and bugs. This self-preservation instinct was quickly lost after she learned that she would receive two squares, including meat, each day! When I visited Russia, I met Romashka’s sister, Razlouka Novik, a good-quality bitch, and decided that I would prefer a puppy from her if she were bred to Mily. Razlouka is a light self-red Borzoi of lovely quality. She is an outstanding courser and hunter, sweet with people, but she “walks on the wild side.” she turns her dogs loose each morning to run and hunt! They bring back small game, which go into the pot and are stewed for all to share.

Learning of my disappointment in Romashka, Nadia offered me the sister. When I learned that Razlouka had killed a few sheep instead of small game while out hunting and like her sister, Romashka, tore fencing with her teeth to escape, I thought it wiser not bring her to New Jersey. Razlouka remained in Russia and was bred to Mily when he matured. Nadia was thrilled with the quality of the nine puppies. However, tragedy struck in the form of a parvo-like virus and the pick puppies were lost. Of the five surviving Nadia kept two and raised to six months of age two bitches and a dog to send to me.
Judges examining Mily (above)  
In 1999 when Pauline visited Russia again, she returned with four Borzois, three of these were the Mily six-month-old pups out of Razlouka, the fourth an unrelated male, Snerzak. Rosha, an elegant and pretty red-spotted bitch, is still in residence at Majenkir kennels. To ship the dogs safely on a direct flight to JFK meant driving from St. Petersburg to Moscow. The only direct flights to the US left from Moscow. A Russian couple, Dimitri and his wife Sofia, Borzoi breeders living in Moscow offered their help. They drove Pauline, her nephew, three puppies and one adult Borzoi to the airport in Moscow in their tiny car! We are indebted to them for their help and assistance. All four Borzois arrived safely at JFK. The adult Borzoi male was Snerzak, Nadia’s Russian-bred, who was being replaced by Mily. Snerzak was placed in a loving pet home in America. I also placed the male puppy, Razliv and one of the bitch puppies, Rosa, in pet homes, where they have adjusted well. It has been agreed that they will be kept intact in the event fate makes a decision and one of them may be needed for a future breeding.
On his way to winning BOB in St. Petersburg
I kept and have plans to breed the third import from the Mily/Razlouka litter, Roscha, hopefully this summer. I find her a bit “fine” and not as angulated as I prefer but she has lovely Borzoi features and a pedigree which I hope to preserve. All three imports are spotted with rich red/gold markings.

In Russia, Mily sired two litters for Nadia and a few outside litters. To date I have been informed of at least five Russian champion offspring that Mily has sired. There are also two in Finland, which were born in Moscow of a Russian bitch.

The Russian economy continued to decline. A business associate of Don Bilsky was murdered and the company began to withdraw their Russian assets. Pauline’s visits to Russia lessened. Sadly, economics in Russia continued to worsen. Nadia needed to cut back on dog numbers, as food became scarcer for humans. She had to part with Mily and asked if I wanted him back or if he should go to a new home in Russia. Of course I wanted him to come home. Plans began immediately to have Pauline bring him home during her next visit.

Mily placed 3rd in the Russian Working Group

Then her husband Don’s business trips to Russia were completely cancelled. Still Pauline wanted to see the story through to its conclusion, to visit her friend in Russia and fly Mily home. Due to unforeseen circumstances, her trip was continually delayed. An alternate plan needed to be found and when I expressed concern for Mily’s future to Candy Lindsay, she proposed a solution. Candy was planning a trip to Paris and thought it would hardly be out of her way to pop over to St Petersburg to pick up Mily!

Many people were involved in Mily’s Russian adventure but among then all, Candy is unique. It was a tremendous effort to put the arrangements together to run smoothly. First of all, to track and book a flight to St. Petersburg, then fl y back to Paris with a large dog and 700 kennel on extremely short notice. Contact had to be made with Nadia at her farm south of Pskov through a translator. She had to prepare Mily and bring him into the city with proper documents and health papers stamped and dated. With no one to drive her, she rode with Mily on public transportation, a bus, for the nine-hour trip to the city!

Candy flew to St Petersburg, located Nadia with Mily and even found time to meet with a group of friends to offer further assistance. Candy and Mily flew to Paris where they spent a few days in the lap of luxury in a four-star Paris hotel before the flight home.

The day of his expected return to the USA arrived. I met Pauline and Don outside of JFK customs and we anxiously scanned the crowds streaming through customs. Through a minor glitch, they were delayed at customs for over an hour. My heart sank more as the minutes ticked by, imagining all sorts of horrors.
This Mily’s first Russian litter
Finally the doors opened and there was Candy, wheeling the 700 kennel on an airport dolly with Mily walking calmly at her side. It was a sight to behold! We all cheered when we saw them, then took Mily outside to relieve himself. He calmly looked around while Candy relayed their adventures. He was a little thin and a bit dehydrated from the lengthy trip but seemed otherwise none the worse for his ordeal.

His coat was in fair condition so I decided to show him once he settled in. On the W. Springfield circuit, he was shown four days and won three majors and a Reserve Winners Dog from the Bred By classes.

Mily pups at JFK, 1999

Soon after he became desperately ill with a high fever and I feared we might lose him. We rushed him to Animerge, a group of specialists, where extensive, exhausting testing was done. Nothing abNormal1 could be found. The consensus was that he had contracted a virus that he had no acquired immunity for. Recovery was slow but fi nally he began to show an interest in life and once again became his happy self.
Candi brings Mily home from Russia!
Mily recently finished his American championship. I would expect that this would make him the first Borzoi to have gone to Russia, completed a Russian championship, then returned to the US to become an American champion all from the Bred By class, even winning the AKC Bred By Award. At this time, Mily’s first American-born litter, now 10 weeks old, are playing while I write, a major distraction! These pups are out of my lovely Specialty and Futurity-winning Ch. Majenkir Tzelena, who is descended through the matriarch tail line to the great show bitch and producer Ch. Majenkir Tzarina Tsuzy. This is an all-white litter of six boys, two girls and they show the promise of their pedigree. Two males and two bitches will remain at Majenkir. If they continue to mature with the promise they now show, they will have a bright future indeed!

Mily’s pedigree is mainline Majenkir blended with “old type” Duncan and Crescent. To my eye he shows a definite “Duncan look” with that bit of extra beauty it brings in his classic headpiece. Whether from his Russian upbringing or his bloodlines, I cannot say, but he always carries himself “up,” with a regal pride, his head held high.

Mily looks into the distance as if constantly on the hunt. Or is he seeing and remembering, in his mind’s eye, the unfenced, open Russian plains he raced across in his youth?

Majenkir Borzoi Reg.

Karen Staudt-Cartabona Box 150, Lotus Terrace, Swartswood NJ 07877 • 973-383-5858