Friday, July 2, 2010

GONE TO THE DOGS - A Problem I Couldn't Handle

For the first month Wayne and I worked together I did get my time off. After the dogs started running he started to miss work. At first I was picking up a little extra then I was doing extra turnouts and then I was only getting one turnout a week off and sometimes not even that. Basically it was no different from working with Sal except that the dogs were winning. In the meantime he was missing days at a time except for weigh in's which he was required by law to do and I couldn't do for him.

Then there was a dog fight. One of the dogs had her ear cut which wasn't severe but when a dog's ear gets cut it bleeds like crazy. He was there when it happened and I watched him doctor it. That afternoon when we came in for turnout she had gotten the bandage off and Wayne redid it. This time he wrapped the bandage around her whole head instead of just her ear so that she couldn't get it off.

That night when I went in to turnout the dog was wheezing. I looked for Wayne at the track but I couldn't find him. I did my work for the evening and went home thinking that he would stop by the kennel after the races like he sometimes did. The next morning I could see that he had not been there.

I did my morning work. I talked to his friends who assurred me that Wayne intended to be there, so I went home again thinking Wayne would be there. He was not. That afternoon there was a note for me at the guardshack to take the racers down and somebody else would be weighing them in. I did this and I let his friends know that Wayne needed to come to the kennel because one of the dogs had a problem that I couldn't fix. I had redone the bandage and she didn't wheeze when it was off but as soon as I put it on she started having problems again.

Still Wayne was a no show. I wished Jeff were still around but he had taken a job at another track. I talked to a trainer I trusted that night and at first he wouldn't help me. He didn't want to interfere in Wayne's kennel. I finally got him to tell me to cut a slit in the bandage at the base of her neck and that would help her breathe. I did this and she seemed to get better.

The next morning still no Wayne and the dog was in as bad a shape as ever. I was becoming furious by this point. I went to one of his friends and I told him I needed help. At first he refused. He refused until I told him that if he didn't come help the dog I was going to the track vet and telling her about it and the fact that Wayne had not been to the kennel in 3 days. Reluctantly he accompanied me to the kennel.

As soon as we opened the kennel door, we could hear the dog wheezing. He looked at me with alarm in his eyes and he was a veteran trainer. I knew for him to express worry was a big deal. We took the dog out of her crate and he gently doctored her and the wheezing stopped. He wrapped the bandage around her head but it was much looser than what either Wayne or I had done. Apparently I had been slowly strangling the poor dog.

Wayne showed up that night, apologizing profusely for leaving me. He had also thanked Bill for taking care of the dog when I couldn't. He was mad that I threatened to go to the vet. He trusted the trainer I had forced to help me and believed him when he told him just how bad the situation was.

I even got a whole weekend off, partly for good work and partly for not going to track officials. He also quit not showing up for work although I didn't get anymore time off after that until he left the kennel.

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