Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Greyhound Trainer

Everything starts with first turnout. Everybody out to stretch their legs, relieve themselves and just start the day. Then...

1.on a good day just put them in the sprint field and they will run and play.

2.on a bad day run with them and inspire them to run when they don't want to.

3.on a fun day trick some kid into running with them, who thinks they are having fun

7am -

1.check previous night's racers for injuries

2. make sure tonight's racers are fit

3. take care of sick and hurt dogs

4. weigh today and tomorrow's racers.(all dogs have to be within 1 1/2 pounds of a set weight or they can't run - if they can't run then you lose money and you get fined then they can't run for 10 days which costs you more money and you have to official school them back which is another race for no money)

8 am - feed them. most bitches get around 2 pounds of feed a day, most males get 2 1/2 to 3 pounds a day. racers get a little snack in the morning. (food looks like a giant bowl of cabbage roll stuffing after you mix it - beef, rice, vegetables, stress dex (electrolytes), Purina high pro dog food is the basic mix - everybody has their own magic formula.

9 am - 2nd. turnout. beds if you didn't do them first turnout

2. everybody is relaxing after a good meal

3. keep on pooper scoopin'

10 am - clean kennel and pens, go home

twice a week you have morning schooling. this is where you put new and recovering dogs on the track at different distances. you have to hold them and let them go when the rabbit goes by and then run to the finish line and catch them before they have a chance to run off. if you are lucky you have help to do this. it adds approximately an hour to your morning.

3 pm - afternoon turnout. usually the longest most relaxing turnout.

1. everybody goes outside to clean out and stretch their legs.

2. usually racers have a separate turnout so that water can be regulated.

3. weigh and snack racers

4. pick up pens again

6 pm - official weigh in

1. turnout and check racers weights one more time before loading dogs in truck to go to track

2. take dogs to track where they are weighed and their tattoos are checked to make sure the right dog is there

3. official schooling is twice a week. pups and dogs working back from injuries or whatever are raced at official distances in front of the judges to prove they are ready for official races. this takes about another hour and a half - usually until 7:30 when official races start.

7:30 to whenever you are finished racing

1. pick up all dogs in races and cool them out by hosing them down and walking them and giving them water. You can have as little as one dog in (rare) or as many as 10 or so, it just depends on the luck of the draw.

2. do night turnout. everybody goes outside again to pee and stretch their legs for a half hour to an hour depending on the weather and your race schedule. more pooper scoopin'!

3. after races are over feed and check racers for injuries. turn them out to pee and rest a little outside.

4. go home (it is somewhere between 11pm and 1 am and you have to be back at 5 in the morning to do it all over again.

this schedule in all it's variations is done 7 days a week - 365 days a year. if you are lucky you have help. if you don't have help you do it anyway. there is no racing on Christmas and Thanksgiving but you still have to go to the kennel and take care of the dogs because they don't know it's a holiday. (all 4 turnouts, all day long)

you don't do this job for the money although the money is good. (actually everybody gets a salary because you work 70 to 80 hours a week) you do this job to be with the dogs. it is a way of life - not a job!

motto: if you want a job with 9 to 5 rules then get a job with 9 to 5 hours!

Oh, I forgot, 3 matinees a week in the afternoon (1:30 to 4:30) - so you can't go home a take a nap!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bruno, Who?

I once had a boss named Bruno for a couple of months. He was a nice guy. He was from Switzerland. I used to enjoy listening him talk to his girlfriend on the phone in Swiss(?). It kind of had a sing song tone to it. Anyway...

Bruno was leaving for another job and I was saying goodbye to him. All of a sudden he reached over and laid one hell of a kiss on me. It took me completely by surprise, in fact I was so surprised that I didn't stop him. My friend Samantha was standing there and she died laughing. When the kiss was over he just turned around and walked away - never to be seen again.

Sam and I went back to the commissary and everybody was hanging out in there including my husband, Bobby. We were both smiling at each other and one of the guys asked me if I had seen Bruno leave. Sam and I burst out laughing and she said, "Boy, did she ever!" I laughed and said, "oh, yeah!" This of course got everybody's attention including Bobby's.

I said, "He said bye and then he gave me a bad case of rug burn with the kiss he gave me!" Sam was rolling in the floor by this time and everybody started laughing and of course turned to look at Bobby. Bobby was standing there with a big forced smile on his face and bobbing his head like he had a habit of doing when he was irritatedtrying to take all the good natured ribbing he was getting. (he knew there was no way that I had anything at all with instigating that kiss) After a couple of minutes of the guys hooting and hollering, Bobby excused himself. Then of course they started to kid me about being in trouble but I wasn't worried about it. Bobby and I trusted each other.

I didn't see Bobby all day due to conflicting work schedules. That night when I got home he had dinner waiting and flowers and we had a wonderful lovely night together. Every so often though throughout the evening at strategic moments he would ask, "Bruno?"

I would just reply, "Bruno, who?" He worked hard at making me forget that kiss from Bruno and it was one of the most romantic nights we ever had.

The Helping Hand Song

When we were kids we used to drill each other in the back with the helping hand. Basically we would walk around with our fist smashing into the middle of each others back while singing the helping hand song until somebody cried uncle! There were no rules, just a pain inflicting fist rammed into your back (usually between your shoulder blades). The fist would follow you everywhere you went. It would start out easy and gradually become unbearable.

Here is the Helping Hand song (that was the only rule, you had to sing the song over and over as long as your fist was in the other person's back)

The helping hand

The helping hand

Helps you anyway it can

The helping hand

The helping hand

Helps you anyway it can

(keep repeating over and over and over)

You guys can't imagine how hard I am laughing to myself right now.