Saturday, January 1, 2011

My First Major Dog Fight (for Frankie Baby)

I had two full turnout pens outside and I was inside doing beds when I heard a mighty roar. I raced outside because I knew what it meant - both pens were fighting! A greyhound fight is an awesome sight to see and I never met anybody that didn't freeze the first time they saw one. It is like watching a calm ocean rise up into a mighty tidal wave of seething, writhing dogs. It boggles your mind!

Anyway I went into the first pen to break it up (there were 26 dogs in each pen). I was pulling and pushing and screaming and doing basically anything I could to separate the dogs. I finally get the first pen calmed down and I headed for the second pen and I saw something that I only saw in that particular fight - I never saw it happen again in 13 years of racing.

There was a stud dog named Terri Hug Her in the other pen. He weighed 92 pounds, but he was a gentle giant. He was running between fighting dogs using the force of his weight to break them apart. I watched him do this with 3 different groups of dogs while I was trying to get to the pen. All I had to do when I got into the pen was to calm them down. The fight was basically over.

Unfortunately the other pen started to fight again so I had to go back over there. I ran to grab one particular dog because all the other dogs in the pen were ganging up on her. Just as I grabbed her collar the momentum of the fight shifted and a wave of greyhounds ran over me. I slipped in the sand and went down on my back. I remember in the one second that I was on the ground seeing a sea of legs around me.

I had one thought, "GET UP!" I did something that was normally physically impossible for me or just about anybody else to do. In the time that it took to think "GET", I was flat on my back with the dogs running over me! By the time I thought "UP!", I had leapt to my feet and was standing straight up (just like one of those fighters you see in a Karate movie when they are flat on the ground and they rise to their feet in one motion and you think to yourself - hey, that would be impossible to do)

Fear is a great motivator! If I had not gotten up so quickly those greyhounds would not have hesitated to eat me alive! Even though they are muzzled they can still bite through them and muzzles break and fall off in the frenzy of a fight all the time.

I grabbed the dog they were after and I dragged her out of the pen. The fight stopped in both pens and I put her in her crate (unhurt - thankfully). Then I just stood there exhausted, gasping for air, with both pens of dogs looking at me, each dog wondering what was going to happen next. About that time my boss pulled up and we put them to bed because once they start fighting they are prone to fight again.

I was proud of myself for breaking them up and nobody got hurt. (you have to break up fights and not hurt any of them because they have to race and they can't run if they are hurt)

It's a fine line to walk.

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