Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Pet

That was my pet name for a greyhound I used to train named My Petunia. She was a spooky little dog that was so afraid when she first came to the kennel that it took me 3 days just to touch her for the first time. I would walk into the turnout pen and she would gallop in circles the whole time I was in there eyeing me distrustfully. To get her to her crate I would have to open the gate to the pen after opening her crate door as far as it would go to make sure she wouldn't run into it. After opening the pen up I would walk to the far side so that she would dart through the gate and into the kennel to get away from me. She would cower against the back wall and I would use the door to her crate to block the hallway and then when I would make my way behind her she would run into her crate and cower against the back of it until I shut the door and she felt safe again.

I spent weeks crooning "My Pet" to her in baby talk and just getting her used to my touch. I didn't think she had a chance of making it at the track because of her disposition. She had a little running ability but didn't look to be anything special. It turned out though that once she began to trust me she started to fly. When I had to take her to weigh in I would make sure I walked her in alone, even if I had 10 other dogs in that night and I would talk to her the whole way. I also made sure that I picked her up after the race was over which was hardly ever my job. I usually made sure that I took jobs that were mainly kennel work and I would hire someone to pick up my races. I knew that she depended on me to be there though.

Much to my surprise she made it into the finals of a stakes race and she even had a good shot at winning it. That is until the pee catcher came out and told me what he had done to her. Pee catchers catch the pee of the dog that wins the race and one random dog in each race and then test it for drugs. Dogs usually go to the bathroom after the race (running puts a strain on their kidneys) but they don't always go. If they are walked until the next race and they don't pee they just let them go. My Pet was so afraid of people that she wouldn't pee after the race. She also didn't pee before the race either, so they never got a pee sample from her.

The night of the finals of the stakes race the pee catcher comes bragging to me that he finally got a sample from My Pet. I asked him how and he laughingly told me that all he had to do was stomp his foot at her. I went through the roof! It was the only time that I ever lodged a complaint against track personnel. Not only did he literally scare the pee out of her but he did it on the night of the finals of the stakes race which is tantamount to fixing the race.

Needless to say she ran last that night. She was a shivering mess when I picked her up. The track just gave the pee catcher a slap on the wrist and told him not to do it again. She got over what happenned but it took awhile to get her running like herself again.

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