Saturday, May 5, 2012

GONE TO THE DOGS - the big blowout

One day we were blowing out the dogs. Blow outs are a strange practice of dosing the dogs with milk of magnesia which gives them a highly explosive, irridescent case of the shits. We gave them the milk of mag and left for Shoney's because you have to give the dogs a couple of hours for the medicine to take effect. We were gone for about three hours.

We came back to the kennel and were thankful that none of the dogs had diarrhea in their beds. We started the process of kicking out the dogs and as Terri walked in front of the crates on her way to the back of the kennel one of the dogs blew out all over the side of her head! I watched as she was blasted with a burst of irridescent, green, slimy shit with all the force of a super soaker squirt gun! Terri froze in place and started to wail. She looked just like Lucille Ball screaming as she was covered in diarrhea from head to toe. It streamed down the whole left side of her body.

She absolutely did not appreciate my response of unadulterated glee at the sight either. It didn't matter, I was helpless with laughter. All we could do was grab the hose and hose her down. Of course she went home and I had to finish morning work alone - but it was worth it.

Did You Sleep With Stuffed Animals When You Were a Kid?

I did.

In fact, fully half of my full sized bed was full of stuffed animals. I slept with my sister, Rhonda until we moved into our new house when I was in the 5th. grade. Then we got our own rooms. I guess I missed her and I was kind of scared so I filled my bed so full of stuffed animals that there was barely room for me in my own bed. They made me feel better. Not so alone.

I had one bear that was about 3 foot tall and he was like another person by himself. Then there was the mannequin head that my mom bought us for make up and hairdo's and stuff. I was scared to death of it. I used to hide it in my closet at night and turn it to face the wall. Then I would still shut the door tightly behind her.

Then I would flip off the light switch and try to dive under the covers before it got dark! I never did beat the dark???

Later when my nephew was one he was in the hospital with spinal meningitis. It was also his first birthday. My dad and I went together and bought him a 5 foot tall teddy bear which he dubbed "father bear" when he was old enough to name his own stuffed animals.

Both he and my niece had bunk beds and one of their bunks was for sleep and the other was for all their stuffed animals. They were raised in the same house I grew up in. Arny had my old room and Becca had Rhonda's.

Did you sleep with stuffed animals when you were a kid?

Friday, May 4, 2012

GONE TO THE DOGS - we make a pact

When I went to work the next morning I knew what I had to do. Nobody showed up as usual until Terri got there even later than usual. I was doing beds and she joined in to help me. I was right about thinking Sal would be too depressed to come in. We were getting ready to leave when she said, Pam, I need to ask you something."

I knew what was coming. "Good," I said, "I need to talk to you too. You first."

"Why did you tell Sal that I told you we needed testosterone? He knows I picked it up last week and he reamed my ass for it. I told him I forgot and you know I never told you that in the first place."

"Well, that's why I needed to talk to you. I told him that because when I walked out of the kennel last night I heard him start to beat on Kay. I had to have an excuse to come back in the kennel unexpectedly and it was the first thing to pop in my head. I was already kinda thinking that he had hit her before but I wasn't sure about it. Now I'm sure. I have to tell you if it happens again I will be going to the track about it. I don't care if you do fire me." I looked her directly in the eye when I said that last part.

"So that's what it was," she said to herself. "Listen I know he gets rough sometimes but he means well. I will do everything in my power to keep him away from her from now on and you have to too. It shouldn't be that hard for the two of us to do. I like you. We're friends. I don't want to see you go and the track will need proof, good solid proof, and you don't have it.

"I know. That's why I haven't gone already. If you promise me you'll protect her then I will too. That should take care of the problem."

"It's a deal. I'll see you at weigh-in tonight. Let's go home."

"Sure, weigh-in, see ya tonight."

As the days went by Terri kept her promise. Sal hardly came in the kennel at all anymore. They tried to hire Jeff back but he would have no part of it. He said, "It's better for the family if I don't work for them anymore."

He was right but I missed him. Terri was fun to work with and we got along great. She missed a lot of work though and I was going weeks without a day off - just a turnout here and there. Luckily Bobby found a place for us and he moved us while I was working. It was a good thing because I had almost fallen asleep driving more than once and I was going to get killed if I kept it up.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Remember Baby Oil and Iodine

That used to be the miracle suntan formula when I was growning up. People used to literally fry themselves in the sun. The darker the better was the motto back in the 70's. Skin cancer was for old people. Nobody else had to worry about it.

Unfortunately for me I spent half my childhood (an exaggeration of course) in front of a fan slathered with noxzema from head to toe. That was the only cure for sunburn back then and I always had a sunburn. I was a blonde haired, blue eyed little girl with the whitest skin on earth and my mom wanted nothing more than for me to have a tan.

She would send me into the sun and tell me not to worry if I burned. Her logic was, "it will turn to a tan anyway." Unfortunately that never happened with me. I would just burn and peel, burn and peel again. Of course, I spent plenty of time in the sun playing on my own and once we hit a pool or a lake you couldn't drag me or my brother and sister out.

Sis told me that her mom and my mom used to drag her out and show off her tan! They would do this by pulling down her pants and showing the world her butt so they could see her tanline! Now that had to be humiliating! My mom may have complained that I never tanned but she never stripped me down to show it off. What a strange way parents had of doing things back then. Can you imagine if somebody did that now?

Once I got a little older and had enough sense to stay out of the sun (for the most part) I got into a fierce arguement with Bobby's sister's boyfriend one time. He was punishing her son, Dwayne. He made him set on the bottom step of the porch. Which would have been fine except for the fact that the boy was sitting in the hot sun and he was a fair complected as me. So I knew what was going to happen to him.

All I did was move the child to the top step so he would be out of the sun. This started world war 3 in the house. But I won. I didn't try to prevent the punishement. I just got him out of the sun but I got a big speech about undermining "his" authority. I didn't care. He was surprised that a mere woman would stand up to him but I didn't care. It's not the first man I have stood up to in my life and it wasn't the last.

gotts go.

GONE TO THE DOGS - greyhound abuse

"Okay Sal," I said. Sal was too quiet and that was not like him. I knew that the less I said the better off I would be. Sal went into the kennel as I was unloading the dogs from the truck. I heard a crate door open in the kennel but I couldn't tell what Sal was saying. I could tell from his tone that he was upset. I heard a crate door slam shut just as I opened the kennel door. Sal was standing by Kay's crate and she was cowering in the back of it. All the other dogs in the kennel were quiet. They should have been clawing at their doors clamoring to get outside for turnout. Something was wrong and I hoped it was not what I thought it was.

Sal shouldered past me into the kitchen, "get 'em out," he barked at me. I started turnout and he stayed in the kitchen. He was dressed too nicely to help with turnout - not that he would have normally helped in the first place. It was a running joke in the compound that he was the only one who could wear white and not get dirty. While I was in the pens he was in the kennel pacing back and forth muttering to himself. It was a quick turnout because I had to get back to pick up the next race. After I put all the dogs up I asked Sal if he wanted to go back to the track.

"No, I told you, I'm going home." Which made me wonder why he was still there. He could have left just as easy before I started turnout. He didn't need to stay until I was finished. "Get down to the track. I'll see you tomorrow."

"Alright Sal, have a good night." I went out to get in the truck and before I even got to the truck I heard a dog yelp and I heard Sal cussing. I went back to the door and I listened. I knew from the sounds that he was beating on poor Kay. He took everything out on her - but I didn't know that he would hit her. I wanted to report him but I knew I needed proof. I made some noise and I burst into the kennel.

"Hey Sal, I forgot to tell you..." he jumped back from Kay's crate, surprised that I was still there, "...Terri told me to tell you to pick up some testosterone at the vet's tomorrow. We don't have enough to shoot the bitches." I knew he knew I was in a hurry so I couldn't stay. I was hoping I had created enough of a diversion that he would stop his vendetta against Kay. It worked. He stalked out of the kennel muttering about having to do everything himself. He pulled out of the compound as I went down to the track. I finished my night and went home.

Bobby was waiting up for me. He wanted to know about the stakes race. I told him about The Goose and I told him about poor Kay. He agreed with me when I told him I could do more for the dogs if I stayed in the kennel than I ever could if I went to the track with no proof. All that would accomplish was to get me fired. I needed to hang around and figure out how to get proof. So I went to bed and he spent the entire night making me forget about poor, little Kay.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

GONE TO THE DOGS - the stakes race

As the weeks wore on Sal drove me crazy. He became more and more frenzied as the stakes race drew closer. The Goose ran first in the semi-finals and Sal crowed about it more and more each day. I saw Jeff at the track one day. He had started to train at another kennel. He tried to hire me away from Sal but he understood when I couldn't leave my dogs. He didn't know about my big raise until I told him. "You know Sal only did that to keep anybody else from hiring you," he said.

"Yeah, I know. I don't care as long as I get the money." I laughed as I told him. He thought it was funny too.

Finally the night of the big stakes race came. The Goose had drawn an inside hole but he liked the outside. Sal had bets with everybody that would take one and he had plans to bet thousands at the window. "Support our dog, you know, youse have to support our dog. Confidence that's what wins races," he told me time and time again.

Personally I had already learned, "if you take care of the kennel, the track will take care of itself." That was a quote from Jeff, a dogman, as opposed to Sal, a gambler.

When I saw Sal and Terri at the track they were more dressed up than usual. So was every other owner and trainer - even the leadouts were in tuxedos. I hadn't realized the race was such a big deal. Of course $10,000 to the winner was a big deal. You were guaranteed $500 even if you ran last. The other helpers and I were in for a tough night. We all had to do turnout and catch all the dogs by ourselves while the rest of the track was one big party. I was excited though. My first stakes race looked to be a doozy.

Finally it was time for the race. They loaded the dogs in the box after an elaborate introduction. Sal and Terri magically appeared by my side. "This is it," he said. "Time to separate the men from the boys."

"Heeere comes Sparky," The announcer called as the rabbit shot around the track! When it glided past the box the greyhounds shot out of it. The Goose broke second. That was good, maybe the dog on the inside wouldn't knock him out in the first turn. As he ran around the first turn he swung wide and two dogs scooted in underneath him. He came out of the turn in fourth place. That was good. He was a closer. He could still win from there. Coming out of the far turn he was still fourth. He didn't gain any ground. He finished the race in fourth place. I was happy. I looked over at Sal. I could see storm clouds gathering. He was not pleased.

"C'mon Sal, he ran a good race. You still get $1500 for fourth you know." I said to him.

"Yeah, fifteen hundred lousy dollars. I got more than that laid out in side bets. Geeze" he replied disgustedly. I knew a tantrum was boiling just below the surface. "Friggin' Bearcat ran second."

I knew that but I wasn't going to bring it up. Bearcat was Jeff's dog. Things were worse than I thought. About that time Jeff walked up with Bearcat. "So Sal, time to pay up?" He asked as he smiled at me and reached down to pet The Goose.

"Of course I'll pay up! Youse insinuating I don't pay my debts! Youse would be here the second the race is over to rub it in." Sal's voice was raising.

"Ah Sal, c'mon. You would be doing the same thing if you had beat me and you know it. Don't be like that."

Sal fiddled with his waistband. "Don't I know it. Congratulations, alright. Congratulations, I really mean it." I thought he was going to upchuck on the spot as the words strangled out of him. "Pam put Goose in the truck. We have work to do."

"Yes, Sal." I said. I took Goose to the truck and loaded him up. Sal was starting the truck before I was finished. "Sal, are you sure you don't want to go back up with Terri? I know you didn't plan on being in the kennel tonight."

"Nah, I don't want to fool with those losers. I think I'm going home. Tell Terri to take the dogtruck home tonight."

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

GONE TO THE DOGS - new routine

To hear him say that was a relief to my ears. When Sal was around it usually made the morning drag by. It was hard to work around him. Sal left a massive tip like he always did and we took off for the kennel. He was singing the whole way back, "So what's left to do?" He asked me.

"Just feed and go over dogs," I said.

"Good, good, on the ball as usual. Any problem with weights?"

"They're all good. You know you have to give Roger a little extra, he looses lots of weight on race days," I told him.

"Of course I know. Thanks for the reminder. You keep me on my toes. I like that." We started to feed. A couple of times I had to stop him from feeding a racer too much but other than that things went smoothly. When we finished feeding I started to clean up. Sal made me stop to get the grooming bench down for him. I went back to my feed pans and Sal walked over to Pete's crate and stood in front of it and said,"Pete."

"Pete," he repeated a little louder as he stood in front of the dog just looking at him.

"Pete," he repeated again and then it dawned on me what Sal was doing. He actually wanted me to walk over there and take Pete out of his cage and put him on the bench for him. So I dutifully stopped what I was doing and got the dog and put him on the bench. As I started back to the kitchen Sal said, "Pam I need you to hold him while I go over him. Wouldn't want him to jump down or anything would we?"

"Alright Sal," luckily Terri came in from the guard shack about then. She took over holding Pete and getting the dogs for Sal while I finished cleaning up. I was glad. The morning was going to drag on forever if I had to do Sal's job and mine too. It was almost one o'clock as it was. Finally we finished going over the dogs. It was so late that I was not going to be able to go home. I would have to take a nap at the car lot again. Bobby and I had been looking for a place to move but we hadn't found anything yet. Sal told me to be back at four for afternoon turnout and he would be back at six for weigh-in.

"What a day," I thought. Bobby was going to die when I told him I got a hundred dollar a week raise. Things were looking better and better for us. I slept until three and I took off for the track. I washed off in the restroom in the guard shack. I did that a lot actually. I was the only girl in the compound and I had the restroom all to myself most of the time. The guys actually hung a sign that said "Pam's Room" as a joke.

There had been a few girls hired but they never made it for very long. They always ended up sleeping with the trainer and when he would get tired of them they would just get passed to the next kennel until they slept their way out of the compound. Trainers were like rock stars and women flocked to them. I was always amazed that it worked out that way - but it always happened.

As I walked out of the restroom Danford was sitting on the couch. Actually he was just waking up. He smiled when he saw me. We had become good friends. He had saved my butt on more than one occasion. He was local but he had worked long enough that he could be a trainer.

"Wake up sleepy head," I said, "what do you think this is a spa or something?"

"Cut me some slack," he said, "I got out of my kennel later than you got out of yours. I'm sick of Pat. I'm gonna' quit, I swear I am. Big doin's in your kennel I hear. What about it?"

"You already know?"

"Sure. Everybody knows. They was fightin' all over the track last night. You shoulda heard 'em. I thought they was goin' to call security for a minute after the twelth race."

"Was it that bad?"

"Oh yeah, about as bad as it gets."

"You want to hear MY big news," I asked him.


"I'm getting a hundred dollar a week raise."

Danford's eyebrows shot up, "no shit!" he started to laugh. He knew I wouldn't lie about it. "Son of a bitch!" He was jealous and happy for me at the same time.

"Can you believe it? Don't tell anybody, okay." I really didn't need to tell him that.

Turned out Sal liked to brag," I got the highest paid help in the compound." It was part of his persona.

However Danford said, "hey, if you don't rub it in, I won't tell."

"Deal," I told him and I took off to do afternoon turnout. He came back and did his turnout at the same time. We kept each other company while our dogs lounged in the sun. It was a lazy day. After turnout I beat Danford back to that filthy, shaggy couch that I had sworn I would never touch when I saw it my first day in the kennel. It didn't matter to me anymore. I crashed for a quick nap and Danford hopped over me and rooted himself in on the other end and promptly fell asleep. We knew the guard would wake us up for weigh-in. It wasn't really his job but he knew the consequences if we happened to sleep through weigh-in.

If we slept through weigh-in then none of our dogs would be able to race that night. Which causes great consternation with the gamblers. Also there would be a minimum fine of $50 per dog and they couldn't run again until there was a 10 day penalty period and they they had to official school back in before they could race. This would effectively keep a dog from earning money for easily 2 weeks.

It would also effectively get us fired!

Monday, April 30, 2012

What Should I Do Today?

Let me elaborate:

1. mop the floor: I haven't been able to mop for a month because of chest pain. I had more over the weekend. I think I am going to talk to the building manager tomorrow about getting some help. (he told me to do this the last time I had problems) Also the last time I did laundry my heart acted up and i had to get Eddie to finish it for me.

2 .I need a shower. Yes, I take one almost everyday but I need to wash my hair and it is a glorious day to sit in the sun and blonderize because you can't use hair color anymore. (can't breathe the fumes)

3. There is a flood of old coupons that are strewn across the truck seat and floor. The wind blew them around and they need to be thrown away and it is a nice easy job to do while I loaf outside.

4. enjoy the beautiful weather

5. read 1633 and play words with friends outside under the gazebo

6. rest some more (tired of it)

7. plant something but I can't figure out what I did with my seeds Over the weekend I gave my mom the cucumber plants that were doing beautifully until I took them out of the house. I also gave her some wax bean seedlings that are doing beautifully and I kept a couple of those for myself.

8. make the bed. but I don't sleep in the bed. Eddie does and he can make it himself.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

GONE TO THE DOGS - Sal's in charge

"Pam, hey Pam, what's happening?"

"Sal, what are you doing here?" It was ten in the morning and I hadn't seen anybody yet, not that that was unusual or anything. I had been in the kennel for about three months now and Jeff had been getting later and later everyday.

"Well, I got news, big news! You're not going to freakin' believe it when I tell you." Sal was smiling from ear to ear and Terri's grin was just as big as his.

Terri cut Sal off, "C'mon Sal, let me tell her, awright. I wanna break the news to her." Terri and I had become pretty good friends over the past couple of months. She had been a model before she met Sal but she wasn't snooty or anything. In fact, she really impressed me with how hard she was willing to work - when Sal wasn't around that is. She did after all have a role to play as his girlfriend and she was expected to look and act a certain way around he and his friends and I understood that. When it was just us we had a really good time in the kennel.

"Okay, guys, somebody tell me something. Don't leave me in suspense."

"Well, " Sal said to me while completely ignoring Terri, "I'm your new boss."

"What do you mean you're my new boss, you've always been my boss."

"I mean I'm running the show now. I'm the owner. I'm the trainer. Hell, I'll be the king of the track before it's all over."

"What do you mean, you're the trainer? Where's Jeff?"

"Jeff is no longer with S & T Kennels. He does however still reside in our guest bedroom."

I was speechless. Jeff and I had become pretty close. We made a pretty good team. I looked out for him when he had too much to drink and he gave me time off to make up for it. It was a marriage made in heaven so to speak. The dogs hadn't been running too good lately but I didn't think it had come to this.

"What happened? What about the stakes race?" I asked. I was afraid to ask directly about Jeff or let Sal know how upset I was because that just wouldn't be a good idea. Sal was big on loyalty. He had to come first and I knew that. It was one of the things that drove Jeff crazy. They were like brothers, they had grown up together, but Sal was always trying to put a wedge between us and play us against each other. We were on to him though and knew how to work things to our advantage.

"Let's go to Shoney's, " he said, "I'll tell you all about it on the way." He and Terri were already walking out the door. I closed the door the the kitchen so a dog couldn't get in and eat to it's heart's content if it accidentally got out of a crate. I followed them to the car. I was just glad I had everything ready to feed when we got back. I knew I was in for a long, long morning this time.

"I hated to do it, I just hated it. It had to be done. He wouldn't listen to me. The dogs weren't running and something had to give. We finally had it out last night. It's my way or the highway I told him. He chose the highway. He's home sleepin' it off now."

"Oh, c'mon Sal. You guys fight all the time. You know he'll be back tonight."

"Oh no he won't either! We gotta bet. I'm gonna SHOW him I can outrun him. Put him in his place."

"You guys gotta bet?" I knew this was bad. Sal was a big time gambler. That is how I got the job in the first place. My dad was a gambler and he knew a gambler who knew Sal and he called in a favor to get me the job. Sal did not lose bets, at least, he didn't like to lose. Gossip around the track was he lost more gambling in a week than the kennel was taking in. Supposedly his family had mafia connections and they were supplementing his income. That was the story anyway and Jeff had actually confirmed it.

"Yep, if I can't outrun him for a month straight, he'll come back and I will double his salary. If I do outrun him then he's gonna be my helper."

"Sal, you know he's not going to be your helper," I said.

"Oh yes he will. A bet's a bet. A MAN stands by his bet."

"Well what about me? If he's your helper, what am I going to do?"

"Ah, babe. don't you worry about it. Don't I always take care of you. In fact, that's the other part of my good news. You'll be working a little more so I'll be giving you a pay raise. How does $100 more a week sound? Eh? Eh? You'll be the highest paid help in the compound. Oh, yeah, the highest paid."

I almost choked. Of course I couldn't turn down a $100 a week pay raise. I was already making better money than I had ever made in my life and I was in dog heaven. What could be better. "Are you serious?" I asked.

"Of course I'm serious. You're a good kid. I would never mess with you about money. As of now you are getting $100 more a week. Of course, you can't miss a trick. You'll get one full day a week off, but other than that you do as I say. Got it?"

"Sure Sal" I said as I shoveled my food in my mouth. I looked over and grinned at Terri, I could see she was just as happy as I was. "Hey, Sal, aren't you worried about the stakes race coming up?" Tonight was the second round of the eliminations. If the Goose finished in the top four tonight he was in the semi - finals. "I thought we were supposed to make sure that the routine stayed the same. Not mess with anything?"