"Pam, I have to tell you something," Danford came to me with a serious look on his face - something I hardly ever saw on him.
"What?" He had my attention immediately.
"I saw Terri at the track last night."
"I haven't seen her in days," I said. She hadn't been around the kennel since the day of the blow out. I had been working the kennel alone for days but I hadn't mentioned this to Danford or anyone else.
"She had a black eye."
"A black eye! What happened?" Alarm bells started ringing in my head. I knew what had happened before he even said anything and I thought I was going to be sick.
"I don't know. She didn't mean for me to see her. She was getting out of the car and into the dog truck while I happened to be walking by. Do you know what happened?"
"No, Sal hasn't said anything about her being hurt." I didn't know what else to say. I knew he had beaten her up because of the whole weight thing and it was my fault for telling him about it in the first place. Sal had been a complete prick for days. I felt terrible. I just looked at Danford. I could see in his eyes that he knew that Sal had done it. He just didn't know if I knew about it.
"I gotta go, Danford." I turned away and went to my kennel. I crawled into a crate with Zorba and we lay there together with my head on his chest. I loved that dog and he loved me. He always made me feel better when Sal was too much to handle. I stayed there until it was time to load the racers. I met Sal at the track as usual. He wasn't in the mood to talk and I wasn't either. I managed to avoid him for the rest of the night.
Ever since the night of the blow-out, I had basically worked alone. I never saw Terri. Sal would tell me what he wanted done and if I needed help, Barry would come in. I did not see a turnout off for weeks and a whole day off was a distant memory. Then one day Sal came in and told me Barry had a heart attack and was in the hospital.
On top if everything else I had to take care of Nameless and Shameless. Those were the two puppies at the farm. I had named them because nobody else seemed like they even cared if they even had names. The names stuck because they seemed to fit their personalities. Especially Shameless, she was a mischievous little sucker.
I asked about Barry everyday for three days. Not with any great concern, just the general way you ask about a coworker who is ill. On the third day Sal told me that he had died. I didn't think anything else about it and I never asked about Barry again. The puppy farm on top of the kennel was too much for me to take care of. I was ready to quit. Happily Sal came in one day and told me he was sending Nameless and Shameless to a farm in Kansas. I was glad. I needed a break. 18 hour days, 7 days a week gets old real fast...I don't care how much you love your job.