Difficult lesson for the young to learn

As a family of dog lovers, the Livingstone lot have always enjoyed Crufts.

When my children were little, we used to watch it on the TV and then line up the kids’ toy dogs.

I would put on a stern face and slowly walk up and down the line, checking ears, paws and tails.

I’d then quickly walk towards my winner, and the children would scream in delight when the ‘champion’ was announced.

It was always our real dog, who used to enjoy the attention.

In his later years, he would sleep through the proceedings. And the final year he ‘won’, I think he celebrated by breaking wind.

When the children were older, we attended Crufts and now they have pets of their own.

Now I have grandchildren, and the cycle has started all over again.

When this year’s Best in Show was televised a few Sundays ago, Jack was visiting me.

We sat down for a pizza in front of the TV (that’s what grans are for) and I explained to him what was going to happen and got him all excited about the dog game we were going to play later.

But things didn’t go to plan.

Instead of watching his excited face, I watched his little eyes fill up with tears as TV and Crufts presenter Clare Balding explained an incident which had “rocked” this year’s Crufts.

She explained that investigations were being carried out after an Irish setter had died after being poisoned at the world’s most famous dog show.

I was absolutely horrified and Jack, a typical five year old, had thousands of questions.

“What’s poison, granny?” asked Jack.

“Why did the doggy have to die?” he whimpered.

Every now and then, adults have to shatter childhood illusions that everything and everyone is not always lovely.

I admit I didn’t expect to hear the words ‘poison’ and ‘died’ while tuning into Crufts, but I had no other choice than to tell him that it looked like a nasty man had given the dog something to eat that he shouldn’t have.

We now know a bit more about what happened, and that the poisoning may not have happened at the show.

But I remain horrified that someone could do this to an innocent animal. There are many more animals in this world than it first seems.