I just wanted to put into words what I am feeling right now about the incidents at Crufts last weekend, where an Irish Setter was allegedly poisoned at this prestigious dog show.
So first of all who am I to speak on such matters? What’s my pedigree (if you’ll pardon the pun) as far as showing and Crufts is concerned.
Well first off, I have shown my dogs at many shows through the UK and I have also attended Crufts for the past 5 years and shown both my dogs at Discover Dogs, which for those who don’t know is an area of Crufts where all breeds of dogs can be seen together side by side in their respective breed categories. So I have some experience of showing and of the Crufts atmosphere.
First of all if these allegations turn out to be true and the Irish Setter was poisoned at Crufts along with the second Shi Tzu dog then I hope the person who has done is found and punished. I don’t think “non dog show” type people understand the show environment and also understand that this is one of the last bastions of trust left in this country. Of all the shows I have been to I have never had to worry about my dogs, possessions or myself as all the shows I have been to are one of the safest environments to be around. Where else could you leave you dog or belongings in full public view and not have to worry about anything happening to your animal or someone walking off with your dog or possessions while you go get a coffee, water for the dog, etc.
Sadly after this weekends events this will now all change as this alleged poisoning has put everyone on tenterhooks about the environment they are working in. This is extremely sad and it could be all the joy is now sucked out of such events because of the malicious act of certain individuals.
I know the show ring is highly competitive but I would never imagine that other show entrants would maliciously harm the other dogs in the competition! I know there is some back biting and sniping which goes on, this happens in all competitive environments but most of the people I met when showing were extremely friendly and good natured and you do get to know the people who own the same breed as your dogs as you see them, show after show. I can’t comment on different breeds as I have only shown Brittany’s in my show career which are quite a small breed compared to breeds such as the Irish Setter. Having walked round Crufts on Sunday I saw and talked to lots of people about their dogs and in general most people were happy to talk dogs with what is essentially a complete stranger.
My worry for the future of the Crufts event is that after recovering from the scandals of 2008 (breed standard documentary) which saw the BBC pull out of televising the event is that the same will happen again and crowd numbers will decline again. Especially as the last few years have seen larger and larger crowds, well it seems like this from attending the event itself, and attendance returning to close to pre 2008 levels.
I will be attending again next year and doing Discover dogs again, I have already made my mind up. The actions of the few wont deter me plus this event brings immense joy to thousands of people and animals over its 4 days and it’s not all about the showing, it’s about dogs! The dogs themselves, the love of dogs from their owners and the enjoyment of dogs from the hundreds of thousands of people visiting the show. I can’t describe the feeling I get from seeing hundreds of people coming round Discover dogs and petting/stroking my beautiful dogs and the obvious enthusiasm they all have for dogs.
My heart goes out to those who have lost their dogs over the weekend I hope the source of the poisoning is found, and if it does turn out to be someone at the show or someone with an axe to grind, I hope you rot in hell and your death is a slow and painful one as well.
If your stood outside the dog world and thinking it’s a cruel heinous place then my advice is to get off your backside and come and see the show. See the people who show their dogs, see the dogs at show, see the dogs working, dogs doing agility, dogs doing obedience, dogs doing fly ball and all the other amazing events laid on at Crufts. And then make your mind up! Don’t make you mind up based on what you hear or read in the press who have their own agenda, an agenda based on ratings or sales and not on the real dog world.
Crufts truly is a great place to visit and I urge everyone to come and make Crufts 2016 the greatest yet and not to pass judgement on the sad events of this year.
My heart goes out to those who have lost their dogs because of the poisoning incident and I would hate to lose my dogs in such circumstances. I hope you carry on and show at next years events.