L was walking HRH in the evening when it was peak hour at the playground downstairs. One of the boys noticed that she was limping on three legs and asked him why she was doing that. He was quite polite about it too, addressing L as "uncle". Which was why L was quite unprepared for what happened next, after he explained to the lad that she had cancer, and had to have a toe removed.
"Dirty dog! Dirty dog!" screamed the boy as he pointed at HRH.
"Dirty dog! Dirty dog!" all the other kids took up the cry.
HRH, bless her, didn't understand English. But she picked up on the sudden shouting around her and flattened her ears against her head, showing that she was getting a bit stressed by it.
L, annoyed at his doghter being called names, told the boy: "What if you were really sick and had to have one leg removed? You would have to hop around too. Would that make you a dirty boy?"
"Dirty boy! Dirty boy!'' yelled all the other kids, now laughing at the boy.
He probably doesn't understand what cancer is, he only picked up that HRH was different from other dogs on four legs. And that difference is something that could be taunted. Now, that's scary. Today, he's a playground tease. Tomorrow, he could be a bigot, a religious extremist, a racist, a misogynist, a gay basher, take your pick.
I would have a word with his parents if I could. But the kids at the playground were supervised by maids. Not exactly in loco parentis.
Children are such bastards, L raged later, still sore hours after the incident. I guess that's another reason not to have two-legged ones, just furry four-legged ones.
On reflection, he conceded that telling the kid about losing his leg could leave the boy with nightmares tonight. And you know what, I don't care.