From shelter to castle: The ‘fairy tale’ of Meghan Markle’s GTA rescue dog

By Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press

A dog adopted from a Toronto-area rescue home has proved to be of royal pedigree after having been whisked off to the United Kingdom to live with owner Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

When Guy the beagle came to A Dog’s Dream Rescue in Oakville, founder Dolores Doherty said she wanted to find him a good home, but when Markle adopted the pup in 2015, she never imagined he would eventually be living as a royal.

“He must be so spoiled,” Doherty said with a laugh.

Doherty said she was unaware of Markle’s celebrity status when they started corresponding about finding a furry friend to keep her pooch, Bogart, company while the actress was on set for the Toronto-shot legal drama “Suits.”

They made arrangements for Markle and Bogart to meet another beagle at an adoption event at a Pet Valu in Milton but the canine chemistry was off, Doherty said.

A shy pup with long, downy ears who had just arrived from Kentucky caught Markle’s attention, said Doherty. A double-dog walk sealed the deal, she said, and Guy was soon heading home with Markle.

“From what we hear, it was pretty much love at first sight,” Alison Preiss, marketing manager for Pet Valu Canada, said in an interview.

“It’s a total fairy tale. He was living in a shelter; nobody wanted him. Now, he’s running around the palace with the royal family.”

Doherty said she had a “good feel” for Markle, who seemed like a responsible and well-informed pet owner, but told her she would still have to conduct a home visit to check out the fenced-in backyard she had mentioned in her application.

Wearing a sweatshirt and jeans, Markle told her that would be fine, but asked she make an appointment for “security reasons,” Doherty recalled.

She never got around to making that home visit to check on Guy, Doherty said, a decision she now regrets.

Instead, Doherty said she followed the dog’s newly glamorous life on Instagram, corresponding with Markle to ask for photos of Guy strolling the streets on downtown Toronto in a hand-me-down snowsuit from Bogart.

Shortly after the royal engagement was announced last November, Markle told the BBC that one of her rescue dogs was staying with very close friend, while her other “little guy” had already moved to the U.K.

Doherty took to Facebook to congratulate the soon-to-be-royal and her pup.

“How is that for a rags to riches story from a good ole Kentucky Beagle!” she wrote on the A Dog’s Dream Rescue Facebook page.

Doherty imagines that Guy misses the coziness of his Toronto home and his friend Bogart, but said beagles are adaptable, so she thinks he won’t have much trouble adjusting to royal life.

“I don’t think he’s getting filet mignon every day, but I’m sure he’s being well taken care of,” she said in an interview.

In keeping with Markle and Harry’s request that well-wishers donate to charity in lieu of gifts, Preiss said Pet Valu is taking Doherty’s beagles on a “shopping spree” to celebrate the couple’s nuptials next month.

Doherty suspects that if Markle had her way, Guy would wear a bow tie and vest to accompany the ring bearer down the aisle, but she doubts the pooch will be a part of the royal wedding party.

Still, the pup’s shelter-to-castle journey sends a message to would-be rescuers about how adoption can change an animal’s life, said Doherty.


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