When Keith and Meghan spoke earlier this month, Keith said Meghan said her family felt “settled” in Montecito and wanted to bring another dog into their life. They talked about the family’s other two rescue dogs (Guy, also a beagle, and Pula, a black Labrador retriever) and flock of chickens, which were rescued by Meghan from a slaughterhouse. In that first conversation, Keith said, she knew Meghan was “the real deal” and was “super stoked” at the possibility of her adopting from their organization.
“I’ve been doing this so long, I have a stringent process for fosters and adopters,” Keith said. “I work off [my] gut as well. When I meet people, I just know. This is going to work out or not work out.”
Her gut feeling proved right when the duke and duchess made a “lowkey and casual” visit to LA on Aug. 11 to meet Mia, Keith said.
“I fell in love with them when they came here,” she said.
There was an immediate connection between Mia and the Sussexes, she said, and within seconds of walking in, the duchess passed one of Keith’s potential adopter “tests” by getting down on the floor to greet the dog.
“Mia just ran to them, something she’d never done — she’s pretty subdued, she’s been traumatized — and Meghan immediately just got on the floor with her and was giving her love,” Keith said.
When Harry sat down on a couch, she added, “Mia ran right over to him, put her paws on his knees, and looked into his eyes.” Keith said that Harry had done his research and peppered her and fellow volunteer Malina Shirley, who drove Mia and her puppies from the East Coast to California, with questions.
“He asked about the lump on her chin, if it needed a biopsy, her loves, her dislikes,” Keith said. “It was really heartwarming, it was everything you’d want [a potential adopter] to ask and then some.”
Shirley told BuzzFeed News that she knew it was “something special” and “meant to be” as soon as Harry and Meghan walked into the house. “Mamma Mia was so super excited, just so happy.”
The Sussexes spent some time in the yard with Mia on her own, Keith said, and when Meghan came back into the house, she was carrying the dog in her arms. “That was it,” Keith said.
After finalizing the adoption, the couple were about to leave with Mia when Harry stopped because the dog was sniffing around the building in the backyard where the rescue dogs are housed.
“He said, ‘We can’t leave yet, there’s something [in there] that she wants, does she have a favorite toy or something?’” Keith said. “He was so adamant that Mamma Mia [wanted] something in that back house,” Shirley added.
They all entered the building and Mia immediately went to a container full of dog toys. “I tipped the toy box and she dug her little nose in,” Shirley said. She rooted around until she found a fox toy that Shirley had given her on their cross-country trip to California. “She walked outside, and she was so proud of herself,” she said.
Harry was delighted, Keith said. “He said, ‘I knew it, I knew she wanted something in this room. Now we can go home because she has her toy.”
“It was so sensitive and intuitive,” she said. “At that point, I knew she’s going to have the best home.”