When Keith and Meghan spoke earlier this month, Keith said Meghan said her family felt “settled” in Montecito and wanted to bring a new dog into their lives. They talked about the family’s other two rescue dogs (Guy, also a beagle, and Pula, a black Labrador retriever) and a flock of chickens rescued from a slaughterhouse by Meghan. In that first conversation, Keith said, she knew Meghan was “the real deal” and was “super excited” about the possibility of her adopting from their organization.
“I’ve been doing this for so long. I have a strict process for foster parents and adopters,” Keith said. “I finish” [my] gut too. When I meet people, I just know. This will work or fail.”
Her gut feeling proved right when the Duke and Duchess made a “calm 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 coming in, the Duchess passed one of Keith’s potential adoption tests by sitting on the floor to greet the dog.
“Mia just ran up to them, something she’d never done before — she’s pretty subdued, she’s traumatized — and Meghan immediately lay down with her on the floor and gave her love,” Keith said.
When Harry sat down on a couch, she added: “Mia ran straight up to him, put her paws on his knees and looked him in the eye.” Keith said Harry had done his research and peppered her and fellow volunteer Malina Shirley, who’d driven Mia and her puppies from the East Coast to California, with questions.
“He asked about the lump on her chin, if a biopsy was needed, her loves, her dislikes,” Keith said. “It was really heartwarming, it was everything you could want [a potential adopter] to ask and then some.”
Shirley told BuzzFeed News she knew it was “something special” and “meant” as soon as Harry and Meghan walked into the house. “Mamma Mia was so super excited, just so happy.”
The Sussexes spent some time alone with Mia in the yard, Keith said, and when Meghan entered the house she carried the dog in her arms. “That’s it,” Keith said.
After the adoption was finalized, the couple were about to leave with Mia when Harry stopped because the dog was sniffing around the backyard building where the rescue dogs are housed.
“He said: ‘We can’t leave yet, there’s something’ [in there] she wants, does she have a favorite toy or something?’” Keith said. “He was so adamant that Mamma Mia [wanted] something in that secret annex,” Shirley added.
They all entered the building and Mia went straight to a container full of dog toys. “I tipped the toy box and she dug her little nose in it,” Shirley said. She digs around until she found a fox toy that Shirley had given her on their cross-country trip to California. “She walked out and she was so proud of herself,” she said.
Harry was delighted, Keith said. He said, ‘I knew, 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 was going to get the best home.”