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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Balmoral bound, the unloved rescue centre pup that won Camilla's heart


As rags-to-riches stories go, this definitely takes the dog biscuit.

Weeks ago Beth the Jack Russell pup arrived at a rescue centre unwanted and unloved.

Yet today she will be whisked off in a chauffeur-driven car to start a life of pampered luxury as one of the Duchess of Cornwall’s pets.

Love at first sight: Beth the Jack Russell pup has been rehomed by the Duchess of Cornwall

Camilla decided to adopt the 12-week-old bundle of fur from Battersea Dogs and Cats home in London after falling in love with her picture in an email.

Beth’s rise to eminence is the result of a remark made last autumn when the duchess opened the world-famous animal shelter’s new cattery.

She mentioned how much she would love a replacement Jack Russell for her beloved Freddy, who died three years ago at the age of 21.

The dog was such a big part of her family that her son Tom last year named his own son after Freddy.

So when Beth’s owner from north London handed her in at Battersea last month – one of more than 100 unwanted dogs to arrive in July – staff wrote to the duchess to ask if she would like to take her on.

As she was on holiday in Scotland with Prince Charles, Camilla asked for several photographs of the black, white and tan pup to be emailed to her – and declared it was love at first sight.

She told the Mail this week: ‘Guess what – I have adopted a puppy! I just couldn’t resist her, she is gorgeous. It is so exciting. I can’t wait for her to meet the family.’

Like anyone else, Camilla had to pay a £105 rehoming fee and undergo a ‘home vetting’ procedure by the centre’s staff.

They carried out thorough background checks of Highgrove, Charles’s Gloucestershire mansion, and Raymill, Camilla’s Wiltshire second home, where her dogs will largely live.

This was particularly important as she already has two female Jack Russells – Tosca, Freddy’s daughter, and Rosie, Freddy’s grand-daughter – both of whom are ‘getting on a bit’.

Beth, who will retain her name, then arrived at Raymill where, according to the duchess’s office, she ‘got on famously’ with the two older dogs.

Today all three will be driven 500 miles to the Highlands to spend the rest of the summer with the royal couple at Birkhall, their home on the edge of the Queen’s Balmoral estate.

New home: Beth will have plenty of room to stretch her legs during her time at Prince Charles's Highgrove mansion in Gloucestershire

Background checks were also made on Beth's other new home, Camilla's Ray Mill residence in Wiltshire

Last year the Duchess told the Mail that she was ‘in two minds’ whether to take on another dog as she was concerned about having a young pup with all her grandchildren.

‘I have five grandchildren under the age of three who are at my house a lot so I don’t know whether it would be fair to a dog,’ she said.

But staff say she was advised by the home that it would be possible, as long as she introduced Beth to her young family carefully.

A source close to Camilla said: ‘The duchess adores animals and is a great supporter of Battersea and the work they do. When they offered her Beth, she just couldn’t say no. Trust me, she will have a wonderful life.

Beth has most definitely fallen on her paws.’

Claire Horton, chief executive of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, added: ‘We’re delighted that the Duchess of Cornwall has adopted Beth. Beth is a charming, confident little puppy and we know she will be very happy in her new home.

‘Battersea is fortunate to have the duchess’s support. We look forward to hearing about this Battersea puppy’s progress in her new home.’



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