The Sussexes adopted a beagle from the Envigo puppy mill debacle

Here in Virginia, the Envigo beagle-puppy mill story dominated local headlines and shamefully made national and international headlines. The Envigo puppy mill was one of the worst puppy mill stories in years, as 4000 beagle puppies and fully grown adult dogs were kept in deplorable conditions. The beagles were rescued in June and July, and the dogs have been transported all around the country to be put up for adoption. Hundreds of beagles went to California. And it looks like the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are proud parents of another fur baby. Meg and Harry went to look at some of the dogs in a rescue operation in the San Fernando Valley and they chose one of the older beagles.

In less than two months, Mamma Mia the beagle went from rags to royalty. Her changed life began in July when federal authorities rescued her — along with 4,000 other beagles — from overcrowded and unsanitary conditions at the Envigo breeding and research plant in Virginia. Her new home is a sprawling estate in Montecito, where the 7-year-old dog will roam around a lush 7-acre property. Her new owners? The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

“The duchess called me personally,” said Shannon Keith, an animal rights attorney who runs the Beagle Freedom Project out of the low-slung Valley Village house where she used to live. But Keith said that at first, she didn’t realize who the “VIP Donor” interested in a beagle adoption was.

“She calls on my cell with no Caller ID and says, ‘Hey Shannon, this is Meghan,’” said Keith, whose nonprofit organization rescues beagles and other dogs as well as cats, pigs, horses, rabbits, goats and sheep, most of which were used in laboratory testing. “We talked for 30 minutes, and I thought, ‘Is this Megan Fox?’”

But it was Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and her husband, Prince Harry, who made an after-hours visit to the unassuming San Fernando Valley house on Hartsook Street this month. The royal couple’s spokeswoman confirmed the visit to The Times; neither commented on the adoption. It was a no-photos affair, with two security guards joining Meghan and Harry in their quest for a furry family member.

They played in the backyard with Mia, who had been transported with eight of her newborn puppies from Maryland, where the dogs had been taken after the Virginia rescue, to Valley Village. But they did not want a puppy.

“The duchess is holding Mia and was like, ‘We’re adopting her,’” Keith said. “She was like ‘No, we don’t want a Christmas puppy. … We want ones we can help who are older.’”

Meghan had a rescue beagle for many years, and when she saw the story about Envigo’s shutdown, she wanted to get involved, her spokeswoman told The Times. She knew puppies usually are easier to find homes for and wanted to help one of the older, more vulnerable canines.

[From The LA Times]

It’s true, people are less likely to adopt an adult dog and I love that Meghan was immediately like “no, we’re not getting one of the puppies, we want the mama.” So… the Sussexes have three dogs now, correct? They have Pula the black Lab, then Guy the Beagle, and now Mamma Mia? Bogart stayed in Canada with a new family. They probably wanted another beagle for Guy, I think. Guy wanted a beagle friend. I would also imagine that Pula and Guy would have taken issue with a puppy. They needed help monitoring all of those rescue chickens.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Photos courtesy of Getty, WENN.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

52 Responses to “The Sussexes adopted a beagle from the Envigo puppy mill debacle”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Bettyrose says:

    Im so happy those beagles have been rescued, and that one in particular is a new California princess. ❤️❤️❤️

  2. Ariel says:

    So- this made me cry.
    Love their instincts, and i bet they made a kind donation to the efforts too.

    Adopting an old dog described on the rescue site as “severely neglected” and turning him into a spoiled, lay on the bed all day boy- has been a great joy for me.

    When we first got him he would walk away when we tried to pet him- he didn’t know about human love. But he’s a convert. Walter soaks up the love and pets now.
    No idea how many years we’ll get with him, but, he is a happy, spoiled, content, mostly blind, lazy old dog.

    • GirlOne says:

      I love the name Walter for a dog! 😀

      • aftershocks says:

        ^^ @Ariel, thanks for sharing your older adopted dog story. Kudos to you and your family for opening your hearts to an older, needy pet like Walter. 😇

        The NYTimes version (linked down-thread) re the M&H adoption of Mia, specifically mentions that Meg & Harry have been donating all along to the Beagle Freedom Project, the group that investigates abuse and rescues mistreated beagles around the nation. The Sussexes surely also generously gave to the California adoption group who sheltered Mia upon her arrival from Virginia.

    • Zapp Brannigan says:

      Great, now I’m crying.

      It has been years since I had a dog, trying to get life more settled before adopting, counting down the days here.

      • aftershocks says:

        Awww, I love beagles! Our family had a beagle when I was a pre-teen. I bonded with him, and I will never forget him. 💞 It’s one of the things I loved about Meghan when I got to know her via her original Instagram, which was always chock full of pics of Guy and Bogart. Guy has always reminded me of our family’s beagle, long dead now. Meg always advocated for #adoptdontshop when she posted pics of her boys. Those who never got to see Meg’s original Instagram truly missed a lot. I wish screenshots were still available on YouTube 😥

        Good luck to Mamma Mia! I suppose M&H will abbreviate her name to Mia (my middle name LOL). It’s cool that older Guy has a new adult doggie friend. Guy must be around 11 or so these days. Fingers-crossed that he’s in good health. He so adores his Meg Mama! Cheers to M&H for their compassion and love for animals, and for humans too! 👍🥰

    • Anita says:

      I love everything about this story. <3

  3. GirlOne says:

    Yes! Adopt older dogs!

  4. Mcali says:

    Aw! Love this. Beagles are the sweetest, but aren’t the easiest breed. Good this baby is going to a home with people who understand the breed. I hope a bunch of people don’t rush out to adopt these beagles without doing their research. Cause they are stubborn and their noses get them into trouble. Lol.

    • harpervalleypta says:

      The Humane Society has been doing a good job distributing the beagles to experienced rescue orgs. I work with a beagle rescue in Florida, and we got 2 envigo beagles who were quickly adopted. But to get *any* of our beagles, you need to be interviewed about your experience with dogs, beagles in particular, and your living situation. We get very few owner surrenders from our adoptions because we don’t rush the adoption process, and we have such a wide variety of beagles that we can find one who will match your living situation. But the howling and the nose are the constants!

      • aftershocks says:

        ^^ That’s wonderful to hear about @HarperValleyPTA! I’m so glad such care is taken by good organizations to place these needy dogs safely. I am going to donate to one of these rescue groups, since I can’t adopt myself, though I wish I could. Where is your group located in Florida?

    • salmonpuff says:

      We have a beagle. He is absolutely loyal to us and only us, loves to snuggle, especially at night, and is so happy to see us when we get home that he follows us around whining until we give him a cuddle. He’s such a pain with food and so stubborn, but we love him so. Funnily enough, he rarely makes any noise other than whining!

    • TeamAwesome says:

      This. I grew up with beagles that my dad raised and ran in field trials. They are sweet, loyal, so very good natured, but they will follow their nose to the ends of the earth, or out of your fence and into traffic, before you know what’s happened. They also are often very vocal about what they hear, so if you have a quiet one, you’re lucky!

    • aftershocks says:

      ^^ Yep, beagles, like many breeds require love, patience and understanding around the instincts they were bred to live out. Beagles are hunting dogs, so they can dig their way out of fenced-in areas. They like to roam where their noses take them. Thus they require love, devoted attention, and space to run around safely. How lucky Pula, Guy, and now Mia are to have the Sussex Montecito estate to enjoy! 🏞️ 🌈

  5. TikiChica says:

    What a beautiful story!
    It breaks my heart when people buy puppies when there are so many dogs waiting for homes.

    • VoominVava says:

      I understand this sentiment, and I agree that adopting an adult dog that needs love is a nicer choice. But, the puppies out there need homes, too! I’ve gotten dirty looks and comments before when I had a new puppy (years ago) and I thought, well this puppy needed a home, too. She existed , we didn’t order her. The puppy mills are what need to be regulated and cracked down on. Also, the regular folks at home impregnating their pups. So many people here are just mixing their dogs together to create a designer doodle and they need to be stopped. There must be laws on that! I’m in Ontario, and my brother’s ex had his pug after they broke up, and mixed her with a weiner dog for 3 litters, then just dumped her on his doorstep. She is such a fantastic dog, but she went through some major withdrawal and depression as she had just had her puppies. The ex made thousands on those dogs too. Despicable.

  6. Erin says:

    My cousin rescued the female and male Bichon frise from breeders. It was a while ago so I can’t remember exactly how they got them but I think they were just up for adoption because the owners got rid of them because they were too old but I don’t think there lives were great. Anyway, even with some medical issues they were the sweetest lap dogs I’ve ever been around. They just wanted to be loved on.

  7. Chanteloup says:

    I love this story! just need more beagle photos!

  8. Becks1 says:

    Aw I love this.

    my parents like to rescue older dogs and their last rescue was a bonded pair, 10 years old, a fat fat fat yellow lab (he had to lose like 50 pounds, he was so overweight) and this damn beagle who is the funniest thing. My parents tend to like retrievers, specifically labs, but this damn beagle has just stolen my dad’s crusty old heart, lol. When he doesnt’ want to do something or doesn’t you to leave, he lays on his back with his feet straight up in the air and won’t move.

    Anyway I told my parents they should rescue one of the beagles and my mom said she wasn’t sure she could handle two dogs laying on their backs every time she tried to leave the house, lol.

    • Lizzie says:

      Bravo to your parents. I’ve had 2 beagles and they have huge hearts. Miss them both. We’ve had 5 dogs over the years and all but 1 was a rescue.
      I believe the rescued Envigo puppies only went to a few different Humane Societies, none close to me.

    • Deering24 says:

      “When he doesnt’ want to do something or doesn’t you to leave, he lays on his back with his feet straight up in the air and won’t move.”


  9. Amy Bee says:

    I didn’t know about this story before today. I’m glad those dogs were rescued and are getting new homes. Mamma Mia is going to get to live a good life now.

  10. Ann says:

    Waiting for the announcement that Bill and Kate (I mean Kate and the kids) have adopted a family dog for Adelaide Cottage. 3,2,1 . . .

  11. girl_ninja says:

    I love them. What a sweet family they are huh?

    I had no clue about the puppy mill story in VA. I’m glad that they were exposed and those pups were rescued. Puppy mills should be out lawed or at the very least heavily regulated and monitored.

  12. lucy2 says:

    OMG I can’t imagine rescuing 4000 beagles. I somehow missed that horrible story, but I love that M&H adopted an older dog! And did it so quietly and normally (aside from the body guards).

  13. ShazBot says:

    “Meghan *had* a rescue beagle for many years…”
    Does this mean Guy has crossed the rainbow bridge??? I know he was older, but I hope not! Maybe a typo and should say “has had” I love how ride or die he was for Meghan, always with her and in the beach video stopped walking and didn’t start again until she did.
    Hope he’s okay, and if he’s not, I hope she is comforted by his happy, loving life.

    • MoonTheLoon says:

      I’ll never forget him riding with the Queen at the wedding. It’s part of why I never quite fell for the flack she got about Bogart. It’s clear that if everything had been ok with him, she would have had him along.

      • aftershocks says:

        ^^ Yep @MoonTheLoon, Guy riding in the car with the Queen at Windsor days before M&H’s royal wedding, was a special moment. Looking back with the knowledge we now have, it seems as if the Queen was eager to make sure no further harm would come to Guy after his legs had somehow been ‘accidentally’ broken at KP soon after the engagement announcement.

    • aftershocks says:

      @Shazbot, I’m unable to read the full LA Times original article due to it being behind a paywall. I have read a similar NYTimes article, that includes a picture of Mamma Mia! The NYTimes article doesn’t refer to Guy specifically in the past tense. It mainly mentions that Meg had adopted Guy before she met Harry. I think Guy is still alive. He should be around 11 years old at this point. He’s hopefully still in good health with all the great care and love he receives. I wonder how Pula and Guy interact with Archie & Lili? Maybe one day, we might get a glimpse or receive an inkling. 🤞

      It’s nice to see a picture of Mia. She seems sad but sweet. Poor girl’s udders hang low and are swollen from excessive nursing after being bred so repeatedly, with her pups used for lab research. 😢 Huge thanks to Meg & Haz for giving this sweet girl a loving home. 🏡 The NYTimes article also discusses Mia’s much loved stuffed fox toy given to her at the adoption shelter.

  14. Anita says:

    There are so many lovely dogs that need homes. I love what they did it so effortlessly.

    And I LOL thinking that somewhere in KP someone is going “oh FFS”.

  15. SuzieQ says:

    I have a rescue, too — an adult lab mix — and keep suggesting to my husband that our beloved dog needs a beagle friend. Fingers crossed.
    M&H are just really decent people.
    And the research lab from where these beagles were rescued was a horror show. So happy the beagles are finding safe and happy homes.

    • aftershocks says:

      ^^ I hope your husband agrees to you adopting a beagle friend for your lab mix @SuzieQ! You would be like Meghan in Toronto when she had lab mix Bogart, and later rescued little Guy in 2015, when he was four years old. Guy had been rescued in Kentucky and sent to an adoption facility in Canada. The story goes that Meg had first selected a different beagle from the facility, but Bogart did not take to that one, so Meg checked again for a different dog, and Guy was the one. Bogart took to Guy right away, so it was meant to be. If you ever saw Meg’s Instagram posts with Guy in those early years, it would melt your heart. Sigh 😍

  16. susan says:

    I’m that way with cats. I want to give a home to an adult cat that needs a second chance. The last 3 cats I have had were adopted after having been returned twice. I’m still not sure why-they have all three been incredibly sweet and lovable companions with nary a problem…oh well, other than the first one who always pooped next to the litterbox instead of in it. once we figured out that that was her thing we made some adjustments and everything was fine.

    • N0N1ckname says:

      We adopted two rescue cats in February, one of whom is adult and was definitely mistreated before being rescued. And I love them both so much! We had to really work to earn the older cat’s trust, which makes it all the more satisfying now that he comes to us for scritches and purrs like a motorboat.

      • Deering24 says:

        Yep, I have three parrots, two of which are on their second homes. Parrots live so long and require more care than people think, so there are a lot of them at avian shelters. My two were kinda distrusting, but time and attention is helping them bloom.

  17. Jais says:

    Love this.

  18. Well Wisher says:

    Thank you for sharing a beautiful story.
    Mia has found her forever home.

  19. Cessily says:

    I was staying with friends in Virginia when this was all over the local news there, it was heartbreaking. I hope they all find forever homes.. if I could I would adopt one (allergies make that impossible). Love that this will bring more attention to the rescues and hopefully there will be more people who adopt.

  20. windyriver says:

    The end of the full article has a sweet bit about Harry realizing Mamma Mia didn’t want to leave with them without her favorite toy. So he’s a dog (animal?) person as well…

    • kirk says:

      Loved that part of the story. Glad Mia didn’t have to leave her fox toy behind because Harry was so observant.

  21. Cara says:

    What a lucky beagle! Puppy mills are the worst. I know a lady who adopted a bulldog who’d been a mill mama and was kept in an underground bunker. Special place in hell for that breeder.

  22. tamsin says:

    Hope nothing has happened to Guy, and he’s home to help welcome Mia.

  23. Traveller says:

    What a wonderful thing to do.

  24. Jessica says:

    What a lovely happy ending. I love them. This is who they really are — not the grotesque cartoonish caricature seen in the British media.

  25. Christine says:

    Awwwww! I love this story so much!

    I have only had one puppy in my life, never again. All of my other dogs have been 1+, and I will never go back. Older dogs are the best, and you get to skip that horrible puppy teething stage that ruins everything in sight. I still have furniture with the teeth marks of my one and only puppy I adopted in 1996. I miss her, but damn. My furniture has less marks from my human child, and he’s a hot mess with a coaster.

  26. JRenee says:

    I hadn’t heard about the puppy mill rescue until today. I’m absolutely stunned that over 4000 dogs needed rescuing. It sounds like this isn’t thec1st time this location has had violations.
    How can anyone not see M& H adopting a Beagle is wonderful? Definitely makes me cheer them on even more!

  27. Noxy says:

    I adopted a 10-year-old cat and it was the best decision ever. I had her until she was a few months shy of 21 and she was such a loving lap cat. I have one cat I bought from a breeder for showing and a rescue Manx who was a pedigree stud cat that got turfed out into a shelter when he didn’t perform well enough and was about to be put to sleep My Ragdoll is 13 and my Manx is 15 now. Cleo passed just before 2020.

    • aftershocks says:

      ^^ Kudos to you @Noxy, for your big heart for cats. Strays and needy older cats and dogs who are given good homes are your friends forever! 😺💖

  28. Bread and Circuses says:

    This family has big ol’ hearts. Love ’em. ♥

  29. Lady Esther says:

    Oh, my heart just melts at this story…So compassionate and loving to take an older dog, they may need more care but it is SO worth it. Well done again to the Sussexes!