How the Queen's new dogs are boosting her spirits after Prince Philip's passing

By Suzanne Wintrob

This piece originally appeared in Issue 765 of HELLO! Canada magazine.

Ever since 1933, when her father, King George VI, took home a cute little corgi, whom she named Susan, the Queen has adored the breed and been the proud owner of dozens of the dogs.

So it's no surprise that when Prince Philip was in hospital a month before his passing and the pandemic kept Her Majesty quarantined at Windsor Castle, she adopted two new pups – corgi Muick and dorgi (dachshund-corgi cross) Fergus – to keep her company. Now, with the duke's passing, the pooches, along with elderly corgi Candy (pictured with her above), are sure to boost her spirits.

The Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) cuddling a corgi in 1936. Photo: © Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Hulton Archive Getty Images

Jennifer Cohn-Sharpe, owner of PuppyLove Pet Services, a Toronto-based dog day-care specializing in boarding, training and socialization groups, says dogs not only provide companionship, but encourage those who are lonely or grieving to get up, get dressed, go for a walk and simply "get out of their shell."

Since the Queen has the royal ability to hand off a leash to one of her staff, says Jennifer, adopting two new ones was likely more about friendship.

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"For her, I would imagine that it is something purely about joy and unconditional love," she explains. "Nobody short of our parents, hopefully, provides unconditional love for us – not a mate, not a spouse, not our children sometimes. A dog's main focus in life is to make you happy. That's all they want. The rest of their life is the pursuit of small little pleasures.

The Queen at Balmoral Castle with one of her corgis in 1952. Photo: © Bettmann/Getty Images

"Dogs love treats, they love to eat, they love to sniff around outside. But what gives them the most happiness is for their owner to be happy. There are dogs that feel the pain or the stress or the sadness that their owner feels."

Even though corgis are known as working dogs and might not be as sensitive as some other breeds, she adds, the Queen certainly understands their temperament given she's had them in her life for more than 80 years.

"They're funny little dogs," says Jennifer, "but if you're looking for someone to keep you company, they make you laugh. They bring joy."

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