They say every dog has its day – and that proved true when the Queen visited a charity that trains hounds for disabled owners.
The monarch, who looked pretty in pink in a pastel coat and matching hat, was presented with a posy by Yarna the Labrador during the visit to Canine Partners in Heyshott, near Midhurst, West Sussex.
The seven-year-old black Lab accidentally dropped it at the Queen’s feet instead of holding it in her mouth for the dog-loving head of state to take.
But her handler laughed off the incident and explained that the pup is a ‘dog, not a robot’.
The clever Lab, who is descended from one of the Queen’s own breeding lines, the Sandringham Magpie, even did a curtsey before presenting the Queen with a bunch of flowers.
The visit was held to mark the charity’s milestone of having 400 dogs looking after disabled owners to help them live independent lives.
The dog’s handler, Alison Bailey, said: ‘She did her very best, she is a dog not a robot, I am delighted with her.’
The 91-year-old Queen, who famously owns corgis, also stroked a 12-week-old black Labrador called Flint. The dog’s trainer Ruth Narracott said: ‘She was very relaxed and very interested.
‘She wanted to know about his breeding, whether we bred him or whether we breed them outside, how old he was and how relaxed he was.’
The Queen also met staff and volunteers who act as adoptive parents for the puppies until they are about 14 months old and are able to embark on the next stage of assistance dog training.
She was shown how the dogs are trained to assist their owners, with demonstrations including a dog retrieving clothes from a washing machine, opening a door, picking up dropped keys and wallets, and helping someone take their coat off.
At the end of her visit, the Queen unveiled a plaque to mark her visit and she was presented with a selection of presents for her corgis to which she replied: ‘Oh I say, thank you very much.’
The Queen followed in the footsteps of grandson Prince Harry, who visited the centre in 2010.
Jackie Staunton, Canine Partners’ chairman of trustees, said: ‘It is such an honour for us to welcome the Queen to our training centre in West Sussex.’
Earlier in the day, the Queen also paid a visit to Chichester Theatre in Chichester.
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