Nancy Furstinger missed most of the publicity surrounding the royal wedding of Meghan Markle and England’s Prince Harry. The Hurley-based author didn’t own a television and had “zero interest in royalty.”
However, an article about Markle’s rescue dog prompted an interest in the canine — and human — inhabitants of Buckingham Palace.
After reading about Guy, Markle’s rescue dog, Furstinger decided the real Cinderella story was not about an actress finding her Prince Charming. A far more compelling fairy tale was the transformation of Markle’s formerly homeless beagle, now happily “at home” in Buckingham Palace and casually riding in a limousine with Queen Elizabeth.
“I wasn’t sure who Meghan Markle was until my agent sent me the article about how she adopted Guy, the beagle. But I did know that Queen Elizabeth is a big dog lover because one of my best friends has a Corgi and he’s always sending me photos of the queen and her dogs.”
At her agent’s request, Furstinger wrote up Guy’s story, stressing the importance of adopting shelter dogs, a cause near and dear to her heart. Furstinger volunteers at the Ulster County SPCA in Kingston and shares her home with two large dogs, Bosco and Rosy, three house rabbits, and one chinchilla — all rescues.
Her story, The Duchess and Guy, was snapped up by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which published two of Furstinger’s middle-grade nonfiction books — Mercy: The Incredible Story of Henry Bergh, Founder of the ASPCA and Friend of Animals and Unstoppable: True Stories of Amazing Bionic Animals.
Written in a picture book format for children, ages 4 to 7, “The Duchess and Guy” imagines some canine escapades in an unfamiliar palace. Adapting to a different environment takes time and, despite some misadventures, Guy finds a way to stay true to himself while settling comfortably into palatial surroundings.
“The book is actually a fictionalized account of Guy trying to fit into the royal family,” says Furstinger. “The last three pages are nonfiction — Guy’s true story and how to adopt a dog like Guy. For the true story, I interviewed the shelter coordinator at the Montgomery County Animal Shelter in Kentucky, where Guy came from before he headed off to a small rescue in Canada.”
That’s where Markle adopted him.
For research, Furstinger read many more articles on Markle and even became hooked on her television show, “Suits.” She was pleased to learn that Guy played a role in the warm welcome the actress received from the Queen.
“I heard they bonded over dogs and Prince Harry said the corgis immediately warmed up to Meghan.”
While few rescue dogs land in a palace, all dogs long for a loving home.
“Whether you’re searching for a beagle like Guy or a corgi like the queen’s or a marvelous mixed breed, you can find them all for adoption,” says Furstinger. “Rescued dogs rock! And you’ll be saving two lives, the life of your new pet and the life of another homeless dog who will fill the empty spot in the shelter. There is no greater joy!”
The book will receive a royal welcome just days after its publication. On Jan. 19, all 630 Barnes & Noble stores nationwide will host a children’s story time event featuring The Duchess and Guy. Furstinger will read her book and lead the event at the Kingston Barnes and Noble. For author readings and events, check her website. The puppy love story will also be published in England.