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Taking the Royal Dog to a Shrink

Monday, January 5th, 2004

LONDON -- Princess Anne will send her dog to an animal psychologist to avoid having it euthanized after it attacked a royal maid and fatally mauled one of the Queen’s beloved corgis, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

Psychologist Roger Mugford said he expected to begin work with Florence the bull terrier next week. Mugford said that he believed the attacks were related to an underlying medical factor.

“We are not talking about an inherently aggressive or dangerous dog,” Mugford told the newspaper. “I am sure it is just a dog who is feeling a bit out of sorts about something, perhaps pain or old age, and is feeling a bit cranky on the day.”

Buckingham Palace has refused to comment on whether Florence would be put down.

The royal maid, 55-year-old Ruby Brooker, was treated for a minor bite following Saturday’s attack at the royal Sandringham estate in eastern England, the palace said.

The Mail on Sunday quoted Brooker’s husband, David, as saying the Queen had personally apologized to his wife over the incident.

Five days earlier, Florence attacked a corgi named Pharos at Sandringham, injuring him so badly that he had to be euthanized. News media reports had widely blamed another of Princess Anne’s bull terriers, Dotty, for the corgi incident, but Buckingham Palace cleared her last Tuesday and blamed Florence instead.

The British media reported that Florence has no history of violent behaviour, unlike Dotty, who bit two children in a park in 2002 and landed Princess Anne with a fine equivalent to more than $1,100 Cdn.

-- Associated Press