THIS was the moment one of the world’s most famous assistance dogs met one of his biggest fans – the Queen.
Endal Junior and his owner Allen Parton certainly put a smile on Her Majesty’s face when they met at a charity event at the Houses of Parliament recently.
It was the first time Mr Parton, from Clanfield, had introduced EJ to the Queen, who had taken a keen interest in his predecessor, Endal.
‘She recognised me which was quite nice,’ said 53-year-old Mr Parton.
‘She came over and said, “so this is the new guy?” and I was able to say yes.
‘EJ had been at my side waiting and when the Queen came over he must have felt that I was a bit nervous because he jumped on my lap.
‘Well, that really broke the ice and we all broke out into laughter.
‘He obviously wanted to be part of the action and didn’t want to be left out.
‘It was a lovely moment.’
Mr Parton is the founder of Hounds for Heroes, a charity which trains assistance dogs to help people disabled in the line of public duty, be it as a soldier or paramedic.
He has met the Queen on several occasions.
Mr Parton said: ‘The previous time I met the Queen was at the opening of the new Royal British Legion headquarters in London and she asked me then where my faithful assistance dog Endal was.
‘She’d last seen him during a private visit to Windsor Castle a few years before but sadly he had just retired and at the time EJ was far too young to attend.
‘The Queen is very knowledgeable about dogs because she breeds labradors herself at Sandringham.
‘She asked how EJ’s training was going and whether he was as good as Endal.
‘I told her I thought it was going very well and she turned to my wife Sandra and said: “that’s the man’s perspective, what’s your perspective?”
‘Then they went on to chat like old friends.
‘She seemed genuinely delighted to meet EJ and I at long last at the Houses of Parliament.’
Mr Parton was a Chief Petty Officer in weapons electronics in the Royal Navy and had a promising career ahead of him when he was injured.
He spent five years in hospital and rehabilitation and uses a wheelchair to get around.
His life changed when he was given Endal as an assistance dog by the charity Canine Partners.
Mr Parton wrote a book about Endal and the incredible journey they went on together and how he brought the family back together again.
Endal died in early 2009.
To support Hounds for Heroes, which is based in Petersfield, go to houndsforheroes.com.
Or you can call 01730 823118.