James Middleton has revealed how his dogs were his ‘medicine’ amid his mental health battle as he opens up about how his pets have helped him with his therapy.
The entrepreneur has five dogs – Golden Retriever Mabel and four black Spaniels called Ella, Zulu, Inka and Luna – who he has often credited with helping him through his struggles.
Speaking on dog food Barking Heads’ Instagram account with a charity worker yesterday, James said: ‘First and foremost, animals are the unsung heroes in our lives.
James Middleton (pictured) has revealed how his five dogs were his ‘medicine’ amid his mental health battle as he opens up about how his pets have helped him with his therapy
‘From my own experiences with suffering with mental health and depression and anxiety, it was over the last three or so years that I’ve really discovered how much animals were actually helping me. I didn’t really immediately realise.
‘Over time Ella came to all my therapy sessions and various other events and she was that person that actually I could talk to but without being judged. She was a very good listener, she distracted me from various things.
‘And that’s when I thought, actually there’s something here and discovered Pets As Therapy and straight away managed to get an assessment and Ella was signed up not that long after.
He added: ‘And ever since then… I truly believe animals are medicine and they really are incredible for our own wellbeing.’
James with his dogs Luna, Inka, Ella and Mabel. The entrepreneur has five dogs – Golden Retriever Mabel and four black Spaniels called Ella, Zulu, Inka and Luna – who he has often credited with helping him through his struggles
James, who has been open about his struggle with depression, appeared on an Instagram Live to talk about the charity Pets As Therapy, of which he is an ambassador for, with the charity’s Events Manager (pictured)
Pets As Therapy is a national charity founded in 1983 which ‘enhances health and wellbeing in the community through the visits of trusted volunteers with their behaviourally assessed animals,’ according to its website.
After being assessed, James and his beloved dog Ella are volunteers as well as his fiancée Alizée Thevenet and his pet Golden Retriever Mabel.
James also revealed how he’s ‘always had a very strong bond with dogs and believes he ‘understands them’.
He said: ‘I’ve always had a very strong bond with dogs. I remember being at prep school and at boarding school and various other places and I’d ask my neighbours if I could take their dogs on a walk, for example.
Kate Middleton’s brother previously shared this snap to Instagram, where he can be seen smiling alongside pooches Rafa, Ella, Zulu, Inka and Luna
James with his partner Alizee Thevenet at the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor and Thomas Kingston at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on 18 May 2019
‘When we got our first dog in the family I always had a close bond with it and she knew all my secrets.
‘I think it was early on then when I really started to connect with dogs and understand them. And I felt they understood me.
‘Ella was my first, truly my decision dog, if you put it that way. I think that’s when… I made that commitment in my life that I will have dogs and hopefully hundreds of them until the day I die. They will always be surrounding me.’
James also briefly spoke about how the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to challenge mental health and wellbeing during the video.
‘There is going to be a knock-on effect and I think actually charities like Pets As Therapy are going to be in huge demand for the aftermath.’