Dogs – they really are a man’s best friend. Just ask James Middleton.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s brother is a huge animal lover and has always been open about how his dogs – especially his therapy dog, Ella – helped him get through some of his darkest days.
And it’s the fact he’s always spoken up about dogs and mental health that he was approached by author Lyndsey Uglow to write the foreword for her new book, Leo & Friends: The Dogs with a Healing Touch.
He was honoured, the 34-year-old entrepreneur said in an Instagram post. “Lyndsey’s pioneering work with therapy dogs is leading the way with dogs being recognised by medical professionals.”
Leo & Friends looks at how the healing bond with dogs helps people every day. Like James, Lyndsey has endured and overcome mental-health challenges and seen how dogs make a difference in children’s lives.
“I knew it the moment I watched a little boy, exhausted by pain and sickness, stretch out his hand to touch my dog’s paw, and then he smiled,” she says on publisher HarperCollins’ website.
READ MORE | James Middleton: my dog brought me back from the darkness
James, who is also dog dad to Mabel, Inka, Nala Luna and Zulu, says he met Lyndsey and her dog, Leo, at The Kennel Club’s Friends for Life event in 2020 and he loves that they represent everything there is to say about the “powerful healing bond that exits between dogs and children”.
James, who has an ongoing battle with clinical depression, has opened up about how his dogs brought him back from the darkness.
“I’ve been in that angst of loneliness, where you’re really alone in the universe. Luckily for me I had my dogs. Ella, particularly, has been my constant companion for 10 years and she’s been with me to all my therapy sessions. In her own particular way, she has kept me going,” he said last year.
He has long been passionate about the importance of therapy dogs and previously shown his support for various causes, including the UK voluntary outreach organisation Pets as Therapy.
James says the stories in Leo & Friends show that dogs can be a “powerful intervention” in people’s lives. “From my own experiences I know what they can bring to your life. They give me so much pleasure,” he said.
James and his French fiancé, Alizee Thevenet, recently ditched London for the country and seem to be enjoying life with their dogs. “It’s been a hectic few months moving into our new home, and we couldn’t be happier. We are settling into our life in the country and the dogs their new home,” he recently said on Instagram.
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For James, the most important thing about our four-legged friends is that they teach people their worth in love and give unconditionally. “No wonder that, however long they are with us – for life, a visit, a moment at a hospital bedside – they leave behind a beautiful, indelible paw print on our hearts.”
SOURCES: HELLOMAGAZINE.COM , PEOPLE.COM, DAILYMAIL.CO.UK, INSTAGRAM/JAMESMIDDLETON.COM, YOURS.CO.UK,