Kate Middleton's Brother Opens Up About How Pets Have Impacted His Mental Health

It's no secret that animals can improve a person's quality of life. In fact, when you have a pet, changes take place in your body

For those who struggle with depression, taking care of a pet can help prevent them from diving deep into a dark place. The act of taking care of a pet helps to give each day a sense of purpose and a schedule (WebMD). Even animals like fish, turtles, birds, and hamsters need to be fed and taken care of on a daily basis.

Plus, furry pets like cats and dogs can provide cuddle time and companionship. Many owners recognize that their cat or dog can sense when they are feeling sad or anxious and do their best to comfort their owner. Pets also help people feel less alone and give them more opportunities for socialization (via American Heart Association). All of this results in improved physical health, too.

James Middleton — brother of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge — wholeheartedly agrees. He believes his dogs, Ella, Zulu, Inka, Luna, Mabel, and Nala, have helped improve his mental health.

James Middleton's dogs are a source of comfort and calm

James Middleton recently told Hello! what he does to boost his mood. "I enjoy taking my six dogs for walks. It's lovely when people are interested in my dogs," he says. "They stop and say, 'Please can we say hi to them?' Before we know it, we're chatting."

One untold truth about Kate Middleton's younger brother is that he is no stranger to depression. Back in 2019, he wrote an op-ed in the Daily Mail chronicling his dark days and how he sought help for his mental illness. 

"I couldn't communicate, even with those I loved best: my family and close friends," he explained. "Their anxious texts grew more insistent by the day, yet they went unanswered as I sank progressively deeper into a morass of despair."

One day, he gathered his dogs and began driving. "I packed my dogs into my car and, telling no one where I was going, drove to a wild part of the Lake District I've loved since I was a child," he wrote. In that calm space, he was able to recognize that he needed help and sought therapy, which also lead to a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder.

After that, he began volunteering at the nonprofit Pets As Therapy and had Ella certified as a therapy dog. "You can tell a dog your darkest thoughts and trust them because they won't tell anyone else," he told Hello! "To put your emotions into words to your dog is a release."