Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex finds her dogs a great source of "support".

Duchess of Sussex

Duchess of Sussex

The 39-year-old former actress owns two rescue pooches, Guy the beagle and black Labrador Pula, and the hounds have proven to be a comfort to her amid a year of upheaval which saw her, husband Prince Harry and their 20-month-old son Archie quit royal life and move to California shortly before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Caroline Yates, CEO of animal charity Mayhew, of which the duchess is patron, said: "Whenever we talk to the duchess about the charity, she always references how important her dogs are and what a support they are, particularly during everything that's happened this year, with COVID, and with the personal trials and tribulations she went through this year.

"It was really nice to share our experiences with her about how important animals are when things are tough and what a comfort they can be.

"That's what Mayhew is all about, that's what we want to try and encourage, we want to try to promote the human-animal bond and what a great source of comfort and stimulation, and joy pet ownership can be."

The animal charity unveiled the couple's recent Christmas card on their social media channels, which featured an artistic rendering of Meghan, Harry, Archie and their dogs playing in their garden, and Caroline admitted they were "really thrilled" to have been chosen for the honour.

She told Britain's HELLO! magazine: "We had no idea what it would look like before we got the photo, and when we saw it, we thought, 'Oh wow!' It's very family-oriented, it was really lovely."

The former 'Suits' star became patron of the organisation in January 2019, alongside Smart Works, The National Theatre, and the Association of Commonwealth Universities, and though she had carried out private visits to their London facility a few months beforehand, her patronage still came as a "total surprise".

Caroline said: "It just came across that the Duchess wanted to be involved with some real grassroot organisations.

"I think what struck her about Mayhew is our work with communities.

"We work with marginalised groups in society, we work with the homeless, we work with elderly people who are struggling to look after their pets and their home and we work with a lot of people who have mental health conditions that need support and guidance, but get so much from their pets, so we try and ensure that they stay together, but without compromising the welfare of the animal.

"I think that's what she found attractive and interesting."

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