James Middleton Opens Up About How His Dog Has Helped Him with Depression: 'I Owe Ella My Life'

In addition to Ella, Kate Middleton's younger brother is dog dad to Zulu, Inka, Luna, Mabel and Nala

James Middleton
James Middleton and his dogs. Photo: Kirsty O'Connor/Getty Images

James Middleton is getting candid about how his furry friends have helped him through some "troubled times" in his life.

Kate Middleton's younger brother recently appeared on BBC's Sunday Morning Live to speak about his struggles with depression and how his dogs — particularly his black cocker spaniel Ella — have helped him. Sharing a clip from his interview, James wrote on his Instagram on Monday, "Dogs don’t just change lives...they save them."

"They're a very, very loyal companion," he said in the video. "For me, during troubled times and good times, they're my consistent."

In the interview, the 33-year-old entrepreneur explained how Ella gave him the confidence in seeking help.

"I got this diagnosis and Ella came to all of my therapy sessions, which I was reluctant to go from the start," he shared. "But with her by my side, I really became confident in understanding that I had a mental illness."

James added, "I would go so far as to say that I owe Ella my life, and she doesn't know that."

In addition to Ella, James is also dog dad to Zulu, Inka, Luna, Mabel and Nala.

The canine lover first opened up about about his mental health struggles in January 2019, when he penned an op-ed for The Daily Mail revealing that he had sought treatment for depression a little more than a year ago. In the essay, James credited his dogs with providing emotional support during the difficult time.

"I couldn’t communicate, even with those I loved best: my family and close friends," he wrote. "I know I’m richly blessed and live a privileged life. But it did not make me immune to depression. It is tricky to describe the condition. It is not merely sadness. It is an illness, a cancer of the mind."

“Ella, particularly, has been my constant companion for ten years and she’s been with me to all my therapy sessions. In her own particular way, she has kept me going,” James continued. “As a result, Ella and I now volunteer with the Pets As Therapy charity and Ella is a fully-fledged therapy dog for PAT."

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Late last year, James shared a photo of Ella on his Instagram in honor of World Mental Health Day, the global initiative to spread awareness and stop the stigma surrounding mental issues.

“This is Ella & these are the eyes which helped me get through the insufferable darkness 🐾 👁 ,” he captioned the shot. “The gentle touch of your wet nose and a loving lick was enough to make me feel brave. I will forever be in your debt. Thank you Ella 🐾 ❤️"

In April, James announced he would be launching the Paw Print Fund, an organization dedicated to aiding animal welfare charities, as a way to give back.

“Who else is experiencing friendship, comfort and unconditional love ❤️ from their loyal pets during this difficult time? 🐾 I want to give a big shout out to all our pets who our keeping us calm and helping us carry on!” he wrote.

“With this in mind today I’m launching The Paw Print Fund 🐾 in aid of animal welfare charities who support our nations animals & pets, be it helping to raise vital funds enabling these charities to continue with there amazing work and also support pet owners who have been affected by the pandemic and maybe struggling to look after their pets,” he continued. “Together, we can help support pets and their owners, helping them stay in their homes and prevent rescue centres from being overwhelmed.”

If you or someone you know need mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

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