Duchess Meghan’s dogs have been a big ‘support’ during the pandemic year

sussex christmas

Once it was clear that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were moving out of the UK permanently, I wondered if they would still try to keep up with their British patronages. Obviously, Prince Harry was pushed out of his military roles, so I wondered if Buckingham Palace would begin to exert pressure on the National Theatre, SmartWorks or Mayhew to drop Meghan as their patron. Thus far, that has not happened. In the case of SmartWorks and Mayhew, I think they’re completely happy to keep Meghan on as their patron, and she’s already given them so much exposure and additional funding through her clever fundraising tactics. Just before Christmas, the Sussexes gave their “painted” Christmas card to Mayhew to post and publish too. And now Meghan has authorized Mayhew’s CEO to sort of speak on her behalf.

The Duchess of Sussex might be settled in her new life in Santa Barbara, but she still regularly checks in with her royal patronages, including animal charity Mayhew. Meghan, 39, has long been an advocate for the welfare of animals and owns two rescue dogs, a beagle named Guy and a black labrador called Pula.

Mayhew’s CEO Caroline Yates tells HELLO!: “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 was given the honour of sharing Prince Harry and Meghan’s stunning Christmas card photo in December 2020 on their social media channels, which featured an artistic rendering of the couple with their son Archie and their pet dogs, Guy and Pula, as they played in the garden of their Montecito home. Caroline reveals charity was “really thrilled” to be chosen to share the Sussexes’ 2020 Christmas card.

“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,” she tells HELLO!.

The Duchess became patron of the Mayhew in January 2019, announcing it as one of her four royal patronages, alongside Smart Works, The National Theatre and The Association of Commonwealth Universities. Caroline says the patronage was a “total surprise” for the charity after Meghan carried out private visits to their animal home in Kensal Green, North London at the end of 2018. She tells HELLO!: “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.”

While Mayhew’s event fundraising has been hit during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, the charity has found ways to adapt its services, including hosting a virtual Christmas carol concert with a host of celebrity supporters and taking its TheraPaws programme online. Caroline tells HELLO! that Meghan receives regular updates from Mayhew and is particularly interested in TheraPaws, an animal assisted intervention programme, which has been designed to promote physical, social and emotional wellbeing.

[From Hello]

Meghan works with an animal welfare charity which provides access to therapy dogs to marginalized and stressed communities… good lord, that’s her wheelhouse, and I bet she loves those stories. Anyway, I love that Meghan quietly authorizes her patronages to speak about her and her involvement here and there. It’s not like Caroline Yates was spilling any scandalous tea – ooh, Meghan loves her dogs! Meghan has relied on her dogs’ company during the pandemic year!

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

Melania Trump Address at the 2020 Republican National Convention

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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46 Responses to “Duchess Meghan’s dogs have been a big ‘support’ during the pandemic year”

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  1. Nikki* says:

    Lovely story! I’m a real dog person, and have had 3 rescue dogs as part of our family, <3

    • L84Tea says:

      My dog is a rescue–a little street mut now living a cushy, happy life. :-)

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      Huge dog person and a beagle mom! I love my Aussie boy and 2 13 inch beagle girls. They’re so smart and loving they’ve definitely helped on more stressful days.

      Also love Meghan is active in her patronages. Everyone benefits!

    • LahdidahBaby says:

      How wonderful that you’ve rescued three dogs, Nikki*! I only have one, a little mutt named Petal that was born without a tail. She’s so funny and tiny and smart and loving. When she gets very stoked about something she wags her little 1-inch stub and it just breaks me.

  2. Sofia says:

    I believe dogs and animals in general have been a massive comfort to people in general during this time. I believe pet adoption rates rose quite sharply during last year.

    Also this line: “Caroline says the patronage was a “total surprise” for the charity”

    So is the organisation not told that a royal is going to become patron for them? Or is Caroline saying that they didn’t think Meghan was going to chose them?

    • harla says:

      I think that Caroline didn’t think that Meghan would choose Mayhew as one of her patronages.

    • SH says:

      I believe from what they have said neither Smart Works or Mayhew were looking for a Royal patron. Meghan sought them out because she liked the way they operated. I think this also caused Royal politics because organizations that wanted a royal patron and were in line were skipped over.

  3. harla says:

    My dog certainly kept me sane while I was working from home. Having the routine of her care and having another living being to care for and pay attention too really helped keep my anxiety at manageable levels. I will say that after a month of continuous daily exercise she was pretty happy to see me go back to the office so that she could go back to being more of a couch puppy! lol

    I really like that the only tidbits of personal information we receive about the Sussex’s usually come through one of their charities or people that they’ve worked with to promote their causes.

  4. Merricat says:

    Our pets have absolutely been an important part of the efforts to get through this time. I do love Meghan’s choices.

  5. Amy Bee says:

    Caroline Yates acknowledged Meghan’s trials and tribulations which was an eyeopener to me and it indicates that she and Meghan have a close relationship. I think the Queen is going to strip Meghan of ACU and the National Theatre patronages. Of course, it’s not going to announced like that, they will say that Meghan has stepped down from them. There is already a campaign for her to be stripped of the National Theatre patronage led by the Daily Mail which thinks Edward should get it. ACU will probably be given to Sophie or Anne.

    • February-Pisces says:

      The queen or shall I say “the firm” can try and strip Meghan of those patronage’s but that will only make the charity’s suffer. Meghan puts in the work and actually makes more of an impact than other royals, so I don’t how they would go about justifying it with out looking petty, and pissing off the charities. What about all of Andrews patronage’s, I should think that the firm should be more concerned about redistributing those first.

      But then again they only see harry and Meghan as a ‘problem’ and not Andrew, so I wouldn’t put it past them to be that petty.

      • Amy Bee says:

        ACU and National Theatre were previously held by the Queen and as such are considered “royal” patronages. The same goes for Harry’s rugby patronages. Queen probably doesn’t see stripping them of patronages as being petty and the excuse would be that a Patron for these charities need to be a working royal and living in the UK. As for Andrew, he’s still hoping to return to royal duties but some of his patronages have quietly severed ties with him.

    • harla says:

      I believe that the charities have a say in who they want as a patron. For instance, I recall reading some time ago that several of Andrew’s charities were in talks with BP because they no longer want him as patron but BP wants them to keep him so there’s some negotiations going on but it wasn’t announced what the final decision is.

      • Amy Bee says:

        If the Queen hand downs patronages to her children and grandchildren, the patronage doesn’t have much of a say. How are they going to object to the Queen’s decisions? It was reported that when she decided to step down from several patronages members of the royal family were given a chance to pick which ones they wanted.

      • Killfanora says:

        Amy Bee….a number of patronages were mighty quick to drop Prince Andrew after the infamous interview. Admittedly a large number were under the Pitch@Palace umbrella, but others like British Universities (London Met and Huddersfield for example) and Outward Bound were speedy in realising that having Andrew as a Patron was a poisoned cup.

      • Chris. says:

        Yes, I heard may Royal Gossipers, and Omid… saying that it was up to the patronages . They will keep their patronages, because for the Queen and the RR, it is an excuse to have the Sussexes on the British Soil. If they take everything, they will never come back.

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        That was a few weeks ago about a yacht/sailing (idk something with big boats) patronage wanting Kate in place of Andrew. I’m assuming Kate was the best choice from the list they were given. Andrew and the Queen were pleading for them to keep him and just wait out hoping everyone forgets he’s a trafficked child rapist.

        So, yes it is the patronage’s choice, but the BRF does apply pressure.

  6. February-Pisces says:

    One thing I love about Meghan is she actually helps her patronage’s. She puts in the works and actually does things that are constructive to helping them. She doesn’t ignore them for 8 years or let them go broke like you know who.

  7. Maliksmama says:

    I’m a cat mom. And though folk don’t know or believe it, cats can be as supportive as dogs. My cat’s helped me through some things.

    Good on Mayhew to keep thriving in this difficult environment. I hope they make it to the other side of this pandemic.

    • OriginalLala says:

      I have three rescue kitties and they have been such a source of comfort and joy in my life! with the pandemic it’s been kind of amazing to be with them literally 24/7, two are 13 years old so its been such a pleasure to spend all this time with them as they get older.

    • HeatherC says:

      My cat has been the worst coworker I’ve ever worked with (working at home half the time). He is absolutely no help but sometimes thinks he can type (by walking across my keyboard while I’m working). But I love him a lot more than I do my other coworkers so he gets a pass.

      • Ann says:

        Why do cats do that? Mine does too. I enjoy her presence, even though she chooses when to be snuggly and when to have nothing to do with me.

      • booboocita says:

        One of the great joys of working from home is having departmental or all-staff Zoom meetings and watching people try to be serious and professional while the cat is walking across the keyboard and showing his butthole off to the entire office, or seeing someone type while the dog sticks his muzzle under an arm or into an armpit, demanding pets and treats. It can mellow out even the most tense meetings.

      • SarahCS says:

        My cat sat in on my team meeting this afternoon. To be fair he was pretty well behaved (for him), only showed his bum to the camera twice and mostly just sat to one side of me looking beautiful for everyone to enjoy. He’s a huge comfort to me even when he’s being an absolute pest.

        My friends and I also enjoy sending ‘my coworker…’ updates where we then describe what our cats (and one has a dog) are doing. It’s hilarious.

  8. JT says:

    They queen can take the theater patronage and any royal associated ones, but things like Mayhew and Smartworks are private; the queen shouldn’t have anything to do with those.

  9. Rise_Above says:

    This woman has been put through the wringer and she still manages to cast positivity in a sea of negativity focused on her. She is admirable.

    • MeToforever says:

      She’s very impressive. When I think of all she’s been through since it was revealed she’s dating Harry and put myself in her position, I can’t help concluding I would be a bitter nelly. I’m not usually a bitter person, but yeah, I think I would be bitter so she is inspiring imo.

  10. Cecilia says:

    Now that they are producers, hope meghan takes some actors of the national theatre in their endeavors. Especially after this pandemic year lord knows they need it.

    • Amy Bee says:

      That’s if she’s still Patron after the one year review.

      • L4frimaire says:

        I think they’ll lose some of the patronages like the National Theatre, whether or not the patronages want that. When Sussexit was first announced, they knew they hadn’t the right to anything and were prepared for that. They will pivot and focus on their other endeavors and causes. They still have their causes in the UK they will continue support. It sucks but the pandemic and the bad atmosphere kept them away from the UK, and so much has happened to them since they left. We see how the other royals work and support their patronages so not sure if it benefits those organizations, but you have to accept what the Queen gives or takes. We see how they were about that wreath so the Queens people will make a big show about them no longer being royal patrons and be really nasty about it.

  11. candy says:

    I share my shelter dog with my parents (he has to stay on their property so he has space to run when I’m working too much). When I first got him, he had a lot of behavioral issues and I had to go through intensive training with him for 6 months. At the time, my parents were really annoyed and told me “this is why you don’t get a shelter dog!” Now, they love him like a child, lol. He really bloomed into a great dog. Shelter dogs are great!

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      They’re the best!
      One of my beagles was heavily abused and hated men and the smell of beer specifically. We’re 1 year later now and she favors my husband and doesn’t fear new people.
      Still hates the smell of beer and loud noises and sudden movements make her jump, but she’s the most loving little thing even with the unfair start in life.

      • candy says:

        OMG what a brave little sweetheart you must have on your hands! You must be so proud of her. Dogs are so brave and willing if you give them a chance. My dog favors my dad, he sits by his chair even when he’s not home. It’s so cute.

  12. Over it says:

    If petty Betty takes the commonwealth from Megan ,countries mostly occupied by people of color, then I hope they all leave the commonwealth

  13. Lissdogmom02 says:

    Love her. I’ve got 2 rescues and they are the best company & coworkers as I call them. Dogs are the best, no one else will ever be as excited to see me when I come home, even if I’m gone for 5 minutes. I love all animals and am thinking of a kitty next, rescue of course. Animals enhance our lives, mine are so funny to watch play & realize just how smart they are. 💕🐶🥰

  14. Lilly (with the double-L) says:

    Like others I’m more of a cat mom, but throughout the pandemic I have not committed to any pets. But, DoS is so inspiring and I keep thinking about a rescue dog now. Although, I do donate as part of her efforts for shelters.

  15. Mia says:

    I love that you can tell how much Yates and Duchess Meghan respect eachother.
    Lol ‘scandalous tea’!! woman loves dogs!! Shock horror!! 😆 I’m sure the Sussex office thinks very carefully about how the DM will spin things before authorizing anything public facing.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      It’s smart. It’s coming from a charity giving their words and perspectives about Meghan. To attack it would be to attack a charity.

  16. Liz version 700 says:

    We rescued two cats (a momma cat and a kitten) in June and they have made such a huge difference during the pandemic. The company and humor just has made my husband and I so much lighter

  17. Maevo says:

    Meghan is so good at this. It’s such a smart way to get her charities some press, to just have them drop an innocuous anecdote or publishing the Christmas card. Also enables the couple to give some updates without having their own social media. Just really savvy all around.

  18. Catherine says:

    There is no indication that Meghan authorized Mayhew to speak on her behalf. The comments made were an indication of Meghan’s commitment to the charity and what her dogs mean to her and made in relation to Meghan’s specific interest in the Mayhew’s Therapaws program which is a support program. Also, Harry wasn’t stripped of his military roles. The three honorary titles her that were given to him in 2017 were stripped. He has maintained all of his connections to the military organizations that he previously had. For example, he helped launch fundraisers for Walking with the Wounded, Team Rubicon and the Gurkha Trust. He has done zoom calls with Help For Heroes and Scotty’s Little Soldiers. And though he is barred from acting in an official capacity with the organizations that he had his titles stripped. He has continued to support them in an unofficial capacity. Which is why he sued (and won) his defamation claim against the Mail.

    • Oh says:

      His three honorary titles were not all given to him in 2017. yes, he became Captain General of the Royal Marines in 2017 but he also became Commodore-in-Chief in 2006 and Honorary Air Commandant in 2008

  19. MeToforever says:

    I can’t tell, did this person go to Hello magazine with this, or is on their site and Hello published it. I can’t imagine Meghan giving permission for Mayhew to speak to Hello unless they just did so on their own.

    • Catherine says:

      It’s not unusual for organizations to be interviewed and asked about their patrons. I think though that Meghan and Harry are more hands on and develop more personal relationships with the people in the organizations that they work with. So when they are interviewed they tend to speak more personally about them. I’ve noticed that a lot. The tone and the tenor of the comments is much more “friendly” shall I say when it comes to Harry and Meghan. And I think that reflects how they work/connect with people. They drop the formality. They really get involved and they really take interest.