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Meghan Markle tells of heartbreak as ‘beloved’ animal charity friend dies

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Meghan Markle said animal behaviourist Oli Juste introduced to her to welfare charity Mayhew, which led her to become its first patron in 2019.

Mayhew is a London-based group working internationally to “improve the lives of cats and dogs” from its home in Kensal Green.

Dog trainer Juste, 45, appeared on Channel 4’s Puppy School.

In a letter shared with The Independent, Prince Harry’s wife writes: “We shared, amongst many things, a commitment to animal welfare, and a deep love of rescue dogs.

“In fact, it was Oli and his fiancé Rob who helped care for my rescue dog, Guy, when I had just moved to the UK and he was recovering from a debilitating accident.

“They loved him as though he was their own.”

Oli Juste

/ Instagram

Former Suits actress Meghan adopted a rescued beagle while she was living in Toronto.

She later adopted Pula the Labrador with Prince Harry. Both dogs live with the couple in their home in Montecito, California.

Mr Juste died suddenly surrounded by friends in a Chichester hospital on January 15.

Writing of her loss, Meghan said: “On January 15, 2022, my beloved friend Oli tragically and very suddenly passed away. It has left me, and so many others, heartbroken and reflective—knowing that the legacy he leaves for our furry friends is beautifully simple: just love them. Especially those left behind or forgotten.”

Mayhew’s chief executive Howard Bridges said the Duchess has “generously made a donation in memory” of Mr Juste.

After stepping back as senior working royals, Meghan and Harry have both passed on several patronages.

Two of hers, the Royal National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities, were recently given to the Duchess of Cornwall by the Queen.

“Although we have mutually agreed not to extend the patronage, as a committed rescue pet parent, The Duchess will continue to support Mayhew and champion our ambitions,” Mr Bridges added.

“Her enthusiasm for our mission has inspired many more people to support and donate to our charity to save dogs and cats from a life of cruelty and neglect, support local pet owners in crisis and find loving and forever homes for abandoned animals.”

Mayhew was founded in 1886 and today sees itself as an animal welfare social worker, keeping cats and dogs, whether family pets or companions for the homeless, safe and well alongside their owners, and supporting communities.

It has a pet refuge service in London, provides vet services to vulnerable owners and has a team of animal welfare officers who work with local residents helping local communities and also has operations abroad in places like Afghanistan and India.

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