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Actress and Comedian Miranda Hart credits her dog with helping her beat depression after her relationship ended

By Nina Steele 

Miranda Hart and her dog44 year old Miranda Hart who is childless, was asked in a past interview whether or not she was planning on having children. To that she replied: “It is hard for women who start to achieve success in their mid-30s because if you are not with someone and ready to have children then you make that choice to carry on working”. She had been in a long term relationship, the end of which led to a deep depression. Thankfully, soon after, in 2007, ‘Peggy’, a Shih Tzu, entered her life and proved to be just what she needed in order to turn a corner. Her devotion and love for her dog forms the subject of her book entitled ‘Peggy and Me’, published in 2016.

In the book, she elaborates on the state she was in at the time Peggy came into her life. Not only was she emotionally a wreck, she was also physically unwell. Of that period she said: “I succumbed to a miserable stretch of glandular fever. I was hit emotionally and physically pretty hard and I was feeling very lonely, very isolated, very depressed and frankly very uncertain whether I could ever love or be loved again”.
Miranda Hart Peggy and Me
Having a dog and having to take it out for walks meant that, instead of staying indoors and feeling sorry for herself, she was forced to go out, which inevitably meant having to make conversation with other dog walkers. That seemingly simple act helped lift her mood. Of that she said: “I could feel my fog of misery start to lift a little, and I felt grateful; momentarily, pathetically grateful to Peggy for lifting me out of myself, forcing me to engage with the world”. She goes on to say: “without her need for a walk, I certainly wouldn’t be in the park. I would probably have curtains closed and be escaping via some sort of degrading telly binge-a-thon”.

In the book, Miranda goes back to the issue of motherhood and recounts how in her early 30s, she suddenly came to the realisation that her dream of motherhood was slowly slipping away. Of that she said: “I thought I would be married with children, whilst juggling a glamourous acting lifestyle and worthy charitable commitments”. Although her life hasn’t turned out quite the way she would have liked, she is now in a good place. By the time the book was published, she had had her dog for 9 years. Those years have seen her go from non-acceptance of her life as a single and childless woman, to a proud dog owner who has gradually come to accept her path. Even so, she hasn’t completely given up on love. The difference between now and then is that having her dog means that she knows she will be ok whichever way her life goes.

Of her love life, the book mentions the fact that she has been romantically involved with someone recently and that the relationship did not work out. However, the emotional strength she has built since having her dog in her life has meant that the sadness she felt was very short-lived. Of that she said: “Nine years ago, if I had experienced a painful goodbye, I don’t think looking down at my new dog would have made me feel strong again so instantly as I did that day”. She goes on to say: “The love I felt looking at Peggy was so deep my hurt and aloneness vanished. I did feel loved. Content. I would never be alone. It would always be Peggy and me”.

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