When Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry decided they would split their time between North America and the UK at the beginning of 2020, the world looked a little different.
A time where 'COVID' and 'lockdown' wasn't a part of our daily vocab, a time where one could hop on a plane and fly anywhere their budget's allowed, a time where hopping across the ditch to visit family or friends was an option always on the table.
Instead, their reality was our own. After moving to California in March, the royal pair remained in lockdown there ever since, moving only slightly north from LA to Santa Barbara where they purchased their family home.
But instead of finding comfort in time with extended family and travelling beyond your resident bubble, it seems the Duchess found solace in something else - and many people will probably relate.
In a new interview with HELLO! magazine, the CEO of Meghan's beloved patron charity, Mayhew, opened up about the delicate conversations they've had with the royal since lockdown began.
Explaining that Meghan has remained in touch with the staff from the animal welfare and dog rescue charity, sharing their experiences with each other, they've come to a deeper understanding.
"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," CEO Caroline Yates explained.
The passionate CEO added that it was "really nice" to share those experiences and to understand "how important animals are when things are tough and what a comfort they can be."
Meghan, who lives in her Santa Barbara mansion with Prince Harry and one-year-old son Archie, owns two rescue dogs. A beagle named Guy and a black lab named Pula.
The two pups even featured in the Sussexs' Christmas card, which was officially released last year via the Mayhew charity.
"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 said in the interview with HELLO!.
In the unique, cartoonised image, Meghan, Harry and Archie are pictured in their backyard with Guy and Pula perched around them.
Last year, we got another glimpse of Meghan's beloved dogs in a clip she shared alongside Gloria Steinham.
The two influential women filmed the Q&A clip for Women's Equality Day in the US, with the pair engaging in a relaxed, uplifting conversation encouraging women to vote ahead of the US election.
"Welcome home, I'm so glad that you're home," Gloria told Meghan.
You can hear the genuinity in Meghan's voice as she says: "Me too, for so many reasons."
As her dogs sit patiently beside her, the Duchess' ease and comfort is clear.
Our furry friends really do work wonders for the soul.