Two years ago Darren Hicks seemed to have the perfect life. The 44-year-old roofer from Gloucestershire, England was living with his girlfriend and their 3 Patterdale terriers in a nice house.
Then they broke up, and Hicks found himself struggling to make ends meet. While he had a steady job in construction the rental prices in his area had gone way up, but the biggest problem was his dogs.
The local council was willing to offer Hicks a cheap rental property, but only if he gave up his 3 dogs, who would be put down. The only apartments that allowed pets were too expensive, so Hicks found himself in an impossible position.
Others might have given up and said goodbye to their pets, but this was "not an option" for Hicks.
Instead, for the past 18 months he's been living in a van with his dogs, Bramble, Bella and Chase.
It's not an easy life. He sleeps on a foam mattress, cooks on a portable stove, and has to go to the bathroom at a nearby grocery store.
But he told the Mirror it was the only choice he could make, because his dogs "mean everything to me. They're all I've got left."
Hicks is still waiting for good news, but he's determined not to give up if it means abandoning his pets.
"I would give up everything else," he says. "They love me and they only do what I say. If I give them up, I know no one will look after them."
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