John Chadwick had his demons, and he also had his friends. The 52-year-old had issues at times, but always found the strength to love his pets, two dogs, Theo and Tinkerbell, and a cat, Gizmo.
John had fallen on hard times and enrolled in emergency council accommodation, a service in the UK that houses the homeless or those in danger of losing their homes. They try to match those in need with homes that fit their needs, however animals are not viewed as a necessary requirement. They relocated John to a new community, but wouldn't allow him to bring his pets.
Despite making numerous friends, and being universally loved by those around him, being separated from his animals took its toll. John committed suicide at a local bed and breakfast and was found the following morning.
"He loved those animals so much. He gave them so much love," said Dee Bonnet, one of John's closest friends. "He needed them to wake up to and go home to at the end of the day. I knew he wouldn't be able to cope without them."
The idea that animals help with treatment of depression isn't new, and it's not just because they're cute. Cats, dogs, and even horses and rabbits, have been trained to help people suffering from depression. Animals don't need any special training to offer support though. The help they give is actually a biological response.