It's no secret that the love and companionship provided by animals can have a profound effect on the health and happiness of humans, with many people turning to their pets to help them get through personal tragedies.
And this is certainly the case for 52-year-old Bernice McTell, who claims her collection of animals, including three dogs, two cats, three birds and a cornsnake, are the main driving force that keeps her going.
Having suffered from arthritis for a number of years and after becoming widowed in 2009, Ms McTell insists that her pets "keep me alive, they give me a purpose", The Star reports.
In order to pay her hefty pet food bills, the Sheffield resident has been surviving on a single tin of soup a day, spending the majority of her income on her animal companions.
"I could spend all day in bed, but those dogs give me a reason to get up in the mornings, to go downstairs and open the door," said Ms McTell.