BBC Presenter Became Suicidal on the Death of His Pets

Chris Packham is a very honest person. He has spoken incredibly honestly about his depression. He suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome which is a condition within the autistic spectrum.

Chris Packham
Chris Packham — Photo: BBC.
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His story is poignant. It reinforces what we know, namely, that many people can form a relationship with their companion animal which is stronger than a relationship with a human including their long-term partner. This certainly applies to Chris Packham. He would freely admit it and his long-term partner mentions it.

Chris Packham has considered suicide twice. On one occasion the death of his one-year-old dog Fish brought it on.

He said that he was returning from a football match in a car. I believe his partner, Charlotte, was with him driving. She said to him that Fish loved him so much, more than she could love him and that he loved Fish more than he could ever love her. He says that this was not a derogatory remark but a simple recognition of the truth and both parties accepted it.

Charlotte dropped him off at his home. He says that within 10 minutes his dog, who he loved so much, had been killed on the road. He had been run over and he had died in his arms. From that moment on everything fell apart for Chris Packham.

Earlier, when Chris was 14 years of age he says that he lost his pet kestrel. He had similar struggles with suicidal thoughts as a consequence.

It is probably true say that people who suffer from Asperger’s Syndrome can and often do form very close relationships with companion animals and find it more easy to do so than with a person. The strength of this bond may have been a major factor as to why the impact of the deaths of his pets plunged him into deep depression and suicidal thoughts.

He didn’t know that he had Asperger’s Syndrome until he was 34 years of age but he knew he was an outsider. People with the condition lack social skills and can have problems communicating. Animals are often very therapeutic.

On the death of Fish, Charlotte bought him two miniature black poodles, Itchy and Scratchy, to help pull him out of his depression. He says they loved him. They kept him alive. He says that he owes his life to them and that he always will.

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4 thoughts on “BBC Presenter Became Suicidal on the Death of His Pets”

  1. I’ve never thought about whether I prefer animals to people, but it may be true. I tend to be an introvert, preferring my own company, but when I’ve said that to people they say that they don’t see me as an introvert.

    What gets me out of myself is the desire to help educate and empower people. Now, my focus is on being a “cat advocate” to share information and resources. I offer my services at no charge, and have developed a questionnaire for guardians to fill out before I offer assistance, but so far no one wants to do that. They just want immediate answers. I have a Facebook page for CAT Advocate, and I was hoping that people might ask questions or offer resources there, but that hasn’t happened. I’ve paid a little to promote it, and that did get more views, but it may be that I’m in an over saturated market. I’ll keep trying for awhile before letting it go.

  2. It’s very understandable that a person who has difficulty communicating and being understood and accepted by other people. Animals provide unconditional acceptance, which is what we all crave, and this is very therapeutic for all of us.

    My cat, Mitzy, gives me a reason for living. Although, I don’t think I would be suicidal if she died, although extremely sad. I never take chances with her well being. She is my uppermost concern of the day. I know where she is at all times. If I can’t locate her in 5 minutes, I begin to fear that one of my housemates or a visitor has let her out. She goes out on a leash once or twice a day, but still sit’s by the door at other times, and cries to go out.

    She’s had several health issues, and at one point I thought I might have to euthanize her for lack of money for treatment. I broke down in the vet’s office, and they actually reduced the bill.

    I know that if she dies before me, that I won’t get another cat, but will probably foster one. Although I have many interests, my cat fills my heart in a way that nothing or no one else can. I have loved several cats, but because of my age and situation, she has my devoted attention. We spend most days and nights together. I actually try to do my errands when she’s sleeping. Pretty co-dependent I know….

    • I am similar to you. You are a wonderful cat guardian because you are vigilant about her welfare at all times. Packham says that animals are more reliable in their relationship with us. I have said this myself. I am a bit like Packham. I don’t think I have Asperger’s but I think I prefer animals to people 😉

  3. I feel for him. I think it’s worth mentioning that no one need qualify, excuse, apologize for, explain away, pity, categorize or compare anyone (to anyone else) who feels they can’t go on upon losing a beloved animal companion. There’s nothing wrong with people who feel so deeply and make that special connection. I’m sure Michael agrees.


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