A 25-year-old dad from West Virginia, Hunter Michael Shepard, has been addicted to drugs since he was 12 years old. He turned to methamphetamine and heroin along with acid and ecstasy.

While going through rehab helped, he gained additional emotional support through an orange cat named Pete. Now with Pete’s support, Hunter has stayed clean and is turning his life around.

“Recovery is all about connection,” Hunter said. “Addiction is the absence of connection. Regardless of where you find that connection, I think having pets is an incredible way to remain connected to something that goes beyond yourself.”

To learn how a cat helped a recovering addict, click here.