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Former Soap Actor Commits Suicide


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R.I.P. Nick & Rocco

May God Rest their Souls.

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http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/doggone_shame_1a9XYW8u9ZLlqwRJTa6jrN

A down-on-his-luck soap-opera actor took his own life this week after he was forced to put his beloved dog to sleep under pressure from his Upper West Side condo and became wracked by grief, pals said.

Nick Santino euthanized his dog, Rocco, Tuesday — on Santino’s 47th birthday. That night, his guilt over the gut-wrenching decision became too much to bear.

“Today I betrayed my best friend and put down my best friend,” a despondent Santino wrote in a suicide note, said close friend Stuart Sarnoff.

“Rocco trusted me and I failed him. He didn’t deserve this.”

The Brooklyn-born Santino — a struggling actor whose TV credits include “All My Children” and “Guiding Light” — adopted Rocco from a shelter several years ago.

The man, raised in an orphanage and foster homes, soon began to write about his pet on Facebook, writing, “I did not rescue Rocco, Rocco rescued me.”

But in 2010, his building at 1 Lincoln Plaza announced strict new dog regulations, including a ban on pit bulls. The ban didn’t apply to pit bulls already in the building, but friends and neighbors said Santino began to be harassed.

“People were complaining about his dog,” said neighbor Kevan Cleary, 63, an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School. “It was open season on him.”

Rocco couldn’t ride in the main elevators and wasn’t allowed to be left in the apartment alone for more than nine hours.

Santino was then threatened with a $250 fine for having a barking dog, neighbors said.

“The dog was not a barker, but somebody complained that the dog would bark,” Cleary said.

“He felt like he was in this battle because he was the only guy in the building with a pit-bull mix,” Cleary added.

Another neighbor, Lia Pettigrew, who runs a pet-care company, said, “Everybody knows that he had been harassed by the building management.”

The building’s management refused to comment yesterday.

After months of increasing anguish, Santino had the healthy dog put to sleep Tuesday.

Neighbors said a tearful Santino brought dog treats to the building’s doorman and said: “Give these to the other dogs. Rocco is no more.”

Dog owner James Steven Grant said Santino left two rawhide bones on his doorstep and earlier was seen tearfully giving away Rocco’s fluffy bed.

“Rocco was the sweetest dog in the world. Rocco wouldn’t hurt a fly,” Grant said.

A veterinarian told Santino that Rocco was becoming aggressive — and Santino blamed it on his own depression.

He spent Tuesday in agony over what he had done to Rocco.

“He was distraught and remorseful about putting down his best friend,” Cleary said.

The last phone call he made was to a former girlfriend at 2 a.m. Wednesday. Later that day, police found his body in his bedroom. He had overdosed on pills.

Rocco has been cremated, and friends said Santino’s remains will be, too, and they will be reunited.

“One way or another, their ashes will be together forever,” Sarnoff said.

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This is awful. It's clear he was already depressed, otherwise why not move with the dog or give the dog away? I imagine he was too depressed to think clearly. RIP

I was thinking the same thing. How about moving in with the gf?? I'm sorry but this is so stupid beyond words.....

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I was thinking the same thing. How about moving in with the gf?? I'm sorry but this is so stupid beyond words.....

Well I'm sorry that you don't have any compassion for someone who went down the rabbit hole of mental illness to the point that he didn't see common sense. Depression isn't a choice, it is something that sneaks up on a person and swallows them whole. I've seen it over my entire career, mental illness is improperly understood and rampant and often patients feel that they're being selfish and that there's no way out. Brooke Shields titled her memoir Down Came The Rain and that's exactly what depression is, it's like a rain cloud coming over you as you walk in an open field without an umbrella. It just happens.

I'm also sorry that the US health care system failed him and that he didn't receive the help he needed. Of course, he probably didn't even see that help was there for him.

I've posted this video before, but I think it's very appropriate still. Anyone feeling depressed needs to seek help because it's there and it works.

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I'm also sorry that the US health care system failed him and that he didn't receive the help he needed. Of course, he probably didn't even see that help was there for him.

I think it's an every bigger indictment of modern urban society. It seems there was no one there to intervene or help him see that he had options. People can become so isolated these days. It breaks my heart that there wasn't a friend there to get him some help and get him to see he had options. Who knows if he ever even made it to a doctor, as you say. Even if he did intellectually know that help is available, he might have been to far gone to seek it on his own.

Right now, I'm in the middle of trying to convince one of my friends that she absolutly must get her BF some sort of help. He's acting really paranoid and thinks people are out to get him and are watching him. He's actually put her children in a van a few times for no reason. Lord knows if I will succeed in getting him to help (these aren't the type of people to go to a doctor except in emergency), but I'm going to give it all I've got. It's 1012 and people still don't see mental illness as a real illness.

Aren't apartments basically lifeblood in NYC and just about impossible to find if you leave one? That is probably why he stayed.

Well, yes, but if staying means killing yourself and/or your best friend, it's time to get out of Dodge.

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I really do feel bad for this actor, because I've dealt with depression myself. Four years ago, I had a very bad bout of it and I came close to the edge, but I talked about it my mother who has dealt with it and I pulled through. It really does take you to a dark place where you think ending it is the only solution, it's a scary thing.

Aren't apartments basically lifeblood in NYC and just about impossible to find if you leave one? That is probably why he stayed.

Yes, once you get an apartment there, you don't leave it.

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Right now, I'm in the middle of trying to convince one of my friends that she absolutly must get her BF some sort of help. He's acting really paranoid and thinks people are out to get him and are watching him.

That's scary that you said that cause one of my co-workers apparently like lost his mind one night when he was really drunk and doesn't remember any of it. He liked flipped and was crying in the fetal position and went knocking on doors of strangers, screaming there was someone out to get him and stuff. And this is in the middle of the winter with not enough layers on. I don't know disorder that is but I don't really know what to say or how to intervene, it's not really my business but I'm concerned. Obviously there are deeper issues than issues with alcohol abuse there.

This story is tragic. sad.png I'm sad he felt so distraught about his dog but I completely understand. My grandmother has treated her dogs like her best friends for as long as I can remember. Sometimes there is just such a strong bond with people and their pets. I'm not qualified to say if it's healthy to the level that he and my grandma take it but it's definitely real.

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