Adorable puppy saves 4.5 stone anorexic owner from starving to death thanks to routine feeding times
An adorable puppy has saved her anorexic four-and-a-half-stone owner from starving to death thanks to its routine feeding times.
Sophie Hewlett’s weight plummeted in 2013 due to the stress of her final year university exams – and she began living off sugar-free squash in a bid to stay alive.
But one year ago, the 24-year-old bought a puppy called Eevee, a miniature Dachshund, who helped her recover from anorexia.
Sophie needed to feed Eevee every twenty minutes after she was diagnosed with severe dehydration.
It was her puppy’s regular meal times that helped Sophie to realise her eating disorder was a serious problem.
She has since found the strength to beat anorexia and can now take Eevee on long walks.
Sophie, from Upton, Worcester, said: “While I was feeding my dog every 20 minutes, I couldn’t feed myself and it made me realise I needed more help to gain weight.
“When I first got Eevee she was so tiny, eight weeks old and sick that I knew I had to take care of her.
“I had to stay awake throughout the night to feed her every 20 minutes for three days and nights otherwise she would have died.
“Seeing my little dog recovering after being so sick helped me to get my life back on track.
“Ever since I saved her life I’ve had this special bond with her and it’s helped me to look after myself too.
“Eevee has been biggest motivation I couldn’t wait to take her for a walk for the first time, she’s been my little healing dog.
“I would feel so guilty about not being able to take her for walks, I could barely throw her ball for her let alone take her to the park.
“Since getting better it’s been amazing, I’ve been able to take her up and around the hills near to our home, she like a little rocket.
Sophie’s problems with anorexia began in December 2013 when she started missing meals after feeling excessive stress during her final year of university.
Her weight fell from a healthy seven-and –a-half-stone for her petite 5ft 1inch frame to just four-and-a-half stone.
Despite help from family and friends in 2013 she struggled to accept she had a problem.
Sophie said: “It felt like the only control I could get was through my eating, I was living off litres and litres of sugar free squash and walking miles every day.
“People would tell me I was getting thinner and thinner, but I didn’t see that I had a problem.
“Everyone used to buy me sweets and chocolate to try to help me but I couldn’t bring myself to eat them.
“When my sister saw how ill I looked she burst into tears, it was really hard to watch her so upset because I didn’t know how to handle my anorexia.
“Eventually I realised how ill I was after getting out of the shower.
“I saw all my bones protruding from my back in the mirror and saw how unwell I looked.
“My biggest saviours have been my little dog, sister, mum and granny – they’ve all been so understanding and helped my endlessly.”
Sophie’s family’s concern about her weight began two years ago but their help alone wasn’t enough to nurse her back to help.
Sister Jessica, 21, said: “I first realised something was wrong when she came back from university, she was so tiny that I was terrified to hug her back.
“Looking back she was pale and had nothing behind her eyes, she didn’t even have the energy to speak.
“She was really quiet and had no figure left to her she was all bone – I was so worried about her.
“Pretty much as soon as she got her little dog Eevee, she realised she had to get better to do normal things with her like taking her for walks.
“Her dog was so sick at first so Sophie had a big responsibility to take of her – Eevee getting better depended solely on her.
“I couldn’t believe she was still alive when I see the pictures now, she was so thin – thank goodness she is better now.
In November last year Sophie was admitted to Huntercombe Hospital when she weighed four-and-a-half-stone.
There she started counselling and therapy to deal with weight gain as well as trying to encourage her to eat in public to normalise her relationship with food.
Alongside gradually increasing her consumption of food – for breakfast she would have: one bowl of cereal, two buttered crumpets, 200ml of juice and 200ml of milk.
Sophie said: “At first it was a really daunting prospect having to eat so much but I knew I needed to do it to get better.
“Doctors told me that I should have been dead with the BMI score I had.
“Before I was living off one Weetabix with water but with the hospital’s help I overcame that.
“In the dining room I would sit with a picture of my little dog Eevee eating a daddy long legs for inspiration.
“It always used to make me laugh and made me think if she can eat spiders then I can manage dinner.
“Even while I was living in the rehabilitation ward my mum would bring her to visit me – seeing her gave me more strength to keep fighting anorexia.
“I’ve been taught now to do opposite of what my anorexia and eat what my body craves.
“I remember hyperventilating when pancakes where on our set menu, at first I really struggled to deal with eating so much fat and sugar.
“But then I leaned that I wouldn’t balloon from one pancake and that fats shouldn’t be cut out of your diet.
“Recently I had pancakes for dinner which I never would have before but now I’m better I can eat normally.
“Everyone has been incredible and I’ve really made a great recovery.
Now approaching a healthy weight Sophie’s hoping to be fully discharged from the clinic later this month.
Jessica Hewlett recently ran a half marathon to fundraise money for eating disorder charity Beat.
You can donate by visiting: www.justgiving.com/Jessica-Hewlett
Dr Raj Dhanushkodi, a consultant psychiatrist, from Huntercombe Cotswold Spa, the clinic where Sophie attended said: “Anorexia Nervosa is characterised by intense fear of fatness, drive for thinness and body image disturbance. Despite being abnormally thin, sufferers tend to see themselves as fat.
“There is a risk to physical health because extreme weight loss may send the body into starvation mode, leading to shutting down of major organs.
“Medical intervention to achieve physical recovery alone is most often a short term fix that will lead to relapse unless there is also treatment to deal with the mental aspects of the illness.
“This is achieved by psychological therapies and involving the family in supporting the recovery process Anorexia Nervosa is a difficult illness to treat, but a full recovery is possible.”