At Ellie Taylor’s lowest point, someone unexpected came into her life to help her.
The UK teen suffered from anorexia so severe that she wound up in the hospital, and her road to recovery was slow until something “jumpstarted” it — her pet rabbit, Roary, SELF Magazine reports.
The rabbit was a gift from Taylor’s mother, who bought the baby bunny shortly after Taylor’s hospitalization. Taylor had wanted a rabbit for a years and the light-colored Lionhead couldn’t have come at a better time.
Taylor’s anorexia began at age 13, in June 2011, after the death of her grandfather. She told SELF she couldn’t stomach anything and her health began declining. She limited herself to 400 calories a day and would skip meals completely if she was even a minute late to start them.
A year later, in May 2012, Taylor was hospitalized. After a month there she continued therapy, extending beyond the 6 weeks of the program’s intended length into July, and she still needed more help.
“I was [in counseling] for 7 months without the rabbit and I slightly started to improve, but nothing on the level when I had Roary,” she told the magazine. “He just made me feel so much better as a person.”
She says having to feed him throughout the day made her realize the importance of food, and if she didn’t look after herself, she couldn’t look after him.
“I’d feed him about three times a day, so I’d have my meals around the same time, and that helped me a lot,” she said. “This bond and relationship with him — I didn’t want to leave him.”
After 8 months with Roary and counseling, Taylor began eating regular meals and stopped obsessing about food.
“He saved my life,” she told SELF. “I’m still here today.”
Roary received an award from British veterinary charity PDSA. The Devotion Award honors the bond between animals and people and the difference that can make in a person’s life.
Roary is getting a lot of attention these days, as multiple news outlets have picked up the story. If it can lead to to having an impact of just one other person out there struggling with a challenge, one little bunny will have done a pretty big job.