Puppy on brink of death makes incredible comeback after rescue
Rescue puppy on brink of death makes incredible comeback
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A helpless bald puppy on the brink of death has made a miraculous recovery after being rescued. Niall Harbison, 43, from Dublin, Ireland, lives in Koh Samui where he looks after stray dogs.
Niall feared the worst when he found a tiny Rodney close to death on the side of the road at the end of January.
The three-month-old puppy was suffering from an autoimmune skin disease and had red raw skin with no fur.
But he has made an amazing recovery in Niall’s care and is now full of beans with his coat growing back.
Niall told the Express: “Rodney was in a really bad way. I watched him for two hours and I genuinely thought every little shallow breath took would be his last. He was hanging on by a thread.
“In my mind, I’d sort of committed to myself to at least just be there for him when he passed, it was that serious.
“But as the hours wore I got a little more hopeful. Then he made it through the night. Then another day.
“It took a couple of days to know he would probably make it but deep down I thought it was a case of just comforting him. How wrong I was. He was a little fighter.”
Rodney will eventually be found a loving home in Thailand or abroad.
He is one of 10,000 street dogs Niall has set himself a target of helping.
The 43-year-old, who previously owned an advertising company, decided to start rescuing dogs after waking up in hospital at rock bottom from an alcohol addiction in December 2020.
He moved to Thailand where he began saving strays in January last year.
Niall – who has amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on social media with his heartwarming posts – currently feeds 800 dogs a day and has neutered 450 to stop more puppies from being born to a life on the streets.
He said: “I ended up in hospital because I was an alcoholic and nearly killed myself from drinking. I just had a wake-up moment when that happened.
“I was like I’ve been doing my whole life worrying about getting a new car or materialistic things. And then your life flashes in front of your eyes and if you had died it kind of felt meaningless.
“So I was like I need to go and do something that’s important that I love. I love dogs and helping their welfare is the most important.
“It’s tough but it’s a million times more rewarding. I get up and get to go and help dogs. The good stuff way outweighs the bad.
“I genuinely don’t do anything apart from the dogs. I wake up at half five and then I’ll be on the go. Then I’ll come home and do a bit of social media and go to bed and get up again. It’s all day, every day.
“There are eight million stray dogs from Thailand so it’s a huge population of stray dogs. They’re on every street corner, outside every restaurant.
“They’ll get little scraps of food but they have no medical care, they breed, there’s no system to look after them, and as a result they have a hard life.”
Other recent rescues include a dog called McMuffin, who was covered in cancerous tumours, and another named King Whacker, who had been hit around the hit with a pickaxe.
Niall has racked up 418,000 followers on Instagram, 274,000 on TikTok and 126,000 on Twitter where he posts regular updates on the dogs he rescues.
He said: “It’s kind of insane. People love dogs. I just try and do a bit of positivity. They’re hard stories, but I try and make them positive.”
The dog lover, who spends around £15,000 a month of his own money plus donations, eventually wants to tackle the problem of strays worldwide.
He said: “I want to improve the lives of millions of street dogs around the world. I said at the start 10,000 dogs but I want to make it bigger because I just see how big the problem is.
“Stray dogs around the world are kind of voiceless so I want to really rally their cause and kind of eradicate street dogs around the world and champion people to look after dogs better.”
Niall, who has written a new book titled Hope about his dog rescue mission, said spay and neuter programmes and education are key to ending the issue.
He said: “There’s a really good analogy that it’s like a bath that’s overflowing. A lot of people spend their time mopping up the water, which is the puppies coming out, helping the dogs. But you really should turn the taps off which is the sterilisation.
“People are not that interested in the sterilisation part because people really like to see dogs having amazing recoveries and stuff like that. But the sterilisation is the most important and the education If you can teach kids to treat animals better that’s the ultimate.”
Donate to Niall’s fundraiser HERE.
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