Man Quits Corporate Life to Rescue Stray Dogs

Man Quits Corporate Life to Rescue Stray Dogs

January 23, 2024 by Cathy Stack

KOH SAMUI, Thailand —Irish media entrepreneur Niall Harbison, an animal lover with a big heart, loved to travel to Thailand for weeks at a time to escape the cold winter months. Those trips fueled a passion that would prompt him to leave his corporate job. During his travels, the large number of stray dogs he encountered in Thailand troubled him, and he wanted to help these neglected animals. When he later suffered a life-threatening medical emergency, the health crisis motivated him to change his life and find more personal meaning. He decided to dedicate his life to rescuing stray dogs, and he set a goal to save 10,000 dogs per month in his new home in Thailand.

As an adult, Niall suffered from depression and anxiety, which led to self-medicating with alcohol. He said he had been living a high-pressure life, striving for material things like bigger homes and new cars. After his abuse of alcohol resulted in an ICU hospital stay, he vowed to change his life. While recovering in the hospital, he realized none of the material things he had focused on really mattered. He now had a second chance at life and some big decisions to make.

“If I make it through this, all I want to do is save dogs,” he recalled thinking after his health scare.

As he self-reflected, all thoughts led him back to the idea of helping to relieve the suffering and mistreatment of animals.

“I’m a big believer in second chances, and that is what these animals deserve,” he shared.

Upon his hospital release, Niall went to work on making life changes. He sold his media businesses and moved to the tropical island of Koh Samui, Thailand to create a animal sanctuary.

Niall now spends his days feeding rescued dogs and providing veterinary care, such as treating fungal infections and abrasive wounds. The veterinarians he works with also provide a neuter and spray program for the stray population. Niall currently shelters up to 80 pets full time in his sanctuary. In addition, he and his volunteers feed and care for 800 animals on the island during daily morning rounds.

“It's just me doing it on my scooter and in a jeep. I team up with other people who help dogs, and we all muck in. I have built it out now so as I provide food for 800 dogs on the island and have a lady cooking this for me. I give this to volunteers who distribute it,” he explained.

Niall typically spends up to $3,000 per month to keep his sanctuary operating. Along with using his own savings, he collects funds from social media crowdfunding. The donations help pay for high cost of veterinary care for injured and sick animals.

Niall has found that rescuing animals has also helped him on his own sobriety journey. He said helping animals is his passion, and the sanctuary has given him a greater reason to take care of his own health.

Niall not only wants to rescue strays, but to transform their lives. For animals used to suffering and abuse, he wants them to experience an atmosphere of love and caring. Animal lovers from all over the world tune in to his popular Instagram account to watch the dogs’ inspiring transformations after receiving a lot of TLC from Niall and his team. The dogs often go from looking forlorn and fragile to appearing happy and healthy while joyfully chasing their balls around their new home.

“They are living their absolute best life. They have a huge outdoor play area and lots of siblings to play with at the new family house,” said Niall.

The Foundation For a Better Life and PassItOn believe that Niall Harbison is a true hero. His action is the perfect example of compassion. Help us celebrate him by sharing his inspiring story. 

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Your Comments
Ann from United States JANUARY 23, 2024
What a great guy!

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