Anyone who knows me knows how much I love animals, especially my dog Reno. Reno is my crutch, the one constant being in my adult life that makes me whole during life’s toughest times. He has my back and I have his. Because of the bond I have with Reno and other dogs in my past who have added sparkle to my life, it is only naturally for me to write about the dogs of Bali.
We saw the Bali dog above the first day we were in Seminyak. He runs the block. Most dogs run in the streets of Bali. Those who are owned by locals are kept outside to act as protection from intruders and keep evil spirits away. Since they are kept outside in the hot and wet weather conditions, it is not uncommon for them to develop mange and other skin conditions. Some locals have their dogs treated for these conditions, but most do not. The Balinese live on minimal income, and treating their street dogs is not a priority.
Over population of dogs is another issue on the island. Many pet owners do not understand the importance of spaying and neutering. The more dogs that are on the street result in a greater amount of starvation, dogs hit by cars and motor bikes, and the faster rabies is spread. Bali experienced an extreme rabies outbreak in 2008.
To my disgust dogs are also consumed in Bali. Most Balinese are appalled by this, but it does happen among the poorer people that live in the outskirts of villages. The places that serve dog meat are marked with “DR”.
Yesterday I visited the office of the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA). BAWA is an Indonesian based charity foundation founded in 2007 by Janice Girardi, an American resident in Bali for more than 30 years. Before she founded BAWA, Janice supported community welfare groups within Bali for decades. BAWA’s overall mission is to solve the complex animal welfare situation in Bali and relieve the suffering of Bali’s animals.
BAWA’s mission is achieved through:
- Free animal clinic in Ubud, open 24 hours / 7 days a week
- 24 hours / 7 days a week animal ambulance, which responds emergency calls for animals in need
- Mobile spay and neuter program which moves from village to village providing a free sterilization service
- Street feeding service
- Adoption program for puppies and kittens
- Rabies eradication program
- Education program for Bali’s youth
The BAWA office is separate from their clinic. They are located about 10 to 15 minutes apart in Ubud. I was unable to make it to the clinic, which houses more than 150 animals at the moment, due to the constant rain. During my visit to their office, I met two puppies and the young office dog, Mia. Mia, born blind, was found by Janice in a flooded market as a puppy. Janice scooped her up and provided her medical care and much needed nourishment. Mia is now a happy, healthy dog living in the BAWA’s Ubud shop.
I am not sure of the puppies’ stories, but before they are adopted out, their adoptive family goes through an extensive background check. The background check includes a home visit and subsequent home visits after the puppies are adopted. This is to ensure the puppies are living with a humane and loving family.