I’m just back from a fantastic two week holiday in Bali, and have so many exciting posts to share here that I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. But the very first one I feel compelled to write about — in hopes of giving back in whatever way I can — centers around Bali Animal Welfare Association, or BAWA as it’s referred to on the island.
Like many tropical islands around the world, stray dogs are a common sight in Bali. They are actually an indigenous breed which may possibly be the world’s oldest, according to a research team at UCLA Davis that conducted a genetic analysis of the Bali street dog in 2004. Most of these street dogs suffer from chronic skin diseases, malnourishment, internal parasites, and viral infections such as parvo and distemper. Rabies is another unfortunate issue for these overpopulated canines.
BAWA is doing everything in their power to relieve the suffering for these strays, including providing medical attention and vaccines, sterilization, and adoptive homes. They are located in the bustling town of Ubud, situated in the center of the island, surrounded by picturesque terraced rice fields. This humanitarian organization relies on donations from both locals and tourists, seeking funds with the help of social media as well as other means.
Here’s my story of the compassion and capability of this humanitarian group…
My son and I were exploring the area around our rented villa near sea-side town of Candi Dasa (I can’t wait to tell you about this gorgeous villa!) when suddenly, out from under a tall gate, crawled two of the cutest, fuzziest, little puppies I’ve ever seen in Bali. They scampered over to us, introducing themselves with sniffs and wet kisses. We were instantly smitten with these two sisters pups, who we christened Bear and Spot.
After many pets and cuddles, ignoring the fleas, we investigated the area, determining that the puppies’ home was actually a dilapidated, unoccupied building sitting on a large neglected plot of land. We then left the puppies to go procure lunch for them. They greatly appreciated this, showing their gratitude with more kisses and wags upon our return with sustenance.
At our next visit later that same day, we met the friendly caretaker of the property — Pat Ketut. He informed us that the puppies mother had died, and their 3 other siblings had either died or been taken. Ketut brought the orphan sisters food every evening. That evening’s supper entailed spicy fried rice mixed with milk. Bear and Spot quickly dug in, but the heat from the chili’s did not suit them. They would take a bite, but then immediately start rubbing their mouth on the grass as if attempting to wipe away the intense spice. We were relieved that we had fed them grilled chicken satay earlier… chili-laden rice was definitely not their cup of tea.
I felt better knowing that Ketut was feeding the puppies. He said that he wished he could keep them, but as he already had one dog, he couldn’t afford to take on two more, especially since they were females (meaning, more more mouths to feed down the road.) Most of the Balinese are not wealthy, nor do many of them nurture the stray dogs on the island. There are also many cases of abused and neglected kept animals here. These sisters were actually lucky that Ketut was helping them at all.
We brought several more meals to the puppies over the next few days. The final day was a difficult one, as we were sad to leave them. I teared up thinking of the future that was in store for them… malnourishment, disease, many litters and more mouths to feed, and avoiding abuse from humans. It chokes me up even writing this because many people look at these adult hairless (from mange), deformed dogs as though they were rats to be kicked away or destroyed. That was the future I feared in store for these two adorable girls.
Enter my newly formed friendship with BAWA. I knew about the organization through an earlier trip, and have followed them since on Facebook. Some of their posts are difficult to swallow because of they often show dire and graphic conditions of Bali dogs, but that is what they deal with on a daily basis. I posted a message to their page telling them about Bear and Spot’s need for help. Within a day, I was in contact with one of the members, and she was on the ball reaching out for local help in the area of the puppies homen in Karangesem province. BAWA is located over an hour away in Ubud, and because of strict laws regarding rabies containment, they are not allowed to take any dogs out of a different area of Bali.
Another day passed, and I heard from a local who wanted additional information on the puppies condition and how to find them. I was feeling very hopeful that the two sweet girls would soon find new homes. But I didn’t hear any news for several days. I was nervous to contact them, not wanting to receive any bad news, but I reached out once more to my new contact. And hear is the reply I received by email:
Hi Amy,The two pups are safe. We went there at August 22nd we met Pak Ketut. and looking for the puppies. Both of them are not there. Based on Pak Ketut, both of them taken by someone two days before we came. After carefully combing the area, our team leave the location.At August 24th Pak Ketut called our team and inform us that the puppies are back, Pak Ketut found the puppies in their place. Our team went there and check the puppies condition, gave them worm tab, rabbies vaccine, collar and put them in safe place.Both of them now in one of our foster home in Karangasem, they happy and healthy and adapt well with new environment. We will put them on the adoption list. hopefully they get adopter as soon as possible.Thank you for your concern
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(+62) 811 389 004 (24h)
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+62 (0) 361 981 490
+62 (0) 361 479 2121
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