The roaming street dogs of Bali are as much a part of the Bali landscape as the incense offerings outside every shop or the old vodka bottles used for petrol.
Love em’ or hate em’, you’re not in town long before they’re on your radar - either because you want to save them all or you’re furiously avoiding them whilst branding each and every pup as rabid. That’s completely understandable considering most of them look like they can’t put down the crack pipe, all emaciated, skin in terrible condition with teeth that look like a burnt down fence.
‘Bali dog’ is the politically correct term for the stray dogs of Bali, and they often get a pretty bad wrap – That they are sexually promiscuous rabies carriers who take to the streets at night to brawl.
What you have to understand is that they didn’t choose the street life, the street life chose them. Born into poverty, dog owners often can’t afford sterilization, resulting in the rapidly growing Bali Dog population which means more and more dogs are taking to the streets, often getting caught up with the wrong pack.
Some are just a bit snappy (you would be too if your baby mamma just ran off with Snoop from across the road and left you to raise four puppies on your own). Territorial gang brawls are common as well as painful skin conditions such as mange and scabies which are caused by the climate and the spread of parasites from dog to dog.
Local governments organize culling of dogs on beaches and the streets using poisoning and shooting as a solution to the ever-growing Bali dog population - domesticated dogs are also often affected. Aside from culling, hundreds of dogs suffer horrible painful deaths each week to the dog meat trade, acts of cruelty, disease, motor vehicle accidents and basic neglect.
Some of these guys are so desperate to get off the streets that I’ve had them hop in the car to come home with me from the beach. I know they have some social problems but I’ve seen many of them rehabilitated into becoming functioning members of society.
My Bali dog Lucky who was rescued from the side of a busy road as a 1-month-old pup now has her meals hand cooked for her, has bi-weekly baths, struts the beach every day in a diamonte collar and refuses to sleep anywhere other than an air conditioned room. Within six weeks of having a safe place to sleep, decent food, lots of love and a few visits to the vet for some medicine, her once patchy fur which was covered in ticks and fleas has grown back shiny, healthy and thick. Her bony frame has become a meaty one and her street life is well in the past.
Not everyone can take a dog in but there are ways that you can help more dogs avoid neglect, disease, and painful deaths. The Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA) facilitates an ambulance service, adoption programs, rabies programs, street feeding and humane population control. The Bali Bible supports BAWA and their humane management of Bali’s cat and dog populations to achieve levels at which all dogs and cats can be adequately fed and cared for, free from suffering. BAWA with donations is able to support and sterilize 60-70% of dogs in the Ubud area. The Bali Pet Crusaders are also doing a fantastic job of visiting villages in Bali with a mobile sterilization van, and get around to sterilizing hundreds of dogs each week.
Both are 'not-for-profit' and run by volunteers that are desperate to stop the suffering. If you’ve been touched by Bali Dogs, you can help stop the suffering too by donating. To find out more, visit www.bawabali.com or www.balipetcrusaders.org or contact Rosie directly to chat more about how you can help make a difference!
Written by Rosie, one of our amazing account managers and her pampered hound, Lucky - pictured on the right :)