It’s heartbreaking to see how some of the dogs are treated on this island. Many are abandoned, some beaten, still others are caged in enclosures that don’t permit them space to move and play. Some are voraciously hungry, rabid, crazed. In the early mornings, they compete with roosters and chickens over first dibs at the offerings on the ground; who will get first crack at the measly pickings – grains of rice, slices of banana, a cracked biscuit.
The mangy ones, often female with teats drooping, desperate to feed their young, can be seen scratching and scraping through piles of debris or ripping open plastic bags of rotting trash.
Years ago, local organizations were set up to care for many of these Bali street dogs. BAWA. BARC. They take in stray dogs, care for them and feed them; vets vaccinate them, tend to their medical needs. Expats are invited to adopt from their kennels – rather than from breeders. Many do.
But what to do with those that are abandoned – by the side of a road, in a rice field, on the beach, in an alley?
A new neighbor and her daughter were walking down a rice field path the other day, when they spotted puppies. FOUR puppies. What to do? Well, with nobody in sight, their hearts opened wide. They carried the pups home.
There IS hope, signs of change and progress. I’ve seen Balinese kids and adults walking their well-groomed dogs on a leash. And I’ve seen a few buying dog food at the supermarket and pet shops. May it rub off on those Balinese who don’t yet appreciate the long-term deleterious effects of their behavior towards animals.
Excuse me, I hear the little squirts squealing… I’m off to give them some home-grown TLC.