Feed, Spay, Love… in Bali
October 4, 2011 § 14 Comments
The Bali that I visited will always be remembered for its culture, cuisine, and street dogs. The homeless dogs that roam the beaches, streets, and country roads scavenging for scraps of food and makeshift shelter are a sight to behold. The lucky ones find themselves adopted into local homes or, at best, kept in the company of business owners and vendors during the idle hours of the day. Others become guard dogs and they sure know how to alarm even the most innocent of bystanders—I certainly received my share of frights!
These four-legged wandering nomads, a number of whom are in dire state of health, look so feable that you wonder if they have all but lost their will to live. We saw a number of dogs in Ubud sitting on sidewalks patiently waiting for generous handouts from diners eating al fresco, as well as dogs lapping up stagnant water from puddles and outdoor fountains. Dogs can also be seen hanging around temple sites, such as the Tampak Siring Temple (Holy Spring Water Temple) in Gianyar, where they would self-invite themselves into family circles where food would be shared shortly after being offered to the Hindu deities.
A local animal welfare organization by the name of Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA), whose slogan “Feed, Spay, Love” caught my eyes in Ubud, provides outreach programs for destitute dogs through adoption opportunities, street-feeding, and mobile sterilization.
According to BAWA’s website:
Bali dogs are unique. A 2004 genetics study by the University of California, Davis, revealed that they were probably established in Bali 12,000 years ago when it became isolated from Java. They are the most genetically diverse dogs in the world. Their closest relatives being the Chow Chow, Australian Dingo and Akita.
It dawned on me while stumbling upon BAWA during my travel to Bali that animal welfare organizations in foreign countries are in as much need of essential supplies, food, medicine, and donations as their counterparts closer to home. This has inspired me to do a little more research on local shelters the next time we plan a trip outside of Singapore so that we can prepare doggie care packages filled with treats, toys, leashes, shampoos, and towels to be given to furry friends awaiting adoption. Hopefully a small contribution like this can not only add more meaning to our future travels but also make a difference in the lives of vulnerable street dogs in other reaches of the world.
With that said, here are a few happy photos of 4-month old little ‘Kim’ who took notice of us and decided to pop out from under a clothing rack. We discovered Kim and her adopted family—who owns a corner store in the village of Penastanan—during a morning walk on our last day in Ubud. I hope you enjoy this cutie pie!