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! 

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§ 14 Responses to Feed, Spay, Love… in Bali

  • raisingdaisy says:

    Oh, how sad! I think that’s a wonderful idea you have about the care packages. Our dogs should only know how lucky they are!

  • This post really resonated with me as my Grace started out as a street dog in Puerto Rico. Life was very hard for her, based on her overwhelming sense of fear. It’s a wonderful idea you have to take care packages with you on future trips! And Kim has a lovely, inquisitive face, especially her eyes. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kas says:

    I agree – what a great idea about the care packages. I have several friends with dogs that were rescued off the streets in Greece and they faced very similar conditions. Those pups are lucky to have you there to try and help them out in any way you can – we need more people like you! 🙂

  • Muffin_mint says:

    tt’s very thoughtful of you, maple’s momsy. Maple must be so proud to have you as her mummy! Yes, it ached my heart too when I saw the wandering dogs on the streets while in Bangkok recently. They sure deserve the same love Maple and Muffin are receiving! On a lighter note, Kim sure looks like an intelligent pup! =)

    • Thanks, Muffin_mint, for sharing your observation of street dogs in Bangkok. Feral and abandoned dogs really do live tough lives—everyday is all about survival. Their situation is pretty heartbreaking. But then, when you encounter a happy-go-lucky pup like Kim, you feel hopeful that there can be a better future for street dogs.

  • Bassas Blog says:

    Very interesting post. We have a lot of street dogs here in Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia. Sad to see and some of them can be a nuisance or even dangerous.

  • Very cool idea about care packages. The little guy broke my heart.

  • Novroz says:

    Kim isnt Kintamani dog, is she. She looks cute. Did you see the Kintamani?? I like seeing how white they are. They kinda look like Akita with white fur.

    I’ve seen it in a TVProgram that the dogs in Bali has become too much and the goverment is trying to eutanize them. Not sure whether they really do it or not. Here in Jakarta, we see more stray cats than dogs.

    • Thanks for introducing me to the Kintamani dog breed. It’s new to me. Now that you’ve mentioned it, I think the first picture of the sleeping white dog could possibly be a Kintamani… How interesting to learn that the Kintamani has origins in Bali, Indonesia!

      Overpopulation of stray dogs, as well as cats, is an unfortunate worldwide phenomenon and Singapore has her share of issues as well. If there is a more humane way of controlling the canine and feline population without resorting to euthanasia or culling, then I think there is no reason why we ought to not move in that direction.

      • Novroz says:

        Yup…that sleeping dog is Kintamani, I couldn’t see it clearly before, I was using my mobile.

        I agree. Although I hate stray dogs because I had bad experience with stray dog, but I don’t think killing them is the best solution.

  • Wow, so many beautiful pictures! It’s so sad there are so many dogs without homes, especially since it is our job as humans to take care of them. We bred the tamer wolves to make what it now the domestic dog, robbing them of whatever survival instincts that the wolves have. They are dependent on us now and we can’t use them for the jobs they once did for us. They are pets that many people feel are disposable like a toy. Care packages for these poor dogs is such a great idea!

    • Yes, domesticated dogs are certainly living the good life and have lost touch with their instinctual defense mechanisms. The street dogs that I encountered in Bali have developed unbelievable survival skills. I observed how many were able to negotiate vehicular traffic by looking both ways before crossing the road—truly AMAZING! Our Miss Maple, on the other hand, just doesn’t understand (and probably doesn’t understand why she needs to understand) that moving automobiles are dangerous. 😯

  • bonnie says:

    sigh, I don’t like seeing stray dogs, there usuaully are sad stories…but i like your care package idea, how sweet and thoughtful

  • M.C. says:

    Wonderful spotlight on an organization that sounds like it’s doing a lot of good. Thank you. I’m always touched by how the phenomenon of street dogs inspires such charity and compassion. You can’t help but to respond to what is immediately before you… a lot of good has come out of this confrontation with suffering, in my opinion. It’s too bad that the suffering has to come first in order to awaken the impulse to help.

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