Linda Buller is an artist, acupuncturist and – above all – a passionate dog lover, so much so that she opened the Bali Adoption Rehab Center for abandoned canines, in Ubud, where about 45 of them currently reside. The 50-year-old mother of one who is divorced from her Javanese husband shared her day with The Bali Times’ Arga Sagitarini

I usually begin my day at 8.30am, or sometimes at 10am, if I have stayed up late painting. I have bread and two cups of coffee for breakfast and I like to have a little morning chat with my 10 dogs. It might seem odd but I feel they understand me better than humans do; they make my feel secure and so they are very special to me. I feed the dogs dry food mixed with rice and sometimes I give them special dog biscuits that contain soya beans and other nutritious ingredients. I produce the biscuits myself with two of my workers and sell them in shops, including Bali Buddha.

At 10am I head to the shelter. Running it is not an easy job. Many people bring us homeless dogs that they have found without trying to find the owners first. We have a big problem at the moment as we are running out of space in the shelter and, as the building is not finished yet, things can get a little hectic. Once the building is finished, we will have more room, which means we will be able to accommodate more dogs. At the moment, though, I still need help with the building work.

Right now I’m not able to feed as many homeless dogs as I would like as I’m trying to focus on the dogs in the shelter instead. Occasionally I don’t have time for lunch, but I try to have it around 2pm. I usually have Padang food, which is delicious and doesn’t cost very much, which helps our financial situation.

We are very lucky as people donate things like food and medicine to us, and we have a very kind woman who has helped with renting the shelter. When my father became ill, I began studying Chinese acupuncture at Melbourne University. He passed away before I could put my knowledge to use but I still practice it on the dogs, to treat their illnesses. I think it is more effective than modern medicines used by doctors nowadays.

I fell in love with Bali when I first came here in 1986, and I became an Indonesian citizen seven years ago. There are so many beautiful things here in Bali, but the way that the dogs are treated is not one of them. Many dogs are suffering on the island and I worry about them, especially the bitches. It hurts me to see such bad things happen to these loving animals. I once saw a dog injured in the head so badly that I could see the brain. It made me think that there ought to be a place where dogs could be treated, looked after and given lots of love and care. So last October, with lots of help from friends, I opened the dog shelter.

Around 6pm I go home to my house in Taman village in Ubud. In the evenings I take a shower, feed my dogs and usually go to an internet café to check my emails. If I haven’t had too much of a tiring day, I paint as much as I can, sometimes until as late as 2am. I mostly paint abstract pieces about people, Bali and Indonesia and I have shown my work in exhibitions in several galleries.

Dogs are such loving animals and they seem to love us no matter how badly we treat them. I think people take advantage of this and believe they can treat dogs however they like, but still enjoy the affection and loyalty that they give away so freely. I always say to people that want to adopt my dogs that, unless they can truly love and care for the dog, they shouldn’t bother adopting at all. I want to set up my own clinic that can offer affordable care for financially disadvantaged people, to help them learn how to look after their dog and understand the importance of its health and hygiene.

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