Dogs Gone Wild

By Amy Chavez

For The Bali Times

I smile when I see a dog with a collar. It means he’s loved, and spoken for. Putting a collar on your dog is like slipping a big leather wedding band on him: Till death do us part. And why is it so much easier to stay loyal to a dog?

It was a dog with a collar that caught my attention on Kuta Beach the other day. He was just a puppy, about six months old. His owner, an 8-year-old boy, had buried the end of the pup’s leash in the sand while he went to play with his friends in the surf. The pup was grounded, not having enough puppy strength to pull the leash out of the sand and not enough doggone sense to just dig it up. The pup sat patiently waiting for his owner.

Then came along a dog without a collar. He was a Kuta Beach Dog, the type that spends its days digging holes in the sand and peeing into them. In between digging those kinds of holes, he spends his time sniffing the random doggie behind. Face it, these dogs spend a lot of time peddling sex on the beach. You know what I’m talking about. Even if you’ve never been to Kuta Beach, you’ve surely seen these dogs doing it in the street.

Bali dogs are always doing it in the streets. They go at it so eagerly, in front of throngs of shoppers on the sidewalks or along the side of the street during traffic jams. You’ve probably had to pry your eyes away from watching them — these dogs really get stuck into it, so much so that sometimes they can’t get unstuck. I’ve never seen so many dogs doing it outside of Bali. Bali has this effect on dogs.

It is said that in some parts of Bali, dog is a delicacy and is considered an aphrodisiac. It’s easy to see why they would think this. And with an estimated 600,000 street dogs in Bali, that’s a possible 300,000 pairs having sex at one time. A love-in.

Why do you think foreigners always have their dogs on leashes? It’s a form of birth control. And they’re also teaching their dogs restraint.

“Heel, Fido!” But look at them all! I could have any one of them I want. A kiss, sniff, and a snort – she’s mine!

“No, Fido!”

Meanwhile, the puppy on the beach is being pursued by the older male dog without a collar. Playful puppy innocence is translated by the adult dog as genuine interest and the older dog starts to hump her.

“Ah, c’mon!” I’m thinking, “Let’s not go there.” I get out my cellphone ready to call the Bali Animal Welfare Association’s hotline and ambulance. After all, they offer free services for street dogs, and I have a feeling one of these dogs is going to need some counseling and maybe even an abortion by the time this is over.

The adult dog is relentless. In addition to being a petophile, he has obviously seen a few blue movies and just couldn’t resist a young dog in a leather collar and a chain. Forget puppy love; this is puppy porn. Perhaps I should call the Bali Dog Adoption Rehab Centre instead.

Suddenly a girl walks over to the dogs and sits down next to them to get a closer look. I notice a guy standing nearby getting the whole thing on his cellphone camera. Sickos. Maybe they are the ones who should go to the centre.

You almost had a feeling the dog was enjoying the audience. I’ve seen many a photo shoot on Kuta Beach for magazines and videos. Maybe I was witnessing something that would soon appear on the black market, being sold to the cellphone crowd. And these dogs are just doing it in exchange for food scraps and a little bit of attention.

It all seems more and more likely when you realize the Balinese feel that dogs are criminals who have been reincarnated. Many criminals make a living on the black market, so why would that change once they come back to life as dogs? This belief that humans can change, or be changed, into dogs is one reason the Balinese don’t kill off the stray, homeless dogs. Furthermore, says my Indonesian friend, “We cannot take an animal’s life if it has fangs or claws.”

The Balinese believe in a balance of opposites, such as light and dark, or as represented in black-and-white checkered cloth. Although the gods will not let evil triumph over good, we still must maintain this balance of good and evil.

Thought of in this context, I suppose there is nothing wrong with stray mongrels roaming the streets of Bali, living on handouts and humping each other on Kuta Beach. They’re just doing it their way: doggie style.

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