Back from the Brink

instinct-doggi.jpgBy Elizabeth Henzell
For The Bali Times

Wot’s in a name? – she sez … An’ then she sighs,
An’ clasps ‘er little ‘ands, an’ rolls ‘er eyes.
“A rose,” she sez, “be any other name
Would smell the same.
Oh, w’erefore art you Romeo, young sir?”

The Sentimental Bloke by C.J. Dennis

Doggi” said Putu, when I enquired about her puppy’s name. Mmmm, this reminded me of a story.
Some friends of mine lived a little way out of a town in North Queensland, Australia. Late one afternoon a woman with her two children came to their front door to ask if they could use the phone as their car had broken down.
My friends had a ginger kitten and the children immediately started to play with it.
“What’s its name?” one of the children asked.
“Wussie,” replied my friend.
“But what’s its name?” the child repeated.
“Wussie,” said my friend once again.
“Yes,” the child whined, “we know it’s a wussie cos we have a wussie, too, but what’s its name?”
I loved this story so much I called my next kitten Wussie-too.
So when Putu said her puppy’s name was Doggi, I was tempted to say, “Yes, I know it’s a doggi but what’s its name?”
I didn’t, of course! Mr. Doggi was just about the cutest little puppy any child could want and Putu was so proud of the English name she had chosen for him.
My first meeting with Mr. Doggi was around the time Ibu Arini had told me about poor old Mr. Broni’s sore ear. Doggi would sit quietly observing Dr. Wira as he tended Broni’s ear each afternoon. I swear he was taking in the whole process.
During one visit, Ibu Arini asked me about immunizing and sterilizing Doggi. Yes, I agreed, it’s extremely important to have him vaccinated and sterilized.
What I should have said was, “Let’s organize a time now.” Dr. Wira was right there, for goodness sake, and it’s common knowledge there are so many diseases in Bali that kill puppies. But I didn’t and forgot all about it.
Early one morning about four weeks later, Ibu Arini called to me. I was shocked to hear that little Doggi had been horribly sick during the night. He had been vomiting and they thought he may have eaten something, possibly even poison. Putu had been crying and wanted her to phone me to organize a vet to come.
We decided Doggi needed to be taken to the BAWA – Bali Animal Welfare Association – clinic immediately.
Upon arrival, Dr. Annie thought he may have swallowed a bone. He would need an X-ray and it could only be done in Denpasar, at Dr. Listriani’s clinic.
The X-ray showed clear, no bone, but there was what appeared to be “gas” in his stomach. This was not a good sign in a puppy and it was agreed that he needed to be tested for canine parvovirus, a high-mortality disease that is virulently contagious between dogs.
On Sunday afternoon I took Putu back to see her little dog and they confirmed that darling little Doggi had parvovirus. I was devastated. I felt so responsible. I should have had him vaccinated when Ibu Arini had first mentioned immunization?
Dr. Annie told us his prognosis wasn’t good and that his chances of surviving were slim. But she said that we should visit him each day. Just as sick people need family around, so do animals.
So started our twice-daily visits to little Doggi in the isolation ward at the BAWA clinic.
Every morning, arriving around 7, I would sit stroking little Doggi, who by this stage was on a drip. He hadn’t eaten for three days and was painfully thin. The needle carrying the medication to fight the virus was distressing him and he had tried to rip it out. He now wore a bucket-type thing on his head to prevent it happening.
Putu and Ibu Arini would come in the afternoon around 5pm and do the same, giving his frail little body gentle strokes.
On Tuesday afternoon, Ibu Arini said she wanted to give Doggi a jamu herbal drink, a special one she would make freshly herself from young coconut water, turmeric and honey.
I asked Dr. Annie what she thought. She was happy, she said, for Ibu Arini to make it.
On Wednesday morning, Ibu Arini returned to the clinic armed with her freshly made batch of jamu and started to administer it through a dropper. Modern medicine and traditional working together.
After their Thursday afternoon visit, Ibu Arini told me there was a slight change in Doggi but I wasn’t prepared for what I encountered on Friday morning.
There is no better sign in any patient, human or animal, than when they are over the hospital stay and want out. Mr. Doggi was at his vocal best when I arrived. His sad yowls that were giving us such heartache whenever we left were now replaced with his “ahroo-roos,” not quite hitting his Pavarotti best, but indicative that he was on the mend. He was ready to convalesce at home.
Ibu Arini collected her daughters little puppy that Friday night, on her motorbike, of course. They wanted him home, too.
Doggi, that amazing little trooper, is just about the smartest dog in our street. Well, for his age. Remember, there is my handsome Mr. Broni. Oh, gosh, not to mention Felix and Oscar.
Mr. Doggi is also testament to just how special Bali dogs are – and I should also add: their loving Balinese owners.
So join me once again in celebrating Bali’s own dogs, those treasures right here in our own backyard! And immunize and sterilize and let them have a wonderfully long and healthy life alongside you.

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