Senseless Pain and Suffering

By Elizabeth Henzell
For The Bali Times


What can we tell you, Made? How much will you understand anyway? We do know that you miss your little dog, but your mind will not comprehend the how and the why, just the loss.

You certainly will not understand that your dog was killed in a manner too horrific to contemplate and for that we are, at least, in this instance, grateful of your disability. We would never want you to know the pain that Nonong went through before she died.

The outbreak of rabies in the Jimbaran Bay area would seem too far from your parents’ little farming plot to have any effect on your quiet life. So how can it be that your much-loved family pet could be poisoned and with no retribution to the coward who gave Nonong the meat laced with strychnine?

What if we told you the government condones the killing of “Bali street” dogs in this manner? You wouldn’t understand but even people without your disability cannot comprehend this dreadful directive. World Health Organisation recommendations are completely contrary to this, as they say that to effectively prevent a new outbreak of rabies, vaccinate 70 percent of all the island’s dogs.

It is often said that you never fully understand a situation until you experience it yourself firsthand.

Nonong wasn’t my dog, Made, but I saw the joy she bought to your life and so I, too, along with your parents and my friends, Carol and Patria, who also came to visit you, are sad. We are unable to tell you the reason someone would kill her because frankly, in the mind of any decent human, there can be NO reason.

Nonong was a beautiful little Bali dog. She was not yet one year old at the time she was killed by this coward, who then dumped her body at the entrance to your family’s farm. Nonong did not deserve to be killed; she never harmed anyone; and she certainly didn’t have rabies, though I doubt that was the reason behind her poisoning. And she didn’t kill chickens either, but neither of those reasons are reasons to poison your dog, Made.

*   *   *   *   *

Nonong’s story has already been told in the Instinct column as she, along with her sister, was one of the first dogs I took to BAWA – Bali Animal Welfare Association. I saw them early one morning on my walk and asked why they were so horribly thin.

Pak Nyoman Danu had been in hospital for three weeks, I was told, and his wife, Ibu Ketut Wali, wasn’t able to carry on with only Made, her intellectually handicapped son, to assist. They don’t own the land and receive only half of what they sell at the markets. This left them well short of enough money to adequately feed themselves and, of course, therefore with less food for which to feed the four dogs that lived there.

Nonong’s sister was a pretty, cream-and-white-spotted dog and as gentle as any family would want. So once she was healthy and fully immunized, she was immediately adopted out. I remember worrying about this because Nonong was so timid and since arriving at BAWA had not responded to any sort of kindness. She would eat her food quickly and then sit back in a corner, never socializing with the other dogs.

The BAWA staff decided, and quite rightly, that Nonong was not able to be adopted and the best thing would be to return her to the farm. I offered to help the family with food for their dogs. Far from a chore, my Saturday-morning walks now have me arriving at their farm to see how everything is going and to bring a bag of rice and dog biscuits once a month.

Once Nonong was back at the farm the change was immediate. Though still timid, she trusted Pak Nyoman and Ibu Ketut and would wander along with Made when he helped his parents with the farming chores.

Nonong’s other little mate was a kitten called Panther who arrived at the farm not long after her return. She was a tiny, mangy little thing who is now, thanks to the BAWA vets, a strong, healthy member of this farming family. It was a happy family but now Nonong is gone.

Ibu Ketut is sure she knows who killed Nonong and due to this she won’t have another dog and it saddens her to hear Made call out Nonong.

The majority of Bali dogs roam the streets – from Mr Doggi, Putu’s beloved Bali dog, to naughty Oski and Felix, who are part of the Honeymoon Guesthouse family, to dear old Broni, who isn’t owned by anyone but often parks his frail old frame on Ibu Arini’s verandah each night, to dear little Miss Moggi and the very handsome Kimba, who loves nothing better than a game in the street with Mr Doggi and his new little sister, Berri, and now the new kid on the block, a little black-and-white puppy – because the traditional Balinese compound is not fenced and they, like their human counterparts, are very social.

These dogs and all dogs on the island are now at risk because the Bali government has a plan to visit towns and villages until there are no dogs on the streets. They plan to inject the dogs with strychnine. This horrific poison has been banned in most countries as it causes the animal to die in excruciating pain – the way Nonong died – or to shoot dogs on the streets.

As I left Ibu Ketut and Made last Saturday, I could hear Made calling “Nonong, Nonong” and Ibu Ketut gently trying to consol him.

Please don’t let this happen to your dog or your child’s dog or any street dog.

Contact BAWA at or phone or text 081-138-9004 for the best way to petition the government to never let this happen again.

RIP, Nonong.

Filed under: Instinct

One Response to “Senseless Pain and Suffering”

  1. ymeliechki Says:

    Very good website you have here.