Oh, So You Love Little, Cute Puppies and Kittens. Really?

By Elizabeth Henzell
For The Bali Times

UBUD ~ Sunday, May 3: The saddest little brown eyes stared back at me from a distinctive Dalmatian face. This little pedigree puppy had just been brought in to the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA) clinic. Its owners were distressed because it wouldn’t eat, and it was so thin its bones were visible. They had had it just two weeks after buying it at the animal market in Denpasar. Yes, a Dalmatian.

Dr. Yogo asks about immunisation? None. Food? Whatever they are having.

The owners aren’t bad people. They love their little Dalmatian and they will be very sad when it dies because its chance of surviving now, without all the proper care that it should have had already, are slim. It breaks my heart to watch this. Where are the laws that put a stop to this hideous trade?

In The Bali Times, in the One Day … in My Life column on April 4 last year, a young woman said that “Breeding is a profitable business.” She owns a pet shop and the first line of the article went: “I wake up at 8am. The first thing I do is feed my kittens and cats before heading to the pet shop.”

She goes on to say that at her pet shop there are 24 other kittens and cats that need to be feed. I calculate that if she gets up at 8, feeds her cats, then I am sure she would need to bathe and then eat herself, so I doubt she would actually make it to the shop before 10am. She does mention that she has two staff and “during the week” she helps them to feed and groom the Kintamani and Pit Bull mix, three Golden Retrievers, one Chihuahua and a Pomeranian and 24 other cats!

Friends of mine walked past this pet shop in December last year and were horrified to see the state of the animals inside at 8:30 in the morning. The shop was not attended and the animals were distressed from the heat and still being locked up, even at that time of the morning.

Our young lady mentions that she breeds Persian and Himalayan cats. This, she says, is where the profits are made and that, at the time of this article, she also had a male and female Golden Retriever, which she was considering to breed. It is because, she goes on to say, because people love kittens and puppies.

Back at BAWA and this last Sunday there were still in excess of 50 puppies and five kittens, many that were far too young not to be with their mothers. I wonder where all these people are that love kittens and puppies. These are Bali’s own kittens and puppies and many do not survive, but the BAWA staff work tirelessly and this is a 24-hour-attended clinic funded by donations. How wonderful if this was a profitable business and people came and saw just how beautiful these puppies and kittens are and that with the right love and care they will grow into wonderful companion animals just like any other breed. Just like children, I can’t help thinking!

Each Sunday my two little friends, Putu and Putu, come along to help at BAWA. It is a wonderful way for them to learn English and also about animal care. I met both girls through their own dogs.

Putu, the older of the girls, has Mr. Dogi, the smartest dog in Jl. Bisma. She screws up her face at me when I tell her she spoils him. Not her, she says, but her mother, Ibu Arini. They now have another puppy, Berri, the cutest little black puppy that has already joined the gang in the street, who seem to do nothing more than play, eat and sleep all day long.

They are all so healthy, with thick, shiny fur and, some might say, Mr. Dogi, is a little fat!

The gang consists of Mr Dogi, Miss Mogi, Berri and Simba, who comes from around the corner and now a tiny white puppy that Putu tells me has been named Miss Pogi! I wonder what dear Mr. Shakespeare would think. “What’s in a name? …. a rose – by any other name would smell as sweet.”

The other Putu’s dog, on the other hand, is a quiet dog that spends her time near their modest home and doesn’t venture very far. There are no other houses near theirs and perhaps due to this no other dogs; but I wonder anyway, that even if there were, if Kidang, Putu’s beautiful Whippet-looking Bali dog, would want to join their company. Kidang is a shy dog who wandered into Putu’s place a couple of years ago and as they feed her she stayed. Interestingly, Kidang has remained thin even though she now has a good diet – which goes to prove that dogs, like humans, are different in every way.

It is nearly a year now since the girls started coming to BAWA to help and to study English. They have now been joined by Lily, the daughter of my friend Sarah, who also loves her Sundays at BAWA. These girls are making a difference to the lives of the Bali puppies and kittens at BAWA, even if it’s only for three hours each Sunday.

It would be wonderful if this were a profitable business, but it’s not, and therefore all the beautiful little Bali puppies and kittens are in desperate need of your help.

Please visit the BAWA website, www.bawabali.com, and consider volunteering one Sunday or making a donation. Bali’s own dogs and cats need your help.

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