Our ‘Dog Whisperer’ is the Coolest Guy

By Elizabeth Henzell
For The Bali Times

UBUD ~ Holiday highlights usually are a great night out at a gorgeous restaurant, the beach at sunset or maybe even a fabulous shopping find, so I was not prepared for the answer when I asked my daughters, Isobella and Margaux, on the eve of Isobella’s return to Australia, what was their best holiday memory of this trip to Bali.

“Meeting Doblet when he was out walking Tiger,” they both agreed. Wayan Doblet is, in their humblest of opinions, the coolest guy they met during their holidays. His open, delightful personality is infectious and he had my girls in stitches as they accompanied him on his dog-walking exercise one afternoon last week.

They had met him as he was leading a group of dog walkers out from the office of Janice Girardi, who is co-founder of BAWA (Bali Animal Welfare Association). And what a treat when in a hillside township such as Ubud – where building construction has gone mad and the traffic is a persistent and relentless whirr – you meet a local who takes you to an area right in the centre of town which is still untouched by the progress that is happening all around.

Doblet led my girls up a narrow path between buildings to a beautiful space opening onto a ricefield with a grassed area on which dogs could play without the worry of traffic. They watch this lovely young man as he worked with all the dogs, treating them with the love and respect that all animals deserve.

If you ask Janice, she will tell you that nothing she has achieved with BAWA would have been possible without Wayan Doblet. He has been part of Janice’s life since he was not yet a toddler and is the one who Janice now calls first for help in any situation.

Who is Wayan Doblet? I asked about his title at BAWA. He is most definitely Janice’s right-hand man and her communicator, not only with the Balinese community but with most people in many situations … but a title? No, he couldn’t think of one. I asked how he came to this job, wondering if his ability with and love of dogs and all animals was innate or learned.

Doblet parent’s worked at the house of an American doctor in Ubud when Janice first came to Bali. Spending up to three months at a time at the house, Janice watched Doblet grow from the sweetest baby to the fine young man he is today – a man who has campaigned alongside her for the welfare of animals, and most particularly for Bali’s street dogs.

Not long after Janice arrived some 27 seven years ago, she adopted a little Bali dog and named her Honey. Honey became Doblet’s constant companion as Janice travelled back and forth to Bali. Honey possibly was the bond that secured the enduring friendship between Janice and Doblet. I asked Doblet if he thought he would have been such a vocal campaigner for the Bali dogs if he hadn’t met Janice. Both his mother and father loved dogs, he said, but the opportunity to work with dogs came via Janice.

After finishing high school, Doblet studied at Hospitality College, which explains his perfect English, but he didn’t enjoy working in the industry. He married at 21 and, when his first child was on the way, Janice offered him a job in the shipping department of her company. One thing led to another and every time Janice saw a sick or maimed dog, she would call Doblet. When Janice set up an animal welfare clinic in Taman, Doblet was always on hand. His job in the shipping department soon became redundant.

He does have another passion, he tells me. He is a member of the C70 club – the Honda 1970 Motorbike club. He and his friends meet every Saturday to help each other with maintaining their “vintage” bikes. He laughs, though, as he says more and more often the members have other questions for him. It would seem that many of them are turning to Doblet for information on how to care for their Bali dogs and cats.

Doblet works long hours Monday to Saturday, from 8:30am to 6pm at the headquarters of BAWA on Jl. Monkey Forest, but he possibly never clocks off. He is a champion for the rights of Bali’s street dogs. He is outspoken and is always on hand whenever someone is needed to get somewhere quickly, to get dogs vaccinated and tagged when word is out that there is a possibility of dogs being poisoned or shot due to the rabies scare. He is part of the campaign to stop the sale of dog meat by the unscrupulous people who steal dogs and transport them in bags to dog meat sellers.

Doblet reminds me of the musician who gets to work at something he really loves. It was Kismet that led Janice to Wayan Doblet and resulted in these two kindred spirits working together. Wayan Doblet is one of those rare human beings that deserve the title “Dog Whisperer.”

Please join me in celebrating Bali’s own dogs and cats and help Doblet and BAWA continue to make a difference. Please visit the BAWA website at www.bawabali.com.

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