Farewell, With a Fine Accent and a Positive Instinct

By Elizabeth Henzell

To my readers: This is my last Instinct column for The Bali Times. It’s been great fun writing about the dogs and cats of Bali but it’s time to take a break. – Elizabeth Henzell

The accent gets me every time. I love it. It is that wonderful English accent that is so recognisably from the north of England, the one that most people try to mimic without success and invariably the owner of this lovely accent will say “England” when asked where they are from. I can’t help but chuckle.

Where in England? Manchester, they’ll say!  I was in love with a handsome Englishman from Manchester many years ago who said on the first evening that we met, “You’re ever so lovely.” I swear if he’d then said “marry me” I would have, just to have woken up to that gorgeous accent every morning!

This lovely couple is Lauren and Andy and they’ve been travelling throughout Southeast Asia for the past seven months. They had decided that during their week in Bali they would do something “constructive.” Lauren had heard about BAWA – the Bali Animal Welfare Association – and looked them up on the internet, made contact and offered to volunteer.

How many visitors to this fair isle would spend their entire week tending homeless puppies and kittens and walking the older dogs at BAWA? Lauren and Andy have and they have loved it. I am impressed with more than just their gorgeous accents.

I met them when visiting Wayan and Kadek, two young Balinese men who work at BAWA in the kitten section. They are relatives of friends of mine who work for BAWA solely as kitten carers.

It’s funny how things turn out. Wayan and Kadek first applied to work at BAWA when due to the lack of extra funds jobs weren’t available. The ongoing rabies problem had been using up most of this. However, about a week later I received a call to see if I could take care of three tiny kittens that needed three to four hourly feeding. Of course I would try but after one night of sleep deprivation I had to confess I wasn’t doing a great job.

What to do? That’s when it occurred to me that Wayan and Kadek both had the time and the desire to care for these tiny kittens but needed supervision. I rang BAWA and they agreed to take the kittens and their vets would supervise Wayan and Kadek caring for the kittens – an “on the job training” of sorts. Of course, they would need wages, so a friend of mine in Australia offered to take care of that. Good things can happen with a little effort and some major generosity!

Over the past 18 months I have paraded my friends and their Bali dogs and cats across these pages. I started with Mr Broni, that wonderful Bali dog with the lopsided lip, who died last year leaving a void in my life but many treasured memories in words and pictures. About a month after he died another white dog turned up on Jl Bisma, Ubud.

Ibu Arini, my fellow dog-loving friend who has the warung at the top of the street, didn’t mind this new dog who easily made friends with Mr Dogi, little Beri and the other Jl Bisma dogs. She was happy to feed him the leftovers and I won his heart with the liver treats I carry. He found his way to my terrace and took up residence in front of my door, thus gaining the title The Doorman and being featured in many of my Instinct articles.

It has been fun telling these stories and seeing them in print but the most important message I hope I have passed on is that Bali’s own dogs and cats are worth treasuring. I hope you will.

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