By Elizabeth Henzell
For The Bali Times
UBUD ~ Every time I speak with Dr Ani, the manager of the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA) clinic at Lodtunduh, I am reminded of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s nickname, Arni. Because Dr Ani’s name is not the English pronunciation, Annie, but more like Arni. Then I am reminded of Arni’s movies, The Terminator series, and I have to laugh because that is where the similarities end.
“Where is she?” I enquired upon arrival at Lodtunduh last Sunday. “The little one with no hair that I bought in about three weeks ago.”
“Which one?” Dr Ani asked.
“You know, you know…” Big help, that answer. But I was starting to get worried. I really didn’t want to hear that she had died or been euthanized.
I started to go quickly from cage to cage, with Dr Ani following, asking again, “Which one?”
“The one with no hair!”
Well, really, that just described at least a dozen puppies at the clinic.
“You mean Blati,” Dr Ani offered.
“That’s her!” I remembered.
“But Blati’s a boy,” said Dr Ani.
“Oh, ok, but where is he?” I hadn’t been to the clinic for over a week due to a trip to Jakarta and I wanted to see the sad little bundle of bones with no hair.
“Right here,” said Dr Ani.
“No, no. That’s not him. Where is he?” Panic gripped me again.
“This is Blati.” Dr Ani’s tone was getting a little terse.
“Look,” she said, as she showed me the information sheet on Blati. “Elizabeth.” There was my name – right next to who bought Blati in. But the little black face that stared back at me now had fur and was just so much fatter. Well, not exactly fat, but healthy. In three weeks, Dr Ani and her team of vets at BAWA had turned Blati’s little life around. I apologized and spent the next 10 minutes walking around with Blati wrapped in a sarong with a little opening for his tail to poke out so he could wag it for all his heart’s content.
You see Blati is just another of Dr Ani’s success stories. And there are so many now that I have lost count. I first met Dr Ani when dear old Broni was bought in with that horrible, smelly ear infection. And then again in March this year when darling little Mr Doggi contracted Parvo virus and was so sick he almost died.
So who is this amazing vet? “Not much to tell, really,” she said. Dr Ani studied vet science at University of Udayana and since graduating has worked with Yudisthira and BAWA.
But there is so much more to Dr Ani. She says she was a good student but it was her passion for animals that was most obvious. I know this from watching her at the clinic. Every puppy she picks up, even the not-so-pretty, she calls sayang (darling). She is so gentle with them all. The hairless, the ones with disabilities, like Lupi in the photo, and little Blati. She is a fighter for every little life that comes through the gates at BAWA and when the general consensus is “It’s too hard,” Dr Ani says, “We can do it,” and another little puppy’s life is saved and then Dr Ani waits and prays for a caring person or family to come and adopt them out.
Yes, Dr Ani is a fighter. She is tough. She had to be. Her children were only 8 and 2 years of age when her husband died suddenly in 2002. She has been on her own ever since.
“Did you ever think you might marry again?” I asked. “When would I find the time?” she replied, exactly the answer I expected. Her children are now 8 and 14 years old. They live in Denpasar and she travels to the clinic to work six days a week, Monday to Saturday, from 8 in the morning until 4pm. Like most Balinese families, Dr Ani does have the extended family to help her with her children. She is proud that they will get a well-rounded religious education. Their maternal grandmother is from Java and is a follower of Islam. Dr Ani tells me that in both religions’ holy books, there are passages that talk about the importance of man caring for dogs and other animals. But Dr Ani didn’t need to be told that; it would appear it was just her instinct.
The puppy count on Friday was 40 plus. There are five puppies just over a week old that are being fed by bottle every two hours and then there are all the other puppies with their individual needs. There are the kittens, 10 this week. Some of these have also been raised from near newborn, and have survived. It’s ongoing but, I guess, you could say it’s Dr Ani’s labor of love.
In the movie The Terminator, Arni is set to exterminate the human race but the good guys used dogs to alert humans to the robotic soldiers. I think Dr Ani knows this and there is a purpose for caring for dogs and cats because we never know when we will need their instinct.
Join me once again in the celebration of the Bali’s own dogs and cats. Check out the BAWA website, www.bawabali.com, or better still come and visit and adopt a Bali puppy or kitten – or both.