By Elizabeth Henzell
For The Bali Times
UBUD ~ After the happiest morning spent with my two Balinese sponsor children, their older brother, mother and father in Singaraja, my driver, Made Mertiasa, and I set off home. We were to drop John Widiarta, the deputy director of the Peduli Sesama Helen Flavel Foundation at the Learning Centre and then head back up the range to Ubud.
On the way into Kadek and Suka Mariani’s school, I had noticed a tiny puppy on the side of the road. So I asked Made and John to look out for it on our way out. Sure enough, there it was, this tiny, skinny, furless puppy sitting so close to the side of the road you would have thought it had a death wish. I guess it did.
Since my arrival in Bali last January I have always carried a sarong for cases such as this. It wasn’t hard to catch the puppy. So once caught and sitting comfortably, wrapped in the sarong, in my arms we headed off to find a vet in Singaraja.
With very little explanation, the vet got out two needles and administered medicine. I asked the vet if she could bury the puppy. Bury it? Why? The needles were for the skin problem and a vitamin supplement. “This is a Bali dog,” she told me. “They are tough. And, anyway,” she added, “I don’t have the necessary drugs to euthanize dogs or cats.”
Good grief, doctor, I thought to myself. Blind Freddy could see that this tiny puppy would not survive. Even with around-the-clock care it would have a snowball’s chance in hell of surviving.
So I gently placed the puppy in a cardboard box and we drove it from Singaraja to Lodtunduh to the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA), where Dr Yogi administered a drug that would see this tiny puppy suffered no longer.
I am so over the cruelty that is called “it’s not mine; therefore, it’s not my concern!”
So many people – Balinese, Bali’s expatriate community and tourists – look the other way. They don’t want to see the suffering of the Bali dogs and cats on this island because it means that they would need to do something and perhaps it is their belief that there is nothing they can do. Well, there is.
I am proud to say that five young Australians holidaying in Ubud two weeks ago did not look the other way.
Christie, Jamie-Lee, Anthony, James and Joe are fine young Australians. The boys are the tall, bronzed Aussie hero types and the girls are beautiful, fresh beauties who have no need of makeup.
I have watched and heard them having fun in the Honeymoon Guesthouse swimming pool. Not a rude or cross word from any of them. They have been a delight to have around. Yes, they love a beer and yes, that have enjoyed a few late nights. In fact, James, who is studying nursing in Melbourne, works as a DJ to pay his way through his uni course and the others are business and development students at Monash. So not your bleeding heart-, holier-than-thou-type kids. No, just your normal, full of the joie de vivre types.
How did their little rescue occur? It was Anthony who first noticed the puppy. The workers nearby told them there was a lady who cares for dogs at Honeymoon Guesthouse. Me! And as they know me, Christie came to find me while the others gave the little one water and waited with it until I arrived with said sarong and my cat cage in which to transport it to the BAWA clinic.
BAWA is full to the rafters with puppies at the moment. At every moment, really, and it’s often a worry how the clinic will cope with yet another puppy suffering skin disease and injury. But they do take in the puppies and they do care for them. And in time, they adopt the beautiful results of their labor out to caring Balinese families.
It occurred to me later, though, would they have done anything to help the puppy if they didn’t know who to contact. Isn’t it often the case that when you don’t know what to do, you are more likely to close your eyes and hope the situation will resolve itself? Can you blame people on holiday who just don’t believe there is something that they can do? I often wonder if there are tourists who come to Bali and decide never to return because they are so confronted by the state of the dogs and cats.
Well, Christie, Jamie-Lee, Anthony, James and Joe made a difference to one puppy’s life and they assured me they would have helped the puppy even if they didn’t know me.
They left Bali full of ideas of how to fund raise for BAWA. They plan to host a dance night. James will DJ free and the funds raised from the door takings will go to BAWA to help the education and sterilization program.
I am truly proud to call these very cool, young Australians my friends. They are the people we talk about when we say, “Be the change you want to see.”
So join us in the celebration of the Bali dogs and cats and do something to make a difference today. Start by checking out the BAWA website, www.bawabali.com.