By Elizabeth Henzell
The news on ABC’s Just In is not pleasant. Stabbings in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne, and the sad story of a father who drowned while attempting to save his two sons and their friend from a rip on a New South Wales surf Beach is heartbreaking.
However, I read with joy the story of the family dog who has saved her owners from their burning home. The Melbourne fireman called the couple’s dog “an unusual form of smoke alarm, but a very effective one.”
Last week I also read on the website “CARE2 make a difference” about eight ordinary animals that saved their owners from death. (http://www.care2.com/greenliving/8-remarkable-animals-that-saved-peoples-lives.html)
Lulu, a pot-bellied pig, saved her owner from dying of a heart attack by rushing to the street, lying in front of oncoming traffic then rushing back to the house with people who immediately rang for an ambulance.
Mandy, farmer Noel Osborne’s goat, lay beside him for five nights after he had shattered his hip in a fall and was unable to move. She kept him warm during the cold nights and allowed him to milk her for sustenance.
Diver Yang Yun was part of a competition to hold her breath for as long as possible in a pool of beluga whales in China. The dive was running smoothly until she tried to move her legs and they wouldn’t. Mila, one of the beluga whales, came to her rescue. She sensed something was wrong and immediately swam to the drowning diver, took Yun’s leg in her mouth and lifted her to the surface to breathe, saving her life. There is a photo of this rescue. It is amazing.
The other stories include a dog (of course!) and a horse, a gorilla, that wonderful story of the little girl, Amber Mason, who was eight years old when she was saved by a four-year-old elephant during the 2004 tsunami, and finally about the dolphins that saved a surfer from a shark attack.
These are wonderful stories that are worth a read.
However, the story of my elderly friend, Bapak Wayan Suwece, is from the human perspective. Bapak is not a young man and he has had his share of major medical problems, having suffered a stroke five years ago. The stroke made him re-evaluate his life and he has been taking better care of himself lately. Bapak Wayan Suwece has always loved his Bali dogs, ever since he was a young boy, he told me, and he has passed his love of dogs on to his daughter-in-law, Ibu Arini, and his grand-daughter, Putu.
Each morning Bapak Wayan goes for a walk and Beri, Putu’s sweet little Bali dog, is his constant companion on his walk down to the Tjampuhan River, where he bathes and offers his thanks to the gods for giving him a second chance at this life. On the way back Bapak Wayan will stop and talk with his friends and Beri, like all self-sufficient Bali dogs, sniffs around for those extra titbits. She certainly doesn’t need to because Ibu Arini has a wonderful little warung that serves the most delicious food and Beri, Mr Dogi, The Doorman and a couple of other local dogs always get delicious leftovers and, as I have recently found out, they are all addicted to the Bakso sellers wares and line up just like the other residents on Jl Bisma when they hear his tune.
However, Beri still checks out what is on offer when out on these walks and a couple of weeks ago she got more that she bargained for. Within seconds she was vomiting and then she fell paralysed. Bapak Wayan is not young – I mentioned this already, I know – but if you can imagine a man who has suffered a stroke and shuffles along at best being faced with the horror of his granddaughter’s precious little dog dying from a poison bait, you will get the picture.
He picked her up and with strength he did not know he possessed and carried her up the hill and to his home, where he sent a message to me to ring BAWA – Bali Animal Welfare Association. This was all before 6am in the morning. I made the call to BAWA and also my friend, Made, as the BAWA van was unable to get to us immediately. We were all frantic.
By time the BAWA van arrived Beri has just lying with saliva dripping from her mouth. The vet gave her an injection that neutralised the poison and she slowly started to gain movement in her limbs. Bapak Wayan Suwece had saved her life.
Early morning last week I had to make a call to BAWA again as I had passed a dead dog in front of Ganesha Bookshop on Jl Raya. It was a good-looking white male dog with the orange collar that indicates it had been vaccinated against rabies. Then not 20 metres past it there was another dog, this time a female black-and-white, still alive and in the same condition as Beri, paralysed and salivating, with fear in her eyes. I rang BAWA and they came out to give the injection that would save this dog’s life.
How do we stop these people who indiscriminately distribute poison baits for Bali dogs without any fear of retribution? Feed them the same poison and let them live through the fear before giving them the injection that neutralises the poison would be my suggestion. But umm… that’s possibly illegal!
So please donate to BAWA to ensure they have the vans well serviced and the medicines available to counter these horrible people’s poison. Ring BAWA 0361-977217 or visit their website, www.bawabali.com, and be part of what is good in this society.