Walk on the Mild Side

Walk on the Mild Side

By Elizabeth Henzell
For The Bali Times

UBUD ~ Have you been goosed? This is an expression I thought was common amongst Australians but when I said “Jagawa must be part German Shepherd” the other morning, my friend and walking partner Janet De Neefe asked “Why?”

“Because he is a gooser!” I replied, but she was none the wiser.

Out on our walk early the other morning, we had turned off Jl. Raya Ubud and headed up Jl. Kajeng. This beautiful little street takes you through to one of the ricefield walks which then leads you to Sari Organik. More about Sari Organik later – I am still explaining the goosing bit. This walk is superb and especially in the morning, so I was totally away with the pixies when I was “goosed” from behind. I knew the culprit without even having to turn around as this wasn’t the first time. “So that’s being goosed!” laughed Janet.

Jagawa is a Kintamani dog who belongs to Jessie, the delightful son of Oded and adopted son of Nilawati who own Sari Organik, which is set in the ricefields and has breathtaking views across to the Tjamphuhan ridge and all the surrounding ricefields.

So many people had suggested to take the walk through the ricefields and then stop for breakfast at Sari Organik. I’m a serious walker and I had visions of this being a stroll along the little “medium strips” that run between the ricefields. Not so! The walk to Sari Organik can be accessed via Jl. Kajeng or Jl. Suweta and the ricefields actually have well-trodden footpaths; so by the time you reach Sari Organik, you have worked up an appetite and are well deserved of the delicious breakfasts served there.

However, what really got my attention on my first walk some time ago was meeting this handsome young man whose face is the picture of health and happiness. Jessie was playing with Jagawa on the path outside the restaurant and I stopped to talk with him.

“What’s his name?” is always my first question when meeting dogs with their owners. I love to say the dog’s name to see their recognition. However, when Jessie said “Jagawa,” I mistook it for Jaguar. You would too, you know, as the pronunciation is similar, but there is no mistaking Jagawa for a jaguar as Jagawa is pure white. I was completely flummoxed! How did you come up with that name? A joke, I suggested, as with the Australian sense of humour calling a man who towers over you “shorty”?

“No joke,” replied Jessie. “Jagawa is a jaga warung, and when he is at home, he is Jagaru, jaga rumah!” Of course: the restaurant and home security guard. Jessie’s eyes sparkled as he tousled Jagawa’s white ears.

Nilawati – or Nila as she is affectionately called – is also from Kintamani. Jagawa has the gentle nature of the Kintamani breed which, I believe, are descendant from the Chow Chow and he sports the black-spotted tongue and the curly tail synonymous with this breed of dog. He loves me – or my special liver treats – and gives me lots of attention each time I arrive at Sari Organik. It’s amazing how a dog can make you feel. No – I don’t mean the goosing bit!

Last Saturday morning I arrived, finally with camera in tow, to take photos of Jessie with Jagawa. Jessie had a couple of friends visiting. They all had dogs, they told me, and then one of the boys remembered me. “I met you at BAWA one Sunday with my dad,” he recalled, referring to the Bali Animal Welfare Association.

I remembered him. He and his brother were there to pick up their pound puppy – actually I think it was two. You know this makes me happy. I’m sure his family could afford to buy a dog, but when you see the beautiful little Bali dogs all desperate for a loving family, I just don’t understand the attitude of so many on this island that is: “No, we don’t like Bali dogs!”

“What is that?” says Janice Girardi, founder of BAWA, who hears of friends in the community importing foreign breeds. A trip to BAWA to see the puppies would surely change these people attitudes. Don’t you remember the first time you looked down at your new baby? It is the same – honest. I swear my son looked like ET, but I loved him and loved him even more as he grew up. Well, he’s a gorgeous 6’3” now – but who would have known back then? A Bali dog with the same love and attention will give you back that love and more.

After spending a delightful Saturday morning at Sari Organik, I then spent Sunday at BAWA. The puppy numbers have grown and there are still dogs there who should have long ago been placed with loving families. Gympi – I want to call her Gilli – is one such dog. She had her leg amputated a few months back when it was realised it could not be saved.

Please consider this beautiful Bali dog if you want unconditional love in return for somewhere dry to sleep and two meals a day. Oh, and Gympi loves a walk in the ricefields too.

BAWA needs your support. Please adopt a puppy or make a donation. Ring Christine – 0361 981490 – and take a look at their website, www.bawabali.com

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