The Bali Street Dog is a conglomeration of all things Bali, in one package. A Bali Street Dog wants very little from you, as a sentient entity it is of course a complex being wrapped up in fur, but its wants are minimal for its very survival, it has certainly proved that over eons.
The needs of a Bali Street Dog are a very different level of conversation, indeed a momentum of spiraling opportunity on an upward scale of comfort, not unlike anything that searches for, seeks out and if possible when the conditions are present attains a higher status of supposedly comfort criteria.
But let’s not forget, please never forget that Bali Street Dogs are Bali Dogs that live on Island Bali, they are not breed specific dogs, they are feral by nature and hopefully always will be, they are the dog of all dogs, a unique species that live in and on, in isolation on and in a rapidly changing environment.
So what do Bali Street Dogs really want from you?
It and they want and need to be free from premeditated harm and cruelty, to be given space and time to roam and to live in safety.
But most importantly they are a part of Island life and like everything else on planet Bali they want and need a purpose and a routine to make their lives meaningful.
It’s as simple as that.
Japano who was once upon a time named Kachero, a Bali Street Dog who resided with a pack of fellow Bali Street Dogs and a Japanese man. They were eight in total canine wise and one human who was their guardian, a family if you like, a grouping who lived together for an extended period of symbiotic time and duration.
Kachero who came to be Japano, lived to all intensive purposes an idyllic life, an existence that saw her and her family live a harmonious and holistic day by day routine of security and safety, on a level that suited all concerned.
The Japanese man died suddenly, leaving his dogs alone with him in death, all that was together in one moment, was obliterated in another momentous flash. Everything that was known, was relied upon and was routinely mapped, was gone and would never return to normal.
For any Human who has experienced those stratospheric, exquisitely precise and core shattering experiences of unbelievable levels of loss, the effect on bodily systems and emotional stability are razor sharp torment tipped splinters of ongoing hellish realm states, realities at levels unimaginable in intensity and duration, especially when compared to those everyday ongoing and usually unnoticed passing and flowing passages of lower level loss.
Each and every sentient being will react in their individual and unique way to such ‘special’ loss and Japano had lost the most special big ticket items and things of all, stability, security, surety.
What a proud brindle Bali Street Dog was about to undergo and be subjected to was no different to what every sentient being experiences and even though she was just a dog, stress at that level would manifest itself in drastic and pitiful ways. The effect that would consume, infect and affect her complete being would mirror reactions that humans also show, when faced with the greatest challenge life can throw.
Evicted, netted, dragged and relocated from absolutely everything she had ever known, was just the first salvo of physical suffering, so much more was to follow. Her heart, soul and mind would be the forgotten elements in a terror filled and tormented life, an existence that was to become her new normal and excruciating now life.
Retreating and hiding and avoiding and repelling and shaking and shivering and submitting and dying. Six of her canine family had already died in the violent throws of heartbreaking grand mal seizures; Japano was soon to follow on the synaptic twisting, spine snapping roller coaster of suffering.
In grief everything dies to make way for new beginnings and life readjusts adapts and goes on. But there is extreme grief, heart and mind breaking stuff from which there is no return. Japano had reached such a place and state, she had lost everything and when the seizures arrived, it would have been so very right for what had become of her emaciated body and mad mind to just give in, give up and just die, it would have been a blessed relief.
What was left after her life had been shredded up, torn apart and cast away, was a twitching and terrified shell of rattling and growling and snarling insanity. She had survived what the rest had not, a truly strong striped Bali Street Dog. But the damage was extreme, unsteady and with ongoing mini convulsive episodes that rippled bodily along her right side from head to paw, euthanasia awaited to finally end her suffering.
Japano who once upon a time in another life was known as Kachero, a strong Bali Street Dog who had a life and family taken brutally away is still alive today. Thanks to an incredibly perceptive and dedicated Doctor of Veterinary science and the amazing intuitive heart and mind skills of a beautiful and patient individual, Japano was given a last minute green dream reprieve, two humans and one dog decided to try one and very last time.
Japano is still fondly referred to as twisted sister, she doesn’t twitch and twerk anymore, except on those occasions when she is extremely happy, most times now. Japano now sleeps outstretched and deep, lays in long and wakes without a start.
Japano now has a mind at peace, a still and restful place, a state where fear is not a factor in her life anymore, she is free. Thank you so very much to Dr Kadek and Briedhe for the fact that you never gave up on what you saw and for what you knew on a much deeper level.
Eating dog is a subject that will always spur outrage and often abuse when it is posted about on social media sites. Animal lovers and in particular dog lovers seem to take particular umbrage to man’s best friend being reduced to nothing more than a satay or snack.
The subject of eating dog meat in Bali seems to incur even more outrage from outsiders and expats than from those within. Understandable, but when you really think about it – it deserves no more of our outrage than any other cruel and inhumane slaughter of any sentient being for the purpose of filling the human belly.
We are in no way experts about Balinese culture and do not for one moment purport to be such. However, we have spent a long time living, working and being with Balinese people and their Bali dogs. What we have learned about the custom of eating dog has taught us much. It has shown us that it is an incredibly cruel and sadistic practice. We have been horrified and reduced to tears on more than one occasion.
The first step to making any judgment on any practice is to be informed.
Balinese people have eaten dog for ceremonial purposes since time immemorial. The practice of sacrificing a 'blang bungkem' dog for ceremonial purposes usually ends with the community partaking of the dogs flesh. This is normal and a traditional part of Balinese life.
Within Indonesia eating dog as a source of protein is common and long standing. Dog meat Warungs are named RW, which is short for rintek wuuk which is literally translated to mean ‘soft fur’.
The dog meat trade in Bali is well organized and established. Suppliers have an established route and deliver to RW’s around the island on designated days of the week. Supply equals demand with some RW operators receiving 5 – 7 dogs a day, some only 3 a week.
The dogs are obtained from local communities; there is no active ‘farming’ of dogs in Bali. Anecdotal evidence does point to some backyard farmers in the more urban areas, but this has not been proven.
Dogs are purchased or exchanged from communities or individuals who deem them to be a problem. The monetary figures are not high; dogs are sold or traded for as little as a bucket or a bowl. There is not a great deal of money to be made in providing dogs for consumption. The communities see it as a way of getting something for very little effort; in fact they feel they are doing a community service by ridding their community of a problem. The real money comes from the selling of the end product. The average RW owner can make up to 600,000 INR on each dog’s body. The average dog meat meal will sell for 20,000.00 INR which is substantially more than the normal rice and chicken meal.
Why do people eat dog meat? Some just do as it seen as a good source of protein for their families. And they are correct. Dog meat contains more protein that chicken or tofu. Others eat is because of its perceived medicinal value, this may be based in superstition, but it is very real for them. We have also learned that the younger generation of Balinese males, tend to trend towards dog meat because it is a ‘hot meat’; it will make you potent and is generally best eaten after a night of drinking.
Some dogs are stolen for dog meat, but this appears to be more opportunistic and is usually done at a deeper Banjar level than people are aware of. The trade is too well organized to rely upon opportunistic stealing of people’s pets for food. This is not to say that a well fed and fat healthy Bali dog may not fall prey to the dog meat traders. People do need to be aware of their dog’s whereabouts all the time. It can, and does happen.
The method of transporting the dogs is horrific. They are hog tied with tape tied tightly around their muzzles and legs and are often placed in sacks to prohibit movement. Sometimes great piles of dogs are tossed on top of buses in order to transport them great distances. At other times they are harnessed by a metal lasso and dragged slowly behind the back of a motor bike to their final destination. But not killed, the slaughter must be saved until later.
The slaughter is more than words can describe. Dogs are strangled, slowly. They have their limbs cut off whilst they are alive, they are skinned alive, they have butchers hooks poked through the top of their muzzle so they cannot move and then their limbs are removed. All the while the other dogs, hog tied and rendered immobile watch on. Anyone who knows anything about dogs will know that the waiting dogs know exactly what is happening and exactly what is about to happen to them. It is completely and utterly disgusting and it rips your very soul out to witness the act. The cruelty imposed on the dogs of Bali, that are chosen for the dog meat trade, is shocking even in comparison to the dogs who are farmed for the same purpose in places like China and South Korea. Why this degree of deliberate cruelty? Because it increases the ‘hotness’ of the meat.
There is probably no need to reinforce the reality of what happens to these dogs, but we have seen dogs that are waiting, hog tied and heaped together, having just witnessed their fellow captives being murdered in the most horrific way. They wag their tails at the slaughter man as he approaches them.
We would dare the most hardened carnivore to not be moved by that sight.
Once they are dead the suffering ends, thank god. Their carcasses are soaked (dog meat is tough) and then they are turned into stew, soup or satay.
There is little to no thought given to the diseases that can be spread by slaughtering and then ingesting dog. Although there is one regency within Bali that has refused to allow RW to operate within its boundaries since the outbreak of rabies in 2008. Smart regency that one.
Balinese people, in the main, will not eat Breed Dogs. They are seen as a status symbol and a creature of value. Although there are Warungs in existence that do cater for the ‘extreme foodies’ and tourists can order ahead for a pit bull or other such breed that will greatly improve their man hood.
In closing we pose the question – have you ever heard a pig being slaughtered for a ceremony or a feast? Its screams of pain and terror are no different to the fear and pain experienced by a Bali Dog who is about to be made into a Satay.
Before you cast judgment, think about it. If you are fortunate enough to live on Bali and share your home with a Bali Dog or two – make sure you know where they are at all times.
Having lived in Indonesia, on the Island of Bali, amongst a community of people within a Banjar, located at the not so small anymore rural hilltop place named Ubud, at the end of a narrow gang or laneway, with three damaged albeit recovered and rehabilitated Bali Street Dogs, has been an experience of proportion only surpassed by residing in India, a sensory experience of 360 degree immersion.
Living anywhere as a non local, as a foreigner, as an expatriate or as a Bule, as is the ‘fond’ term and preferred label reserved for us lot on Bali, is certainly not always an easy stroll down the reality path of daily existence in the layered life of island time.
But by God, whatever God or Gods you believe in or not, it has been a time of life within a lifetime of pleasure, pain and everything in between, honestly. Absolutely nothing bad has happened, even when bad things were perceived to have occurred, they were in hindsight seen clearly as misconceptions, reactions to clumsy perceptive actions on both sides, in a place where things are just done differently.
It was The Bali Street Dogs that nearly broke the back in those early days weeks and months and it was The Bali Street Dogs that finally broke the ice, or on this equatorial located zone, the rising suspicion of humidity and for that and to them, we will forever be indebted and humbly thankful.
The Banjar of Kutuh Kelod and its people have undoubtedly been our biggest critics and are now are greatest support network, earning their respect has been no different to the diligent work required in order to also be accepted by the standards of The Bali Street Dog. The foolish and the false are readily seen through and are not to be suffered; there is certainly enough of that to go around already.
Bali is not a paradise and Bali people are not struck and imbued with the fragrant palm leaf of human kindness, to think otherwise is stupid and arrogant. Struggle and worry and stress are a universal malaise and a reality of inescapable and growing proportion, for everyone. In that, at least we have found that we are no different, at all.
Doing no harm, being open and honest, assisting were possible and being humble and respectful, has seemed to quell whatever fear and suspicion about yet another flying in foreigner understandably instills. It also seemed to be the right attitude when working with and living our lives with The Bali Street Dog, a unique and amazing canine, truly the dog of all dogs.
Thank you warmly from our open hearts. It has, it is and always will be a pleasure to spend our time with you.
That most difficult of selfless terminology, a proactive movement of ‘simply letting go’. An action of expansion that is so very painful for the human species. The very thought of planning to succeed in what you have created is what underpins such mammoth occupations like parenthood, working yourself out of a job and stepping aside when you’re done doing what you do.
However you must be secure with and within your own fallibility and have a deep awareness of your position in the scheme of things. A conscious and constant reassessment of position that will enable the very thought of releasing what you have born bred and nurtured into an actionable outcome. A realization that everything you have started is now ready and able to stretch the bonds of connection, to stand on its own and go forward, instead of sentencing it to being forever in bondage to its founder.
The Bali Street Dog is an eminently durable survivor but like all things with a nervous system attached to a conscious reality of past present and future, they are also prone to the impacts of outside stimuli and forces, both nurturing and nefarious. The Bali Street Dog naturally engages in succession planning by their very connectedness, on a moment by moment mindset to and with nature. They don’t ruminate, perseverate, castigate or any other type of ‘ate’ on holding on to whatever is gone or what might be, their success is already in their fully immersed and engaged reality of a here and now focus.
Rescuing, rehabilitating, reforming and re homing a sentient being is a labor of love, discipline and routine. Damaged beings are broken and bruised, frightened and fragile, but they are certainly not ready to be dead and buried. Their very trauma can be a catalyst in assuring a more resilient and stronger future, if they can be given and awarded some planned assistance to succeed.
To succeed in planning is already a step forward, how that success turns out and whether it is in the best interests, is an unwinnable argument. But the reality is that letting go is not negotiable, it’s the option to see things as they are or to crush things into the way you believe they must be.
The Bali Street Dogs have taught us, that by just working with and within what life reality is, in all its manifestations and by adapting constantly to life moments and movements, the chance of planned success is already always there, in this present moment.
What do I own and what do you own, what does anybody really own?
As endless a debatable question as any philosophical query can be, especially when it’s very murmur is a risky exploration into the unfathomable depths to which humanity will plunge. A whirlpool of spinning frenzy and an unquenchable desire to own, consume and possess material things, of all manner and matter.
Personally, I own nothing and that is how I perceive my own reality to be. I believe that everything is finite, a mere becoming, being and going. A constant movement and change that is impossible to hold onto and possess, a reality that when challenged has a propensity to create suffering, due to a static suffering of understandable insecure selfishness.
The creators of this website have very recently been made aware of accusations regarding some photographs on the gallery. This website was a genuine attempt to share what we have learned about The Bali Street Dog and its unique and ever changing place within an equally unique and ever changing culture. We do not regard this site as a possession or a frame to display our ego. It is not a gilded cage to show off our plumage. It is nothing more than an attempt to hand back and to pay forward what has, is and always will be a lifelong honor and commitment to The Bali Street Dog and the Bali people for what they taught us.
The Bali Street Dog was and is the focus of this website and it was hoped that it didn’t really matter from where and how information was drawn, as long as it was used to benefit The Bali Street Dog and ensure its continued survival, as they and their parallel human partners endure rapid upheaval and change.
Alas, it would appear that not everyone who espouses to be doing anything and everything possible to protect promote and preserve the wellbeing of The Bali Street Dog are unconditionally genuine and that is very sad.