At least twice a day every day for the past two years, we have had the very pleasurable challenge of walking a few Bali Dogs around the streets of the Banjar that we live in and although it hasn’t always been an easy task, it has and still is an amazing life changing experience. It has taken more than just a few kilometres and a lot of sweat to maintain the routine of putting paws and feet in front of each other again and again. After all that time and all those steps the paws and feet are no longer out of sync or out of stride, they are now side by side with heads held high. It has not been an experience without considerable risk and danger, but when you decide to walk with Bali Dogs on busy Bali streets what should you really expect. If any chance of successful partnering was to be even remotely possible a starting position of no expectation was the only way to face a most foreign species and environment. In the post period wash up, which in time reality has been a reasonably short span of numerical experience, so much has occurred. In terms of happenings and occurrences and the non quantifiable stuff of life layers, the time spent has been eons.
In putting Kutuh Kelod up and forward for the, “Best and Most Friendly Bali Street Dog Banjar on Bali”, we are of course a little biased in our nomination. It hasn’t been a scientific polling event or an island wide search to find a recipient for such an illustrious title, but it also hasn’t been a superficial or knee jerked put up either. A lot of canine and human legwork and collective observation has gone up down and around the place to be sure of what we are saying.
So what are we actually saying about the small Ubud hamlet up in the hills of Bali and what qualities does it have and portray that would show and prove that it meets the strict criteria required for such an honourable award to be bestowed upon it, you might ask.
Well, in the beginning, back there, just a short two years ago, it was a Banjar like most other urban Banjars, a space full of all manner of stuff, people and paraphernalia, scooters and shops, cars and ceremonies, chickens roosters and pigs and dogs. There are cats of course, but in true generalized global and Bali feline form they stay out of sight as much as possible. All of the same things are still around, except that as progress and time has walked on with us, there’s now just a whole lot more, due to the inevitability of development creep. Most of the dogs from that time have made it through and a few new born additions are back filling the void as the old and infirm die or retreat to the safety of their respective compounds. In the couple of kilometre walking range that has been our regular path and routine route, there have been at least twenty steadfast indigenous dogs and the equivalent number of foreign bred canines of differing kind.
Initially the perception of foreigners walking indigenous dogs must have been seen as an oddity, especially as at that time there weren’t others doing it. But as the days weeks and months progressed, it became gradually apparent that the patterned activity was moving incrementally toward, just being seen as part of the picture of street life. As more contact continued, more upward smiling nods ensued, more greetings were exchanged and more questions were asked, a foreign feeling of possible rejection became an all around calm consensus of local acceptance.
The local people of Kutuh Kelod showed their commitment to the welfare of their canines recently, when after a number of residents and dogs suffered a rabies attack, they were more concerned about caring and preventing than reacting and killing. As more and more dogs were brought to the Banjar hall after answering the Kulkul call, it became so very obvious that the state of dog and human relationship was very healthy indeed. As carried dogs, walked dogs, scooter riding dogs and car ferried dogs continued to arrive for vaccinations and general checkups, the people of Banjar Kutuh Kelod not only exhibited what their Banjar represents, they also proved that at least in this small community on Bali, people really do love and care for their dogs, in their very own way.