It’s inevitable, given such extreme emotionally charged energy levels involved in the welfare arena, that an eventual removal and on many occasions a rapid withdrawal of most participants will occur. For those few who last the longest in this endless game of heartbreak the emotional scarring and subsequent damage is not that difficult to imagine.
Bali is no different at all when it comes to what shocks dismays and destroys the minds and souls of a rapidly growing number of caring individuals with a desire to save the Islands community canine. Torture, neglect and a whole host of uncaring actions doesn’t stop as you enter tropical island airspace and unfortunately years of marketing has portrayed a whole population of Balinese as smiling greeting gracious and kindly humans. Unfortunately, that urban myth has been grossly unfair on Bali people who underneath all the hype and performance are quite simply people.
It’s globally recognized that individuals involved in rescuing suffer a whole range of emotions, unfortunately mostly negative as time goes on, and that most of those individuals end up much worse off than the furry beings they originally hoped to alleviate pain for and from.
Vicarious traumatization is very real, very corrosive and has very verifiable data showing that layers upon layers of damage is the absolute death knell for those who probably set out with good intent, good health, very wishful thoughts and modest bank accounts. If left unchecked its progression is completely destructive to the rescuer and rescued and ironically both parties end up feeling horribly abandoned again.
There is always an element of saving in varying degrees in rescuing and when it comes to Bali dogs the degree is in the upper limits. This viewpoint is probably fueled by the historical reality that dogs on the island where/are still free roaming and the chance of seeing suffering is unavoidable in such a paradigm. But you can’t save Bali dogs if there isn’t a problem, as perceived by a population that doesn’t regard the dog as a valuable priority. As unpalatable as that is, it’s a factual reality on an island that derives its complete existence and survival from purely economic mechanisms.
Acceptance of such clinical realities are naturally troublesome to the emotional wellbeing of those who regard sentience as a universal occurrence. The realization that life for the iconic Bali local street dog is not going to get better is for those in the field of welfare probably one of the most emotionally difficult aspects of where things are at present and very unwell into the future.
Anyone who has had the pleasure and privilege to live alongside Bali Street Dogs will most certainly know that in no way will such an incredible dog burn you out. What scorches, burns and ultimately destroys are the actions of dog’s best friend.