The connection between humans and their dogs is based upon chemistry laid down tens of thousands of years ago. But, the relationship between individual humans and their dog or dogs is intensely personal, unique to them their culture and circumstances.
Whilst the connection cannot be questioned, the manner in which it manifests regularly is. Value judgements are often made regarding not only people’s ability to care for their animals, but also how much they love them, based upon ethnocentrism rather than considered opinion.
Of the many things I have loved over the last six years working both in Bali and in recent years as the CEO of AMRRIC has been the opportunities provided me to explore the many ways in which the dog – human bond manifests. I have learned to appreciate the differences and am continuously awed by the depth of the connection between a family and their dogs.
I have also learned that the relationship between human and dog greatly influences and enhances human to human relationships. Communicating cross culturally is somehow easier when a dog is part of the conversation. In most villages camps or towns, there will be one or two ‘dog’ families. Finding people and connecting with them over the mutual relationship, often helps to form the foundation stones of a relationship with the entire community. Learning from such people about the role of dogs within their culture provides a means of understanding how to work within the community to improve the health and wellbeing of both people and animals.
Whilst I am grateful to our Bali Dogs for so many things, I am particularly grateful for the journey they have taken us on which resulted in us meeting Pak Nyoman and his family.