Living with, being around, watching listening and learning from and about Bali Street Dogs is a journey of fascinating proportion. What is taken for granted by those people, who have forever cohabited with them, is certainly anything but easily granted to a foreigner.
Bali Street Dogs are not a recognized breed, but for breed’s sake, do they really need to be. It’s all too easy for an outsider to become over excited and enthusiastically energetic about anything and everything that has been just a part of the bigger local picture. Unfortunately those mostly well intentioned actions can sometimes lead to and have a detrimental effect upon the part played by what is a small, yet significant link in the chain of what makes up a whole culture and society.
The wealth of knowledge and everyday stories locked away about the Bali Street dog are just that, things known about something that is not that important or out of the ordinary in the broader lives of people or to the running of day to day normal events.
It’s not until something new and novel appears or is introduced that a spark of interest is ignited in the psyche, as has happened with the increasing introduction of other dog breeds. The Bali Street Dog was never seen as a fad or fashion accessory and never will or really should be. They play a very different role within the environmental reality of Bali life.
Before the onset of rabies, the Bali Street Dog was a fairly low blip on most radar. A killer virus not only threatened their existence and the lives within the greater part of the picture they shared, it also raised awareness and shone the spotlight fully on them.
There are amazing benefits in showing things that are unique and have been generally unseen to a wider audience, but unfortunately there is always a danger in disturbing and uncovering layers of anything. The Bali Street Dog has been isolated in a place and space for a very long time, just doing what it does very well. It’s probably naïve and quite selfish to imagine that their lives would not and will not change, being that change is a constant inescapable reality. But it is sincerely hoped that as the amount of engineered change currently underway continues unabated, they will be allowed to evolve in a manner that is natural to their nature.
As enduring and strong as Balinese life and culture is, it is mirrored and matched by the thing that has quite understandably been seen as just a part of the picture of life on the Island. That picture is changing more rapidly than even the people of Bali probably could have predicted and with that movement a degree of gain is attained and an equivalent degree of loss is exchanged. Balance is everything everywhere, but on Bali it is the very thread that weaves the fabric of life.
The Bali Street Dog is but only one small thread that is in danger of fraying due to the pressure of enforced change, its continued feral existence is obviously in danger and its profile is seen as pathetic when compared with the invasion of new and popular foreign breeds.
As a foreigner living with, being around, watching, listening and learning from and about Bali Street Dogs, it has indeed been and continues to be a journey of fascinating proportion. It is hoped that by highlighting them, they will be seen for what and who they are, not what they should or could be.
It is also hoped, that for the sake of all breeds, the Bali Street Dog can continue to be taken for granted, to be quietly accepted and to be silently interwoven as it always has been, within the changing fabric of Bali life.