It has been reported recently that science has realized that animals possess sentience. It can only be with a wide open mouthed jaw dropping countenance and a flabbergasted and wondered at expression, as to not only why it has taken them so long to figure that out, but more worrisome as to what mechanism and experimental techniques and tools and tests they employed to establish such a factual truth. But of course science does not delve into the ethereal probability of emotion or memory or feelings, cold and hard factual data tested to death in many cases is the tried and true way. There are millions of lay individuals who could have certainly told science about the sentience residing in the animalistic world, but of course that would be contaminated data arising from non scientific people who possess a degree of emotional connection to the subject. So as emotional based humans who have a vested interest in cohabiting with other beings and beasts, we can only report on observations gleaned from time spent in their company.
You get the dog you need, not the dog you want, Ceasar Milan certainly had insight into the synchronicity of energy attraction when he coined the term. We didn’t want another dog, not a Bali Street Dog and certainly not a psychologically damaged and disturbed Bali Street Dog. We had spent lifetimes with various canines, Indian Street Dogs, Alaskan Malamutes and breeds of different shape and size and we were so very aware of the deep responsibility required. So when a small deep chestnut brown Bali Street Dog, was on its very last death row reprieve we were asked to take a look, just a look.
Sultan celebrated his two year anniversary time with us, by indicating via his rather annoying high pitched bark, that it was time to street walk. We didn’t name him Sultan and in those very early and deeply stress filled and fueled days of his and our union, there were many times when loudly calling his name in a busy predominantly Hindu area when we wished we had renamed him. Rehabilitating any being, especially damaged souls, is a painstaking process of patience and balanced persuasion. Sultan’s suffering was all pervading and there were times when consideration was seriously given to release him from the obvious mind and body pain he was being subjected to. He doesn’t shake and quiver anymore at the sound of a falling frangipani flower, doesn’t hide behind the shrine, doesn’t lay prone to urinate and doesn’t completely reject physical touch. He is now a proud and free roaming Bali Street Dog, who has faced nearly all his fears, cocks his leg higher at every opportunity and initiates physical contact.
We didn’t really want Sultan and there were many times when it was evident that he didn’t want us either. However as time has walked by it has become so plainly apparent that we certainly needed each other, more than we could have ever imagined. No one can speak for Sultan and only he will know if his needs have and are being met.
But we can certainly say with complete honesty, that his presence in our lives has reminded us that suffering is universal and that judgments made on superficial presentations are such shallow and selfish positions to take. He has taught us that although it’s so very frightening to trust again, it’s also so very liberating to take the chance. He is a sentient being who mirrors the very same actions and reactions to stress as do all beings who feel and he is proof that it is possible to heal from the trauma of torment.
Sultan, who is now also fondly referred to as Salt, has come a long way in his journey to heal and so have we. His medicine was time and patience and very unscientific love, his response was to allow us to use his character to heal our own wounds, we needed that and for that we honor him.