It is Nyamnyo. Who came into our lives with his big grin, full of joy, in between his skinny legs and popping ribs. He is a white Bali Dog, origin unknown. One day he just came and stayed, out of the blue.
Wise people said, “If a dog came to your house and stayed, keep it. It is the carrier of peace and prosperity.” So we did.
First he slept in our garage, so every day we took turn feeding him when we are going out. Few weeks later, without us realizing, he was just there, sleeping in front of our porch and wagging his tail. He was so skinny, his stomach arched. But we feed him; a lot. He turned into a gorgeous white Bali Dog, lean and muscular. A macho dog, we called him.
His attitude is why we called him Nyamnyo. He had this obsessive licking disorder, he loves everybody. He has to kiss you in the face, in the mouth, ears, neck, hair, you name it. His licking made sounds, “Nom, nom, nom.”, and that. Nyamnyo is the Indonesian version of him chewing your face off. Anyone who came to my house will remember Nyamnyo first, as his character stood out. For us, Nyamnyo is a goofy dog. Nobody can tell him off, he does whatever he wants to do.
For me, he is a wanderer. Somehow he wandered and stumbled upon our house, thinking that it is a safe place for him, spending the rest of his short life. He has the purest and free-est soul of a dog. He was not bound. He did not belong to the pack. He is a solo dog and the life of the party at the same time. I have always adored him, my flamboyant guy.
Every time I came home, he will be there, with his big grin, and pink tongue dangling from his mouth, doing a little dance for me, jumping to take my hand with his mouth. Same thing happened when I am about to go somewhere, he did a little dance for me, and take me to the garage, looking as our car driving by, leaving him, waiting for us to come home again, so he can do his dance.
I lost him, on the day I thought we could dance again soon.
It is Kiki, my strong boy. He had a series of unfortunate events since he was a puppy. He had always been a timid dog, but eager to please with his high pitch voice every time I came home.
Kiki was found as a puppy, beagle cross. His mother who was ours too, she dug a cave to give birth behind our house without us knowing. When the rain poured, she was crying for help, and we found that her three puppies were drowning in the cave she made. They were all saved, and Kiki was one of them. Long story short, when the mother and his two siblings died, Kiki was the only one left. His timid personality made him the victim of the pack bully. Imagine a nerd with glasses, who always got shoved to the locker by big guys, that nerd is Kiki.
But he was a whole other dog when he was out for the hunt. His Bali and Beagle blood made this amazing matrimony a hunting machine. He will find rat, frog, chicken, ducks and roast pig (yes, suckling pig) single handed.
My mother in law (RIP), one day when she came home, found all my 12 dogs were feasting on this huge roast pig, except Kiki. He was standing there, full of grace, looking at his friends as if saying, “it’s my birthday today, so here’s a pig, my treat.” If you have been to Bali, suckling pig is a festive dish that is a ceremonial delicacy. How did Kiki get it while we are staying in the middle of the rice field? Let it remain a secret and if anyone felt as though his suckling pig was stolen a few years ago, I am so sorry.
His killing machine mode was what got him into trouble too. He got his nose cut, almost fell off. Then a year later his neck was almost cut by a wire trap. And every time I took him to the hospital, he was calm. He was following orders; he was still a happy guy whenever he saw us. I could see the trauma in his eyes, but he shrugged it off. That is why I have always loved him. He forgets, forgives and moves on.
I lost him, on the day I thought he will live forever.
It is Bongi. A shy untrusting dog that I took from a trash pile when she was a puppy, she was so small I could not see her the first time I passed by. She was so scared, wet, and hungry. I took her in, tried to adopt her out, but she felt most comfortable with me. So she stayed.
She was a mix of Terrier and Bali Dog. She was lovely she loved water, loved dirt. She was having the time of her life in my house, running back and forth on the rice field, hunting for rats and digging in their holes. She always, always had her nose dirty because of the many holes she dug. She was the lowest level of the pack, because she had too much love to offer.
She did not fight back.
She was struggling with her food possessiveness, something that we were working on. She was too shy with new people. No one can touch her except me, my husband and of course, our beloved Mama. She will always find a way to sneak into our room, curled up next to us, with her sad eyes and furry ears. Since the day I found her, she decided that I was her home. I was her protector.
I lost her on the day I thought she will be safe from everything.
It is Aming and Botak. The youngest members of the pack, the dynamic duo, Yin and Yang. They were still puppies, barely 10 months old. Like any other puppies, they were full of energy; they were troublemakers, both young and beautiful. They started rough, with almost no hair, skinny and full of fleas. With just a little love, they bloomed. Their hair is the shiniest; their bodies were at their best.
Aming will say hi with his little howl. Then drop his body and curl near us. Aming helped me to take care of three neonate puppies I found in a garage. He loved puppies, sitting with them and hugging them, especially when nights get chilly and the puppies need extra warmth.
Botak will greet us with his happy face. Always smiling, standing there, looking at us and wagging his fluffy tail slowly. He pranced every time he walked. Every sunset, he will stand on the top of the rice field tier, looking very stoic, creating a magnificent silhouette of a Kintamani Dog.
I lost them, on the day I thought we will grow old together.
I lost five of my dogs, poisoned, on the same day my mother in law got cremated. I lost them on the day I thought it would not get any worse than that. The feeling….. I could barely cope.
That feeling, that I was not able to help them, to hug them in their last minutes. They must have been so scared. Did they think of me? Were they looking for me while they were grasping for air? Would they think I left them alone in agony? Would they be angry with me for not being there?
Would they think that it is not fair that I am gone now, as before they were all there pulling me up in my difficult time?
I was just, afraid to feel.
When I got home, they were all already buried. I was too scared to visit them. I saw the red soil, and pictured their bodies under it. Are their spirits surrounding me now? Are you dancing, Nyamnyo? Are you crying, Kiki? Are you howling, Aming? Are you wagging your tail, Botak? And are you, Bongi, sneaking behind me and licking my feet?
I was still, afraid to feel.
When my defense mechanism was a bit cracked because of my mother in law, it is now strengthened because of my dogs.
Then I choose not to feel. I choose not to remember. I just breathe. And move on.
I choose to be a cold hearted bitch when faced with deaths. Six loves of my life left me on the same day. Each of them left a deep cut to my chest. I chose to be a Bali Dog. I shake it off, and walk through.
Life has been giving me too many lemons it gets bitter, so bitter that my tongue could not feel anymore.
Now I am numb.
Rest in peace my loves, wherever you are. Floating next to me, rotting under the soil, or on that rainbow bridge those positive people often talk about.
I love you.