No one can argue about the wealth of historical data when it comes to the tenacity, determination and resolve of Bali dogs to survive.
For those who have an interest in these ‘Island First Dogs’ there’s never been any doubt that the breed is powerful.
They possess a very resilient DNA that has seen their ‘purity’ maintain its line through endless generations. In many non-tourist areas, ‘pure’ dogs are still acting out their handed-on behaviours, actions that are played out unconsciously in keeping with village life.
Human dog cohabitation and symbioses is very much a reality, but it isn’t something to think about, from their point of view.
Bali people and their dogs have been studied a lot. From an anthropological view it’s a fascinating relationship. Steeped in culture and myth, forged in dependence and need, it’s not a romantic tale. Yudhisthira Story is an example story to be lived up to. Yet as in most cases, its message is torn to shreds in the vagaries of everyday life, especially in villages where life is based on an endless search for simple sustenance, rather than economic surety and security. Where the reality of family and community survival outweighs the priorities of other life forms.
Over recent decades power has shifted when it comes to how Bali dogs should be seen and treated. The general thought is that the dogs are special, and the people should realize it.
That simple intent in and of itself is not necessarily bad. Wanting a better life is a virtuous aim. A view to beneficial outcomes for all concerned is a good thing. Unfortunately, implementation can be a tricky sticky path.
Persistence and power shifts have been exploding on what is already a very tectonically and seismic energy loaded small island. Bali dogs have always been seen just as dogs, just another thing that belongs on an island of things that are purposeful or not. Implementing outside ‘judgements’ on an island people who demonstrate persistence and power on a ritual basis is akin to patting a tiger on the head while pulling its tail. It will bare its teeth in what you mistake is a smile, while preparing to shred your scalp, if you don’t back off.
Agency and individual competition are already fracturing the messaging sent to local and Government agencies. With old persistent and new powerful players entering and exiting the Bali dog arena, welfare is in danger of being overrun by the constant ogre of ego.
Meanwhile the persistence and power of a relationship, that by any standard is far from ‘perfect’ continues and endures. Away from major tourist areas, observation of the Bali dog Bali people relationship/story reflects what has always been.
They just go about doing what they have always done, with not a care or thought for what is more important than surviving, by using each other in a purposeful manner, in order to achieve such an outcome.
The power of persistence.