On the thick furry back of a recent announcement that the iconic Kintamani dog has received international recognition that in effect affords it Protect, Promote, Preserve status, what, if anything, can their local short coated street relatives take from the very well deserved news?
Being popular doesn’t give you automatic protection, especially when your presence has been so widespread that your uniqueness is not seen at all. Consider that the Kintamani dog is generally isolated to a small highland area and has a colourful mythical story/fable attached to its history. Marketing, knowingly or unknowingly, of the Kintamani dog, has added value to their story and money in the pockets of those who have realized that there’s a demand for their uniqueness.
For the Bali Street dog competing with the Kintamani dog is a no winner. The Kintamani is a ‘beautiful’ canine. It’s a spit away from being a full-blown Spitz breed and given its lineage, both mythical and proven, it’s in very good company. But, mythology and genetics aside, it is not a Chow Chow, nor is it an Akita. It’s a unique breed isolated to a small highland region on a mystical Island. And that’s what makes them very sought after.
Unfortunately for their lowly relatives the Bali Street dog has a greater population and is seen in most island wide locations, even as their numbers are being severely reduced. Herein resides the unavoidable truth as to one of the reasons for the blasé approach in how this ‘First Island Dog’ is in many ways reviled not revered. Everything ugly, from the virulent terrifying rabies virus and diseased emaciated images are attached to the lowly short haired street dog. No amount of publicity about their plight has helped; it can actually be argued that saturation of ‘sick’ and ‘abused’ material has in fact hurt their image. They are the only old original dog on a very small space that’s up against every other newly introduced canine and are the most unwanted.
Taking them off the Island has turned into a business opportunity for a growing number of savvy transport agencies and as the amount of rescue organizations grow the need for Balinese people to recognize and take care of their dog is being circumvented by good intentions. Manoj Gautam recently reflected on a similar situation occurring with street dogs in his home country of Nepal. In his social media post he purports the responsibility for sustainable welfare outcomes for local dogs needs to sit with local people.
It’s beyond time that the Balinese people took responsibility for the dogs of Bali.