There are many tales and beliefs following the existence of Bali Dogs. This once again proves that their beings have been merged in Balinese life. You might have heard about their journey to heaven with the five Pandawas, or the character types of Bali Dogs (useful, lucky, forceful, greedy, and lazy) depending on their length when they were still puppies. Those tales were told during their time accompanying humans in this small island. But do you know, there was a tale about how they actually come here?
Scientifically proven, Bali Dogs have been hanging around us for 12,000 years. They are considered as proto dog or the ancestor of all dogs. Evolving from wolves during Neanderthal era, they represent the true meaning of man’s best friend.
And Bali, with its thousands of mystical stories, always keeps one or two special stories for its indigenous creatures; including Bali Dogs.
This is a tale of a dog, which was on mission to grow an island. And as you can guess, the island later named Bali (means ‘coming back’).
There was a dog, living in the huge mountains of Java (another island), and was owned by a Rishi (a holy person). During his meditation, the Rishi got some God’s utterance, to bring 4 grains of rice to a very dry deserted island next to Java. And he ordered his dog to take the grains to the island.
So the journey began.
People of the small island were having trouble in making food. The land was too dry and the soil was cracking. Many of them starved to death, as there is nothing to grow. This dog came with 4 grains of rice in his mouth, to this tiny island of nowhere, and reached a mountain range of Batukaru, in the centre of Bali. He went down to the hill, looking at these people who cannot bear anymore suffering due to long period of drought.
The dog looked at them, and put the grains of rice from the Rishi mixed with his saliva in between the cracking. The people looked back at him. And waited.
In between the soil that cracked, drops of water sprouted through. From tiny leak to bigger flow, it continued to stream down, reaching these hungry people’s feet. They were in utter shock. They jumped in it, dance and roll in it. The water was enough to wet the soil and grow rice paddies, which was now the main attraction of Bali. Bali Island became greener and greener, with enough food and water to live. All of this because of a dog that made its mission to save them.
This tale is still there among villages around Batukaru Mountain. They have a high respect to the dogs, as the dogs were the ones who brought life back to them. In some areas, the dogs are still having privilege to have the first rice cooked from the rice barn. All the rice that was stored in the rice barn and taken to feed the family is cooked, and once it is done, the dog should be the one who eat it first. Not the Gods in the form of offering, not the father, not the youngest kid, but the dog.
Many people do not know or realize, in some part of Bali, the respect to dogs and other animals still exist. It is not only about cruelty or neglect, there are also beautiful parts of Bali who still respect and love Bali Dogs through their beliefs of myths and tales. Focusing on this beautiful bond among many horrible rescue stories and news will give us hope. A postulate to believe and fight for them.
For the dogs who made it all.
Art by Kuncir Sathya Viku