There are billions of us dog worshipping humans who connect more with a lowly canine than with our own species. Its not that surprising to us that trusting a dog far outweighs believing that our human compatriots have anything, but their best interests hidden behind a multitude of faces and manufactured guises. That is most certainly not to say that dogs do not have their priorities on full show, that is the ‘beauty’ bestowed in their nature. You really do get what you see. For those of us who have in their professional lives ‘worked’ with humans, a certain cynicism inevitably creeps in and a trained eye in human nature leaves one with no doubt that we cannot be trusted. That is not to say that all of humanity is self-serving but as history has shown and this pandemic has proved we are genetically hard wired to survive and if needs be, screw the rest.
Street dogs are a whole other level of canine. Their ability to be nimble, resourceful, alert, and tenacious in daily survival is unmatched. Bali dogs are not like any other dog, they are dogs that have adapted to Island conditions and the expectations of Bali people. They have exceptionally long memories, and their reading of human behaviour and intentions has been honed over thousands of years of selective breeding.
But they do live for now because that really is all there is. They are most certainly sentient and their advantage over us lowly humans is that they probably do not actually know that. They are just dogs, doing what dogs do, just being.
If they are fortunate, they will bond with a human and/or a family of humans. The actual lucky ones are the humans who have gained a being that will protect their cross-species family to the death. A being that will give comfort, companionship, and affection without even thinking about it.
This pandemic has shone a very bright spotlight on and into the nature of humans. It is highly unlikely that Bali dogs are aware of any change, as it is also beyond expectation that the rest of nature is aware of humanity tearing itself apart. Nature and Bali dogs just do what they do. It is plainly and evidently clear that their actions are vastly purer in collective terms than the selfish gene that is the weakness and flaw in us.
I have no doubt when we reconnect with the Bali dogs that we have journeyed with that they will recognise us. Not from a visual field but from an energetic memory imprint that we humans have little respect or understanding of.
Anthropomorphising anything is an arrogant human perspective. Othering anything else than human and imbuing it/they with human characterisations is the height of human hubris and ownership. Understanding Bali dogs also requires an acceptance of how Bali people see their Bali dogs. And for most foreigners the concept that Bali people and Bali dogs are a whole of Island life is virtually impossible.
In a year that has been like no other we would so much rather be like and with ‘our’ Bali dogs.
They are truly Hindus in furry form.