Early morning walks anywhere in the world are one of the very best methods for getting a real feel for how life unfolds on a daily basis.
Bali is a tropical island so heat and humidity dictate peak times of activity. Add a belief in a unique island isolated Hinduism and a culture thousands of years old and rich in rituals and patterns. Throw in a society that retains a need for open air fruit vegetable and livestock market places and you have a perfect recipe for a sensory filled early morning amble.
For those interested in witnessing how the human dog interaction plays out, early mornings are the optimum time to observe Bali dogs doing their thing. Late in the afternoon just before sunset is also another perfect space of time to observe a more relaxed version of morning busy time.
Moving parallel to their humans they can be seen exiting their family compounds and scouting their designated area. Each dog has its own space that it patrols and guards against any unknown intruder(s). These are professional working dogs, not pampered pets. It’s not unusual as morning moves on to see dogs gathering around food carts and outside lokal warungs looking for scraps or discarded food. Bali dogs have historically survived on whatever is dropped or left behind, another reason why one of their jobs as garbage disposal units is vitally important to their community.
One of the many joys of being actively able to walk through lokal areas as morning breaks is watching Bali people going about their everyday routine business and their dogs going about their everyday routine business without either party even knowing that they balance each other without it being a big deal at all.
Naturally Occurring Phenomenon
Appearance of dogs on the island of Bali has been naturally occurring for thousands of years. Close observation of their activity has only been a serious action in the last few decades. Before then they were just part of the background shadow play that fills the flow on this mystical Hindu island.
A government loosening of importation laws in response to mass foreigner arrivals saw non local dogs flow across porous borders. On the back of this change Bali dogs became an increasingly interesting and unique phenomenon. It’s as if they, as a thing, had only just manifested, instead of being here from whenever that beingness began.
The Bali people-dog relationship is seriously unique in the context of its island isolated reality. Yet when other ancient indigenous cultures are examined in regard to their human-dog historical relationship the Bali relationship differs very little. In those historical periods no great thought was given or intellectual energy expelled when it came to the relationship; dogs had their place as all things had within the order of subsistence village societies. That past mindset is still presently current, how could it not. The Bali dog and/or their relationship to/with Bali people was a no big thing, it just was/is.
It was not until this latest round of colonization swamped the island that a spotlight was shone upon the relationship.
Fueled by a turbo driven economy, foreigners descended and moved into traditionally stable areas upending generations of island viewpoints. Apart from bringing money they also brought a worldview that continues to be completely foreign to a majority of Balinese. Bali dogs were and continue to be a perfect emotional drawcard for an increasing number of foreigners.
There is very little naturally occurring in those areas where little Bali has become big Australia or any number of other foreigner resident locales. The phenomenon of Bali dogs free roaming in and through those areas is unheard and unseen.
As a ballooning economy continues to expand, more and more traditional areas are submitting to inevitable unavoidable realities, changes that come with such historical economic movements. More families have less dogs and status value has replaced utility value. Knowledge of how to care for foreign things is proving difficult for a society that hasn’t dealt with so many foreign viewpoints/philosophies. When it comes to dogs, everything to do with foreign dog care is the antithesis of their view.
On an island where the future will continue to pin cultures literally on top of cultures the dog-human relationship will ‘need’ to unfold on the basis of welfare law.
As that battle will be fought on solid ground the only Naturally Occurring Phenomenon will continue to be the human made plastic invasion that washes ashore on the islands seasonal waves.