It really is a very difficult one, fraught with opinion that runs the full gamut of emotional options, realities that are quick sand scenarios for the wary and unwary alike.
Bali Street Dogs do not seek out human affection; by their very feral nature they avoid such contact, other than for their basic need, food. Free from harm and abuse, safe from the elements and to continue living as they are hard wired to do, such luxuries are bonus points on their birthright board. It is certainly and please be very assured, very possible for them to make incredibly deep, loyal and everlasting unbreakable psychological bonds with, “us”. For those who have broken through and gained the trust of such an intelligent being, it can only be described as a humble and life changing event.
The question is not should they be offered the opportunity for a quality life, an existence that holds true for all beings, of course they should. No, the question is this. “Should we through whatever our rational or irrational motivations and intentions be, encourage and foster their lives to have the inclusion of physical touch”?
Balinese people do not see their dogs as pets; their dogs are working dogs, they are and have been for thousands of years. That is not to say that there are not a hopefully growing number who are shifting to a more “attentive” way of treating their local dogs, there most certainly is. But in the main the pet paradigm is reserved for the “Goldies, Silkies and Pommies”.
The issue of offering long term physical touch and direct comfort to what is still a pure feral being is something that Welfare Shelters worldwide struggle with on a constantly worrying moment by moment reality and on Bali it is no different.
On Bali the Welfare of Bali Street Dogs was certainly thrust into the spotlight upon the arrival of the deadly rabies virus, not to say that their situation was not recognized beforehand. These days due to the massive influx of non local people, the Bali Street Dog has had its platform raised substantially, as more and more foreigners show more and more interest in them. Because of this and due to the demand for something different, Welfare organizations are increasingly under pressure to socialize local dogs for a foreign taste and in itself it appears to be an easy task, not. Bali Street Dogs are not easy, especially when the expectation is the delivery of a well mannered and domesticated canine that will readily do what is fully expected, in a foreign environment. Puppies have a degree of success, however rescued and traumatized adults unfortunately will have a rapidly and spiraling downward level of recidivism, unpalatable but very real.
Unfortunately the re-homing of rescued socialized and touched all over adult Bali Street Dogs is mainly dependent on the commitment of matching the right home to dog. For those who go to Bule homes it is with the understanding of commitment for life and equally the education as to what is entailed in sharing a life with such a magnificent being.
For those who go to ‘local homes”, even if the short term affection is not continued, they still stand a chance of a quality driven existence by virtue of their innate nature to still revert to no touch default position.
The growing issue appears to be the newness of the unknown in regards to foreigners taking on an ancient, intelligent, strong minded and willful being that will not play by the same rules as “back home”, getting annoyed and then dumping or throwing away what has not played nice.
The other more sad yet common occurrence is the, “I have to leave Bali really fast”, reality. A situation which results in near on impossible scenario's, consequences that see adult Bali Street Dogs being abandoned on unknown streets and left to the mercy or not of the strangers they approach for comfort, due to the fact that of course trust in human contact has become normal.
Please believe us; the creators of this website certainly do not have the answer or answers to this pressing dilemma. Having also fallen under the spell of The Bali Street Dog and having rescued, rehabilitated and fallen way too deeply in love, with three very damaged beings who can now be given all over affection, we also struggle with the maxim of, “when you do the right thing do you run the risk of doing the wrong thing”. All we do know is that we will do all that is possible to fulfill the promise and commitment that we made to them.
And in that, we certainly do understand and sympathize with all those who have the welfare of all sentient beings and in particular to those who struggle with what is really in the best interests of and for The Bali Street Dog.