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Saving the Dogs of Bali

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Saving the Dogs of Bali

By Twig Mowatt, The Bark

On a steamy June morning, employees of the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA) are engaged in one of the most rewarding parts of the job: delivering puppies to an enthusiastic group of new owners -all sixth-graders- in the town of Ubud. The students have completed a course in animal welfare, making them eligible to participate in the second annual Bali Dog Idol contest to see who takes the best care of a family pet. Last year, 18 students completed the six-month challenge, which required them to answer questions about responsible dog ownership and strut their pup in front of a live audience. The event proved to be such a success that this year BAWA, the sponsor, has increased the number of contestants to fifty.

“I’m so excited,” says 10-year-old Dayu Bintang, after selecting a female puppy from the BAWA van. “My family is going to help me take care of it. It’s our first pet.”

Though the young girl has never before shared her home with a dog, she knows that many stray dogs roam the streets. In fact, two forage through trash near her as she holds her new puppy. If the power of education and the joys of pet companionship work their magic as hoped, then it’s not just this one puppy who will benefit from the Idol experience. Bintang and her family may also begin to look more kindly on the dogs outside.

“Education is by far the most important program and the one I care most about because it’s the only hope for lasting change,” says California native Janice Girardi, who founded BAWA in 2007 after doing years of her own animal rescue work following her move to Bali to start a jewelry business. “But it’s the program that I end up giving the least amount of attention to because the other problems are so much more pressing.”

Most pressing by far is the excruciating balancing act that requires Girardi to weigh the importance of preventing dogs from being born against preventing dogs from being killed. That is, does she direct BAWA’s limited resources into the spay-and-neuter effort that stops endless litters from being born and then dying on the streets, or does she put her effort into a massive rabies vaccination campaign to save dogs from being killed by strychnine under the government’s elimination approach to rabies control?

Next: Life for animals living in Bali

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6:43AM PDT on Sep 12, 2012

I'm worried that the kids will become bored with the puppy when they become a 'dog.'

Will the families be able to afford to spay or nueter the puppy so more dogs don't become 'street dogs' when that puppy is older and has puppies of it's own?

I know the article says that the 'street dogs' like being 'street dogs', but I have never met a dog that isn't looking for some human companionship or love.

11:57AM PDT on Jun 21, 2011

This is an example worth publicicing. It is through education that people will begin to realize that animal deserve respect, love and a good life.

4:15PM PDT on May 8, 2011

thanks and succes

6:36AM PDT on May 2, 2011


2:21PM PDT on May 1, 2011

totally. when good pet keepers in Industrialized, 1st world and Western societies know how to keep pets, re realise what they are, and their personal worth.

when we find "backwards" "slow" "primitive" "ignorant" and neglectful pet keeping, it's up to us to teach them how to do it right, and that, like some other people, the dog should come first. if the dog needs surgery that will mean their human will have to eat cheap food for a month, cancel their phone(s) or internet, then THEY SHOULD do the same.
that is what good people do, I am told.

and not just let the dog suffer, or put it to sleep because they can't afford heart surgery or an anything.

this is the kind of comment 90% of wants to see right?

or "no dogs, take all dogs from the Balinese"

12:50AM PST on Jan 31, 2011

Inspirational! Thank you for sharing I will look into BAWA and see what I can do to help!

5:24AM PST on Nov 17, 2010

question, where do the puppies come from. And why don't they use the dogs off the street instead?
Education is great, but giving a puppy is only encouraging people to get a pets cos it's cute, what happens when the training doesn't stick or the dog gets to 1 year and becomes in effect a teenager and starts to ignore the training. I have 4 dogs and all of them did this and had to be retrained. And where does the money come from to feed theses dogs? I'm not so sure about this programme

5:30PM PDT on Jul 24, 2010

This was a very heart warming article.

10:22AM PDT on May 29, 2010

Please sign this petition to help indigenous people fight for their rights and lives.

10:22AM PDT on May 29, 2010

Please sign this petition to help indigenous people fight for their rights and lives.

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