Bali Diary: Caring for dogs, wherever they are

Janice Girardi of the IFAW-supported Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA) has shared this recent story about the ongoing work to help the street dogs of Bali.

"She was quite scared for the first few minutes, but then she quieted down very quickly."“It was Thursday, the day after Galungan, and it seemed there were more sick and abandoned animals than usual roaming the streets. Galungan is a Balinese holiday, so everyone was off for a three days. But the holiday also meant many dogs were left behind as people went off to celebrate the occasion.

Every morning and evening BAWA offers food to hungry street dogs, but by the time we got to them the day after Galungan, they were starving.  The ones with demodectic mange that we had been treating on the streets (by putting medicine into their food) were in worse condition than I remembered seeing them even a week or two before.  I believed it was because they didn’t have any food for several days, making them weaker and more susceptible to the mites that cause the mange.

Then I was driving by a local market - the Pejeng market - and saw a little puppy maybe about 3 months old.  I immediately pulled over and went to see what could be done.  Upon seeing her closer is was clear that she was in a very bad condition with bleeding red raw skin and scabies.  She had no hair on her face and was constantly scratching. She was living alone under a side walk, in a gutter.

I can’t imagine what would’ve happened to this poor puppy had it been raining, when the gutter would’ve filled with water and her “home” would’ve flooded.   It took me about 30 minutes to coax her out with food, all while trying to keep other dogs away.   But even with the coaxing I could not catch her, and called someone from my house to come and help me.  An hour later we managed to catch the poor pup in a towel. She was quite scared for the first few minutes, but then she quieted down very quickly. The puppy was obviously very sick so I brought her to the office, and later on she was sent to the BAWA clinic by our staff.

In between the feeding and the puppy, I also found a spot where there were five adult dogs each with very bad cases of demodectic mange and scabies.  I managed to treat all of them with medication, getting them eat tablets which would rid their systems’ of internal parasites.

In Bali, something as simple as dewormer can be a lifesaver for street dogs. Without it, their systems can become overburdened with parasites and hinder the absorption of the few nutrients they can get from scrounging for food.  BAWA regularly offers food to street dogs, not only as a way to fill their empty bellies, but because it provides an easy and necessary method of treating dogs for internal and external parasites that can otherwise leave them sick and suffering.”  


Sometimes it is necessary to take dogs like the little puppy at the Pejeng market to BAWA’s clinic, because this is the only way to ensure she’ll get the care she needs and the opportunity to be adopted into a home. But with the hundreds of thousands of street dogs in Bali, it would be impossible to try and care for all of them in a clinic, so BAWA does all that they can to care for Bali’s dogs, wherever they are. 

-- HL

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