There is a saying we learned on our first visit to Bali, “Tough as a Bali Dog”. Every time we visit, it is reaffirmed that this is True! On the beautiful, picturesque island of the Gods, things aren't always perfect and beautiful. We have witnessed the rough conditions of the street dogs: starving, dehydrated, covered in awful skin rashes, suffering from wounds and neglect. The environment doesn't always help either with hot & humid weather, no access to clean water, and a society that is not completely educated on how to treat and prevent common health conditions. We are animal lovers; first we observed the issues, then we cried for the suffering, then we decided to take action! Since we manufacture our clothing in Bali, using the talent and resources of the locals, we believe it is our obligation to give something back.
We quickly discovered BARC, Bali Dog Adoption and Rehabilitation Centre which is not your typical shelter that just rescues, cages, and attempts to adopt. BARC does so much more! Injured and sick animals are brought to the center to be healed, rehabilitated and adopted. BARC also does sterilization days where they spay and neuter street dogs and cats to control rampant overpopulations. Our favorite outreach that BARC does is education. They travel to schools to educate the next generations about caring for animals and to debunk common misconceptions about street dogs including the belief that all Bali dogs have rabies and that skin conditions are not treatable. BARC often has to speak up against the local government to prevent elimination days, where they euthanize any dog they see without a collar. Horrific pictures surface afterwards showing the results, dead dogs line the streets. Some family pets often get caught in the elimination days as well.
On our most recent travels to Bali, we made another special trip to Ubud to see the adoption center and clinic. The employees and volunteers are friendly and offer tours of the facility where you can pet and play with any animal. The shelter is open space, indoor and outdoor, where all animals can run free and eat freely. Animals are not caged! Some animals are kept separate for their own benefit. For instance, a dog who lost both of his eyes, feels more comfortable in a fenced area by himself.
We saw a puppy with a smashed paw hopping and playing. Even though his leg will soon be amputated, his wagging tail proved that he was a happy puppy. We saw a fluffy dog that had been hit by a car. Her hind end was smashed and her hips badly injured, but now fully healed, she hobbled over so we could pet her. A cat saw us enter, and jumped up howling meows at us until we stopped to pet her. The overall joy and sweetness of the animals at the adoption lights up our hearts! You can’t help but smile when you see the small puppy barking and trying to play with the cats and ducks… yes ducks are rescued animals too!
At the clinic, there are happy stories that include recovery and adoption are there are sad stories. When we entered, one of the sweetest dogs we have ever met approaches. His skin severely damaged by skin disease so bad that he has no hair left. His skin was thick, black, callused, and wet with oil the doctors prescribed and volunteers applied. At first, we were too afraid to pet him, thinking it would hurt his delicate skin. But he plopped down between us, and let us pet his sweet face. Did this dog once belong to someone? It hurts my heart to think that once this dog got sick, it is likely that his owner turned him out on the street, not wanting nor knowing how to help im. Another dog in the clinic may be a forever member. Some serious accident crushed his body requiring the amputation of both hind legs and caused a misshaped spine. This same dog was here 1.5 years ago during our first visit. But now you can see the improvement in the dog’s demeanor, with more trust of humans. It’s amazing to see how this dog gets around with the strength of his front body and determination!
We could go on and on about the stories of these tough little dogs, amazing rescues, dogs seemingly on their deathbeds rehabilitated and now full of life and energy. This is why we donate a portion of proceeds from each sale to BARC. It is our dream to see these animals in the hands of an island that is educated about and cares for them. An island not full of starving stays on the streets, but full of beloved pets, cared for, loved, sterilized, and happy! So we left BARC with our big bag of BARC swag. Feeling excited for the work they are doing. Feeling optimistic about what improvements we will see for the Bali dog during our next visit
Charlene & Trina