The impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic is being felt on every level of daily life in Bali, Indonesia, as unemployed workers struggle to feed families and provide for basic needs until the Island’s economy kicks back into gear.
Less obvious. but also tragic, is the impact the Pandemic is having on Bali’s population of furry, four-footed “friends.” Dogs that once nonchalantly wandered Bali beaches and small restaurants woefully posing for food handouts from visiting tourists are becoming increasingly skinny after three months of empty beaches and closed restaurants. Meanwhile, out-of-work pet owners, struggling to feed their families, have few table scraps and limited funds to purchase food for their family pets.
Many Balinese dogs have, since time immemorial, been members of a large floating herd of free-roaming dogs that are quick to identify businesses and homes willing to share food with furry interlopers. These places become over time adopted pieds a terre – places where these dogs can linger for a meal or two before continuing their round of other “friends” ready to supply the next meal.
Foreigners too often misunderstand Balinese dogs. Fiercely territorial, Bali dogs will bark and raise a raucous whenever a stranger appears. But, in truth, this is more “bark” than “bite” with attacks by healthy dogs on humans a rarity.
The innate friendliness and conviviality of Bali’s dogs are best seen in the absolute joy and gratitude they exhibit when they are remembered with food rations provided by kind people living on the Island.
The Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA – See Link) undertakes regular feedings of Bali Street Dogs. Another organization – Bali Animal Food Bank, provides support to pet owners who are finding it currently difficult to provide for their pets.
A not-for-profit organization working in partnership with the MUM Foundation (Yayasan Manusia Untuk Masyarakat Bali), The Bali Animal Food Bank distributes food and cat food on the 2nd and 5th Saturday of each month from the Bali Beach Shack Restaurant on Jalan Legian. Pet owners needing bridging help in these difficult times to feed their animals can contact the Bali Animal Food Bank to register to receive food supplies. On the appointed days, pet owners show up and wait patiently in physical-distancing queues to receive food sufficient to feed their pets for the coming two weeks.
As of mid-June 2020, The Bali Animal Food Bank has provided food for some 4,009 dogs and 2,027 cats by providing pet owners with 2,312 kilograms of dog food, 950 kilograms of cat food, and 700 kilograms of rice.
All of this takes money generously donated by animal lovers from around the world.
Visit the links for the Bali Animal Food Bank Website and their Go Fund Me Page provided here to learn more and, if you can, share in their important work.