Bali is known as The Island of Gods. Many people come to Bali for the spiritual quest. Been living in Bali for over a month, I can give another title to the island as the Island of (wild) Dogs.
In the island I am from–Sumatra–people don’t like dogs, mostly for ‘religious’ reasons so that they can do irreligious things to this ‘haram’ animal; like throwing them with stones for no reason, even kick them out if the dogs just want to lay down under cars for shade during a super hot day. I’ve never had pet in my life because my parents never allowed us to have one. So until now I don’t know how to pet one even though I actually want to. In Sumatra, especially West Sumatra, the dogs are afraid of humans. I feel sorry for the dogs and I never want to hurt them or any other animals. My achievement was when a dog which was beaten and kicked often was not afraid of me because I let her sleep under my car for shades and I talked to it–from a distance, because I still don’t know how to do physical contact with animals. I told her that she should not listen to those mean humans, she’s a normal beautiful animal and those people are just shallow. I don’t know if she could understand human language but she became protective of me that when a stranger came to my house when I went to a nearby ‘warung’ and let the door open, she barked at him and stood in front of my door. The guy was a delivery courier though.
I found it sweet and that they’re very very loyal. Reminds me of some movies I watched in my childhood in which dogs joined in and played for a hockey club. So I began to imagine to play and run along the beach with cute fluffy short-legged dogs, with my long-black hair down and beautiful sunset sky. Imagine how sexy that scene would be in a slow-motioned clip. I was waiting for it to happen before my flights to Bali.
When in Bali, it happened, unluckily with some modifications. Instead of running along with me, they ran behind me to chase me for no reason with unstoppable barking. The dogs in Bali, especially in Canggu and Ubud, are very different from what we have in Sumatra. They’re not afraid of humans, but also not in a friendly way. They’re as scary as Japanese Yakuza (though I haven’t met Yakuza in person).
I wanted to do a morning walk. A morning walk in Bali, that sounds like a movie, ain’t it? What happened next was indeed like in movies, HORROR MOVIE though. Sensing I am an easy prey and has a lot of bones, three dogs chased me. WTH, they have 12 legs and I only have two!! I screamed for help in my girly sundress, made me look more like Annabelle than a sexy sweet beach girl that I planned to be. I literally almost cried having thoughts in my head that my family and friends would read my name in newspapers; GIRL KILLED GANG-CHASED BY WILD DOGS IN CANGGU. Luckily a tourist couple helped to rescue me from the frustrating situation meanwhile three local guys–who previously cat-called me–just laughed and one was ready to record a video. How dare you, you son of sandwich!!
That was just one of my numerous thriller experiences with wild dogs in Bali. These dogs are not always street dogs, they have owners. But how could they be so different if I compared to dogs that the tourists bring. In Bali, you can find people drive bike with dog, even two dogs in one bike, that looks very cool and cute. And these dogs are swag, friendly and tamed. I believe that the way animals behave to humans are the reflection of what is wrong/right about the community.
Later I made friends with a local who loves dog so much and always travel with two dogs on his bike. He loves dog from the heart as real friends, not as fancy accessories or toys that you sell when you get bored of. He told me that many locals treat dogs just as house security and don’t give them care and affection that they long for. Also common that they’re left in the street when the owners don’t need them anymore. Well, even humans can behave wildly in that situation. So please, if you can’t love your dogs, don’t have one so that a sweet girl in sundress like me can have a peaceful walk in Bali.
PS: Not all areas are like this. Only in Canggu and Ubud that I found dogs are a bit uncontrollable. Other than that are safe(r), people treat dogs as pets they love.