Heartbreaking “Bali Sighting on the Beach”…Paradise isn’t always as pretty as it seems…

We’ve seen no less than 20 dogs wandering the beach each day, some looking fit and healthy while others are scrawny and unfit. The beach in front of our house is clean and pristine, cleaned daily by house pool guy, Ribud. However, other beachfront areas aren’t maintained and are littered with trash and various items washed ashore.

Watching beach life in this remote location is different than observing beachgoers anywhere else in the world we traveled to date.

“Bali Sightings on the Beach”

Sorry, the photo isn’t clear. We were too far away and my hands were unsteady after seeing the dog shot.  This guy picked up the dead dog by one hind leg and placed him in a laundry bag as he carried him away. More on this below.

Before we get into today’s story, I want to mention that we placed an order from BaliBikeRental.com for a hot spot rental for the remainder of our time in Bali. Their driver made the four hours (each way) harrowing drive to deliver the device for which we paid IDR $3,885,577.50, US $291 plus an additional IDR $1,068,200, US $80 for a deposit.

Alas, the driver arrived with two devices to ensure at least one would work, but neither would acquire an adequate signal. At that point, we were worried we wouldn’t get our money back or be charged a high transport fee. Much to our surprise, we were refunded the entire amount including the deposit 

Although these dogs seem friendly and harmless, many have rabies and other diseases.

Of course, we felt bad. It wouldn’t work in this remote location for us and for the efforts of the company. But, the honorable company, BaliBikeRental.com, immediately refunded our entire payment inspiring us to mention them here. 

If you’re looking for a motorbike or hotspot rental while in Bali, this company appears highly reputable. They’ve never had a request for a device from this remote area in the past and didn’t realize it wouldn’t work. Apparently, they work well near the resorts and Denpasar, the capital city. 

As a result, we have no choice but to use the slow wifi signal in the house, which works off and on.  Downloading photos is challenging which I will do late at night for the next day’s post. We’ll do our best to get at least six or seven photos posted each day along with our stories.

Not only do the dogs wander the beaches searching for food, they often play together and roll in the sand. They drink the water in the river and go into the river water to cool off but we’ve yet to see one enter the ocean.

On to our story of the day…

As much as we’d like to assume living each day in Paradise is perfect, as our regular readers so well know from experience, we tell it like it is…the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The beach in front of our house is a constant stream of activity, some interesting, some mundane, and some shocking. We’ve seen children as young as four or five years old, alone playing on the beach with no parent in sight. 

We’ve seen naked young boys between five to nine years old, swimming and playing in the river for hours at a time, alone without adult supervision, later to throw on their shorts and wander away. 

As we closely watch the activity on the beach, we wonder which dog will be “next.”

We’ve seen “seedy” looking characters on the beach, occasionally looking our way. We’ve seen an endless stream of motorbikes traveling up and down the beach all day, into the early evening. 

We’ve seen moms and kids walking along the beach, women with pots on their heads, and as shown, buffalo and horses being escorted to the river for a cooling soak.

Of considerable interest to us both, dog lovers that we are, we’d enjoyed watching the seemingly friendly busy dogs running up and down the beach, searching for tidbits of food and companionship, mostly with one another.

The dog on the right is with the guy who brings the buffalo to the river each day. She plays with the other dogs while he cools down the buffalo, catching up with him when he departs. 

For safety’s sake, we’ve avoided getting too close not knowing if they’d become aggressive with humans, although they seemed oblivious of people on the beach. 

Nor, did we want to encourage any of them to hang around refusing to leave. We made the wrong assumption that most of them belonged to local homeowners. How wrong we were! We’ve since discovered most are feral dogs, born near the beaches and left to fen for themselves as soon as they stop nursing. 

On Wednesday afternoon we were lounging in the cabana with the camera in close proximity. My eyes were peeled on a dog wandering the beach in their usual helter-skelter pattern in a sniffing frenzy. Suddenly, we both heard a quick “splat” and the dog began yelping miserably.

Coconut husks are used in many ways, including being made into fiberboards for construction.

We didn’t know what to do. Watching the dog teeter to and fro, within 30 seconds, it fell to the ground.  Someone had shot the dog! Horrified we looked down to the beach to a house no more than three doors from us to see a guy in a red shirt with some type of pellet gun in hand. We couldn’t do a thing but watch and wait. He saw us watching with our camera in hand.

Moments later another guy walked over to the dog, picked it up by its hind leg placing it in what appeared to be an open weave laundry bag. The dog was dead from what we could tell. Had it been an annoyance? Had it bit someone?

Gede (had also misspelled his name as “Gaday”) was gone to Denpasar and we couldn’t ask him. The two Ketuts don’t speak English well enough to be able to answer our questions. Egon, the owner, was on his way back to Holland with his family. We had no choice but to wait.

Hindu temple on the road into town.

By the next morning, after thinking about this overnight with a heaviness in our hearts, Gede arrived and answered our questions. Rabies is rampant in Bali. Dogs are “culled” in an attempt to lessen the risks to humans and other animals. 

The guy in the red shirt was an indication of a vet using a “tranquilizer” type gun to shoot the dog. Some are tranquilized and tested for rabies and vaccinated if healthy and others are shot to the death if rabies is suspected. 

How this determination is made, is unknown to us. We surmised most are shot to death unless they have a collar, may belong to a local resident, and have already been vaccinated.

It is traditional in the Hindu faith to have numerous statues in the yard of their homes as a means of expressing their love, faith, and devotion to God.

This explained the horrific sighting, but it still left us reeling and sad over this reality. In the wild in Africa, we watched animals hunt and kill, accepting this reality making us able to watch and take photos knowing this is a reality of life. 

Now, as we’ve observed this dog culling, we feel sad over this reality as a part of life in Bali, not only in the busy cities but also in remote areas such as we’re living in Sumbersari, Negara.

Many object to the culling stating it’s a poor means of protecting against rabies. See this link for more information. We’ll reserve our opinions for a future date when we know more as we continue to research and speak to local citizens.

This photo was taken from the backseat of the van of the road as we exit the property to head to the village. 

This morning we noticed two little girls no more than four or five years alone running along the beach.  We’ve never seen unattended children of these ages alone on a beach. Its the nature of life and culture in Bali, one we must accept.

Obviously, if a child or adult needs to be rescued from the sea, we’d be all over it.  We keep our eyes peeled when anyone enters the sea. But, as for the dogs, we can only continue to observe them, never knowing, only accepting, their eventual fate.

We’d planned to get out today or tomorrow but much to our surprise, Tom has a sunburn on his feet (the first sunburn he’s had in our travels) and is unable to put on his shoes for a few days.  In the interim, we’ll stay put until he heals.

Then again, staying put certainly is no hardship. There are plenty of passing pleasant experiences to observe each day on the beach as we continue to revel in these extraordinary surroundings.

May you revel in your surroundings today!

Photos from one year ago today, May 6, 2015:

There’s never a shortage of roosters wandering about in Kauai when there are literally thousands of feral chickens and roosters on the island supposedly as a result of hurricanes destroying chicken coops over the years. For more photos, please click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *