Written by Sara Novak, Treehugger
As the sun peaks its head over a horizon of emerald green rice fields that form terraced steps to the mountains above, you can’t help but feel blessed to be here on the island of Bali. This island where I’ve spent the past two weeks is certainly magical, the vibrational energy is palpable no matter who you are. The Balinese welcome you with open arms and mile-high smiles, but it seems we’re lucky to be at the top of the so-called food chain. Dogs and cats don’t enjoy the same ease of living as humans do in Bali, especially the street dogs and cats who make their home in alleyways with no owner to call their own.
Our arrival in Ubud marked my first encounter with the Balinese street dogs. Bright eyed, with bones protruding from their backs and hips, you can’t help but take a step back from your travels with a hurt heart at the plight of these innocent creatures.
The Balinese are a special people because they’ve shown me that wealth and consumption are not at the root of happiness and in fact, the poor, of which there are many, can enjoy the wealth of peace and joy that many Americans never will. But even still, poverty means that animals, especially the domesticated variety, that cannot survive without the help of humans, sometimes suffer.
These skinny dogs and cats usually have no collar. Their mangy fur coats are dotted with sores and other disease. Many are pregnant or have babies trailing them for food when they’re often too skinny to be able to produce enough milk for their offspring to survive. Spaying and neutering efforts lack because there isn’t enough money to support it.
The most terrorizing experience for me was when I heard a small kitten crying from beneath a coconut branch. As I approached, the kitten made its last dying breath toward me for help. Its eyes were wild with fear and covered in crust. There was no one around to help. The people in this tiny village too poor to worry about another human, let alone a street animal.
How You Can Help
Having witnessed this tragedy, it’s difficult to convey my sadness for these unlucky creatures. Here’s how you can help the Balinese street dogs and cats:
Donate to the Bali Street Dog Fund, an organization that’s dedicated to protecting these vulnerable animals through spaying and neutering as well as providing street dogs with medical care and love. You can help both dogs and cats by donating to the Bali Animal Welfare Association.
This post was originally published by Treehugger.