The Beach Dogs

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Loved by no one, loved by everyone

My regular beach visit started in 2013, the year I moved to Bali. On the first weekend after settling down, I went through the paper map (it was still a thing!) and picked a spot to explore nearby, Sindhu beach in Sanur.

The great thing about staying in Bali, good beaches are just around you. A little bit of travel and we could find one. So there I was, taking cab (no Grab, Gojek or own transportation yet) in the mid hot Bali sun, walking around the beach, smiling like nuts and being mistaken as foreigner. I remember seeing two dogs playing in the water and was so excited to be part of their pack. I approached them slowly and retracted when they were not so keen with strangers, as I know exactly how it feels, when they didn’t consider me as one of them yet, I would sit at comfortable distance. In fact, it took me a couple of visits before I finally able to get to know some wonderful beach strays. They are cautious, and there are good reasons for that.

Anyway, it’s too long story for another time. In brief: We, and especially since we adopted Locky, befriended dogs in Sanur for four years, being a regular every weekend and midweek. My pack was and still is the last time we checked in Hyatt (under renovation since forever). Starting 2017, our regular beach is Seminyak, more like Legian area. But we haven’t forgotten Sanur’s dogs and would visit them once in a while. They will have their own stories. If only, we have a piece of small property, when we could have free for all dogs pitstop where they could come for meal, drink and shade. One could dream.

We have our own reason to ‘move’ to Seminyak, falling in love as well when we visited the place while we had getaway nearby. It’s nothing like Seminyak or Legian at night. Early in the morning, it’s peaceful stretch of sand, sun, beach goers, surfers, dog lovers, and dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs.

There are many dogs, each with their own territory, some are nomads. Slowly we get to know their characters and preferences. We used to bring dry dogfood, not much, to spread around while we are walking. We and Locky cover a lot of distance, letting him unwind and having fun going to new places. We met horses and cows on the beach, but the highlights are dogs, dogs, dogs and dogs.

(Warning: In the next paragraph there will be mundane unfamiliar dog names mentioned. Eventually I’m hoping to be able to write about every single one of them, but for now, I’ll mention them as if everyone knows them well. Mostly, they are known by different names by others too).

Eventually we got more familiar with many of them. Dogs have excellent memory, I remember we only met Brenda once, and she remembered us the next time we came back to her area. And since then she magically appears randomly everywhere. We know the spot where Gracie and Daisy are, although they are moving away from their comfort zone happily strolling with us sometimes, where to find Roro and Rainbow (whom I called Foxy before knowing his name) with their unofficial gang of Sapi 2 and Brindle, where Marlon and Boy, Pinky and Rosie, and Molly, the one very dear to me, Arry and Cecil, Oneil and gang, Mami and gang, Trigger etc. We have come to know Mozzy, another Molly and many nameless ones. Many are strays, some have owners, some have unclear ownerships.

Anyway, it’s great having those friends and days on the beach are never dull. We got more attached to them and started bringing them more things and spending more times. We walk less, and do hopping as in spreading our time in different location and meeting different dogs.

Personally, as not a social person, it’s a perfect activity for me. In fact, I spend much more time hanging around with dogs than with friends, absentmindedly barking back at them when they misbehaved and wondering why people were staring at me.

Being the most loyal, genuine and wonderful creatures, most of the dogs that I know are there for you eventhough you are running out of food. They need the affection and company as well. It’s heartwarming when those big guys, who were cautious and didn’t want to go near us a first, now spreading on the lap demanding belly rub. Sometimes they look at us with those thoughtful beautiful loving eyes, while we pet their head and scratch the back of their ears, or falling asleep in our arm. It’s sad to think about how they end up on the beach, did someone abandon them? How could they? Did they grow up on the street? Have they eaten today? Are they in constant harm? Where do they go when there is firework or storm? Are they dreaming of home? Warm blanket, someone to curl around at night? It’s a thousand questions that sadly, there is only that much that we could do. The most torturous thing is when I don’t see some of them around, there are hundreds of worries and bad thoughts, hoping that they are okay and just miss a stroll around today.

Fortunately, dog community is strong, and we believe, those who care for the animals are good people. Eventually, there are fellow beach goers who started to talk with me, and slowly I get to know them and appreciate what they’ve done, all up and beyond what I do. I get to learn the dog’s name and some history, got update of news about them. It’s very easy for me to talk about dogs and relieving to know there are people who care for them and protect them.

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