All dogs go to heaven, that's what my friend Mia said, in grief. Yesterday she and her husband Tom lost their beloved puppy Jessie. The cute white dog, which is a cross between a Kintamani and a Beagle (I think), was found laying near the gate of their home in Bali yesterday morning, breathing heavily. Before they reached the vet, Jessie had gone.
The vet said that looking at the symptoms: difficulties in breathing, foam in the mouth, incontinence and spasm, it's a case of poisoning. You'd think: what kind of animal would poison an adorable puppy? Sadly, this isn't the first case.
A long time ago in my parents home in Jakarta I owned a puppy, a cute little kampung dog a.k.a mongrel, kept in our front yard, barking at people on the alleyway in front of the house. One morning we found her dead. Somebody had thrown a poisoned piece of meat into the garden and she ate it and died.
The reason? I believe it's because that person (or persons maybe) didn't like her for barking too much. I blamed myself of course. I shouldn't've brought any dogs home. Maybe I had offended my neighbours by having a dog. In an area with people having trouble putting food on their table, having a dog is probably insulting. Also a lot of our neighbours would consider a dog haram or unclean. So a dog, especially a feisty one like mine, is probably not very welcome. Or I should've trained her to stop barking at people, educated her to be a good citizen dog, so nobody had any reason to complain. But I didn't know it back then.
Then as a student me and some friends owned another mongrel in Yogya. Kampung bitch as she was, she got herself pregnant and we were left with 4 fatherless puppies. Not having enough to feed even ourselves, we gave away two of the bundles of furs and kept the other two and the mum. One day the mum went missing. She went out as usual in the morning and never came back. In anger and frustration we looked fruitlessly around the area for her. We suspected she was kidnapped by people who eat dogs. Yeah, shockingly, sadly, some people here eat dogs and as anywhere in the world, some would steal for their meal.
So with all those dangers abound, you think we shouldn't be owning any dog? Well, my fiance and I own a dog. An adorable happy and healthy little daschund called Chocolate. She lives with my fiance in Jakarta, kept in the house and the walled garden, so she is safe. We take her out for walk in the neighbourhood once in a while. Some people don't notice her at all, some get curious, some were afraid of her but some other say hello and want to pet her.
I think that while the tradition of raising household pets is not really a part of the Indonesian culture yet, and treating a dog as part of the family is still a foreign concept for many Indonesians, the situation is changing, especially in big cities. I know quite a number of friends who own purebred dogs and many more who treat the dogs as part of their family.
While still not at the level of the western world, I think there's a growing number of serious dog lovers in Indonesia. You can see a lot of pet shops now in Jakarta, with the major clientele consist of Indonesians who own dogs. Supermarkets carry dog food and toys. Even gourmet and premium dog food are easy to find. Vets are many. Online communities for Indonesian dog owners are growing. Dog competitions are held more often. And purebred dogs are often seen walking with their owners on the streets. There's a growing number of dog lovers in Indonesia.
And that's why we all, Mia and Tom's friends, feel deeply for their loss of Jessie. We know that she was a big part of their life. And I can't imagine if Chocolate is taken away from our life. I'd be crying day and night like Mia did. For me and my fiance, Chocolate is our baby, and when she dies when she's very old, she'll go to heaven. Like Jessie.
Jessie's photos: http://mesocute.multiply.com/photos/album/8
My own baby Chocolate: http://koeniel.multiply.com