She arrived on my doorstep at 3 months old, a bundle of fluffy mischief and joy all rolled up together. The street vendor, who had rescued her from some unknown destination, took me for the softie I was and assured me she would grow to be a very small dog.
That first night she managed to escape the enclosure I had carefully purchased for small dogs to play in. Her climbing skills were evident from day 1, so when she managed to scale my 6-foot wall 1 year later, nearly landing on a passing motorcyclist, it shouldn’t have been any surprise! Yes, she had grown into a beautiful mix of Kintamani/Bali dog with large paws, long fluffy tail, and amazing jumping ability.
Wire netting was quickly installed around my front fence to avoid any future escapades of this magnitude. But escape she did often, racing through the gate ahead of me looking for adventure in the streets. I always managed to rein her back in, and finally we compromised with a daily morning walk to the beach to catch up with her friends, and explore the outside world.
Over the years we wove our lives around each other at home…time to eat, time to sleep, time to roll over on her back for tummy rubs, time to walk, time to sleep again …she was very creative with her use of time. On my return home from work each day I was greeted with enthusiastic face licks, and a bit of joyous chase and play to remind me what I’d missed all day without her. She loved Ketut and Made too, and shadowed them around my home, seeking out the sunny spots to rest in the verandah.
It was truly a dog’s life, almost to be envied without a worry in the world. Her sweet and trusting nature revealed itself in her clear shiny eyes, that would gaze in absolute devotion at me…the most beautiful person she’d ever laid eyes on, you would think!
So why couldn’t I protect her from that terrible day when she swallowed the poison outside my gate, like any other tasty treat she’d grown used to as reward for being her. Just hours before she had been a fun-loving, healthy, vital pet, and now there she lay, destroyed by an evil that she couldn’t have known. I am reeling with incomprehension that anyone would do this to such a harmless, trusting animal.
When will it stop? I’m left to bear the unbearable of a life without my friend and companion, while those responsible will never know the terrible results of their action on this one vulnerable animal lying buried in my front garden. I look out at the garden as I write this and can still see the flowers and incense-remains of the little Balinese ceremony I had with Ketut and Made to farewell a life well lived but cut short by such an evil act.
I blame ignorance, poverty and greed that drive such people to commit these horrible crimes, and I am only thankful that I know there are many Ketuts and Mades on Bali who love and care for what is happening to their island. The outpouring of love and concern from Balinese and expats alike fills me with a small hope that there can be change if enough of us speak out to turn the tide.
I was told 2 other dogs died that morning I lost Sasha; they were street dogs living by a warung. In the early part of the morning a witness saw men on a motorbike arriving, wearing black hooded masks, and carrying plastic bags in which they retrieved the poisoned dogs and carried them away. I’m only grateful they didn’t get my Sasha, and that I have her near me, her beautiful spirit one with the nature she loved in a shaded corner of my garden.
Sasha died on January 19, 2018, in Jl Kesari, Sanur. My hope is that many of us will tell their stories, and speak out against this unbearable crime against our beloved animals. I also hope no one else has to go through what I’ve experienced these past few days.