Piko- my Balinese breed dog- became part of our family about 4 years ago as a clumsy little dog. From his look, nothing special about him. Dog of his kind is widely known –just for fun- as ‘balinese dalmatian’ because of the mix of black and white spots on their skin. He was given by a friend’s aunt who actually hesitant to let him go, and made me promise that I’ll take a good care of him.
In his young age, Piko is a hilariously fun dog to play with. His energy is unlimited. He loved it when I pretend to chase after him, he’ll go running like a mad dog. We’ll go on like that, running around the house until both of us out of breath and find our own source of water to drink, he drinks a lot, the habit that stays with him until today.
As the years go by, his character is easily known now. He performs well, as a night watch, with his husky and loud (I mean real loud) barking. Piko rarely bark, but once he does, there must be reason behind it. I believe so when I notice one of my neighbor’s dog keep barking from midnight until early in the morning- apparently without any good reason behind it. I mean what’s the bark for? Other dogs- Piko included- in our whole neighborhood are silent- not because they’re dead asleep, but I guess it’s just there isn’t enough reason to bark.
In his 4 years of age now, he rarely play the ‘mad-dog running’ like he used to, only when the mood comes then he play long enough with me like the old times. Piko slept all day and take his place on his mat at our veranda at night. Sometimes he jumped off the wall to go outside, take a walk for a while and back on his mat to perform his duty until morning comes. So even the gate is closed, he can always use the wall as his ever-open door to the street outside.
He’s a very calm dog, never disturbed us with his uncontrollable attitude that many dogs have when they’re hungry. He will wait patiently for his food to be prepared. No bark. If the food is smell so good to him or if it’s his favorite food, he will stand still or sit still but then we notice the drooling come from his mouth..
Piko never really like to be touched. We’re a dog lover and always enjoy the time to touch and hugged them for sometime, and never been ‘rejected’ before. He only can be tapped for a short time and then he just left! Unless-again- when the mood is good, he’ll stay a bit longer, and we really make the best out of that quality time.. He never wears any tag around his neck and never been tied up. So generally speaking, Piko is a free dog, in a pet term.
When the rabies become the hot topic of the day in Bali, the local government start a campaign for all dog-owners to give their pet a rabies vaccination. Although I always believe that the case of rabies in Bali is very much weaker than that in India-according to the amount of victims and the spread pattern- but the sanction for not giving vaccination worried me because dogs without vaccination tag will be straightly shot if they were found on the street, because then they were considered stray dogs.
One day there was a call from home in my office hour, to let me know that there’s a problem to give Piko vaccination. But of course I know this will be difficult. Piko is a free dog, never been tied or put in a cage, of course he will feel annoyed when a stranger try to give him a shot of vaccination. In our neighborhood, all the dog owners must bring their pet to the bale banjar or community hall to be given the rabies vaccination. Just to ‘bring’ him there, is not a doable thing. Impossible. Unless some people have those net that they use to capture stray dogs so the dogs can’t escape. But they didn’t have it. I lost almost half of my focus at work to think about this matter.
But then everything turned out to be fine, the officer came to our house, so no need to dragged Piko down to the community hall. Then my dad and the officer who will give the shot cooperate well to make it done. When my dad kind of calm him down by tapping his head and talk softly to him, the officer carefully put himself behind Piko and give the shot in a sudden. Feeling the pain, he jumped furiously but by that time my dad hold him tight so he can’t escape and voila, it’s done! We use another trick to put on the tag around his neck. We know that the tag will give him the hard time because he never wears one. Dad closed Piko’s eyes so he won’t see me approaching him with the tag and put the tag around his neck. He jumped off and run, and trying to bite the new thing surrounding his neck. We let him run away from the house, jumped off the wall to the street.
About 15 minutes or so, there he was, lying peacefully in his deep sleep with the tag around his neck, on the floor.. We’re so relieved to see this, and can put our mind at rest, that he won’t be captured by officers who seek for stray dogs without tags.
In a sense of dogs, to be tagged maybe a sad thing, to know that without tags people will consider them as a danger creature, not again a men’ best friend. But for the sake of their own safety while they take a walk for a while on the street to stretch their four legs, the tags are needed.
Now we only have to think of how to give him the second shot. Maybe he will be calmer in a 3 months time, or if he’s the same free-spirited dog, another ‘clever strategy’ is very much needed..