Ubud, Bali – Twelve-year-old Agung Dewi likes to play with her dogs when she gets home from school. The little girl and her family have adopted 29 street dogs in the past two years, providing them with a kinder life, food and shelter in their small house in the village of Mas, lying outside of the city of Ubud, on the island of Bali in Indonesia.
The story of Agung Dewi and her dogs began when she was treated in hospital for food poisoning in 2014. Her condition was dire, and she was unable to eat anything during her two weeks in hospital, her father, Oka Yasna recalls. One day, while on his way to the hospital he saw a cute black stray dog, and took it with him to cheer up his daughter.
“I told her, ‘Dewi, I brought you a dog, don’t you love it?’ and I put the dog beside her.” She responded right away, the father says. She threw up, then sat up with a smile and hugged the dog, and asked for food. She recovered soon after and went home, taking the dog with her.
Agung Dewi believes that the dog, which she has named Selip, saved her life and she began adopting other strays she met in the village.
Balinese efforts to cull the island’s stray dog population following outbreaks of rabies since 2008, often using what are considered cruel methods such as shooting or poisoning, have led to an outcry by animal rights groups.
“We don‘t like the way they prevent rabies by killing the dogs,” Agung Dewi and her dad agree.
A vaccination campaign for the dogs, has reportedly brought the disease under control in recent years.