How we ended up Fostering a Dog in Bali
11 months ago, we quit our jobs and took off on a year long worldwide adventure – and never expected to foster a puppy and fall in love. Our first visit to Bali brought some incredible people into our lives: expats Jean Mario and Dana, who rescued 3 Bali dogs and teased me that I would succumb and also adopt a dog should we ever return. By a sudden change of plans we did end up returning for a longer 2 month stay as we waited to meet my parents in Japan.
A month into our stay our friends sent us photos of a 10 week old puppy they noticed outside a pharmacy. The workers found her by the Sukawati market (a common dog dumping ground) and were feeding her. Given her almost complete lack of energy and missing fur, our friends offered to take her to the vet and then return her. However they were concerned that the extra care she would need for a full recovery might not be met, so we volunteered to foster her during our stay.
A simplified reality of the Bali (stray) dogs
There is an overpopulation of dogs. The 2008 rabies outbreak negatively effected tourism and the government attempted to control the rabies by mass cullings, which garnered international outcry. The outbreak and the response damaged the relationship between humans and dogs. In response, Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA) teamed with the government to lead a mass vaccination as the alternate response to rabies; and in 2011 and 2013 there were additional mass vaccinations.
But due to fear of rabies, inability to afford pet healthcare, lack of sterilization and subsequent unplanned puppies, the act of poisoning or dumping dogs (and other pets) is fairly common. Typically Bali dogs suffer from skin conditions like mange, the highly contagious parvo, or motor accidents – all of which are treatable, though not all can spare the cost. Unlike western cultures, dog ownership here is sometimes communal, which can complicate responsibility for their care. Kept dogs are usually allowed to roam freely, which allows mating and contracting of diseases to occur very easily.
For those lucky pups that are rescued and recovered there’s the challenge of finding forever homes. Lots of expats or long term tourists come and try to rescue and foster but then eventually leave and are unable to take the dogs with them (exporting is expensive) which has led to completely overwhelmed care facilities and sometimes “re-dumped” dogs.
Trying to find a forever home for a rescued Bali dog
After just a few days with Kacang, we began to see improvement in her energy. With lots of attention, her medication and Carl’s especially nutritional food, Kacang started lifting her head and showed interest in playing. We snapped pictures every day and reached out to all the major Bali dog rescue organizations but they’re all overwhelmed and do not focus on rehoming. While posting on the many expat and dog related Facebook groups every other day, I saw just as many other posts looking for adopters for recovered rescued dogs. For weeks all we got were likes and encouraging comments on our posts, but no one interested in adoption. When we neared our final 3 weeks in Bali, we realized we had to make a decision soon.
We could leave Kacang at a boarding house and sponsor her boarding costs and sterilization until one of the organizations could help us find an adopter, but we were told the timeline would be unpredictable and that she wasn’t likely to be adopted if all her fur didn’t grow back. Or, we could look into bringing her back home.
Bringing a Bali dog home to the US
Bali currently has a closed door policy on animals (due to the rabies outbreak) but professional companies can bypass this by taking pets through Jakarta first (this is illegal to do yourself) but that adds to the process and its costs. We’ve already booked the remainder of our world trip, but the timing works out that Kacang will require one more month in Bali for her rabies vaccine to take effect, so we’ll be heading home about the same time. We’d love to bring Kacang home to California with us, but cannot do it alone: we started a GoFundMe to help cover her export costs, if you can help at all, it would mean the world to us and Kacang.
Requirements for importing dog from Bali to USA*
- 15 weeks of age (3 months old + 28 days Rabies vaccine to take effect)
- Vaccinations: rabies and distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza virus (DHLPP)
- Dogs who are 15 months or older must show a history of previous rabies vaccinations (with the first given after 3 months old) and have a record of all booster rabies vaccinations. As long as rabies vaccinations have been kept current, dogs with a history of previous rabies vaccinations do not need to wait 4 weeks before traveling.
- Rabies titer test is not required to enter
- Screwworm Inspection, Tapeworm Treatment
- Import Permit, Health Certificate
- Non-Commercial Import of Puppies
- Puppies entering the United States for non-commercial reasons from certain countries must be vaccinated for rabies at 3 months of age and wait for 28 days before entering the country. In certain cases, pre-approval for home quarantine can be obtained from the Center for Disease Control for unvaccinated puppies entering from non-rabies-free countries
Pet Transport Company Quotes
We reached out to some of the most recommended pet transport companies, especially by those mentioned in the Bali dog and expat groups and who’ve successfully exported their dogs out to the States and Europe. Below is a table with information provided via email by the companies, some were much more forthcoming with information than others and you can see how great the price difference is depending on taking the pet as baggage (much cheaper) versus cargo. Based on their excellent reviews, thoroughness in communication and affordability, we’ve decided to go with Animal Express Jakarta. If you can help at all, please visit our GoFundMe to help us bring Kacang home.
|As checked baggage|
|ANIMAL EXPRESS Jakarta|
*Quote excludes any import fee or custom tax occurred in SFO, flight ticket for passenger and pet excess baggage
*There will be additional charge of IDR1.000.000 for departure on weekend, public holiday, and weekdays between 8 pm - 11 am.
*Excludes Passenger flight ticket from Jakarta to USA
and excess baggage for your dog from Jakarta to USA
|As unaccompanied cargo|
|Indoanimal Travel||$1813||You can split the Jakarta transport car, which we are doing with 2 other dogs. Indoanimal Travel also gave us an additional discount, bringing us closer to $1750.|
|Jetfast||$2985||The journey will take 3 days as it is too dangerous & stressful for our pets to travel at night,we have 2 secure rest houses whereby we feed & exercise & then rest for early starts.
Once we arrive in Jakarta , they stay in our pet hotel for 2/3 days whilst we prepare all the export documents & health certificate to enter the U.S with you, we then meet you with your pet at Jakarta airport check in 3 hours before your flight to assist.
we can hold later if you require but a boarding charge per day of $10 USD will apply.
We will need payment 21 days prior to departure from Bali, we have two options for payment a) Bank account in the U.S or by 'Credit Card'.
|ANIMAL EXPRESS Jakarta|
*Quote excludes any import fee or custom tax occured in SFO.
*There will be additional charge of IDR1.000.000 for departure on weekend, public holiday, and weekdays between 12 pm - 12 am
|~$2,438.81||For her transport Bali-Jakarta it will be a 3 days trip. There are several stops during the trip so our driver can feed and walk the dogs. Our driver has been experienced with cats and dogs for many years, we can assure you that your pup is in good hands 🙂.
Your dog will need to be present in Jakarta at least 3 days prior to departure date so we can finalize all the export paper including the government Health certificate for her travel.
Your dog will stay in our pet hotel during the transit in Jakarta.
Yes we can implant the microchip as well once the dog reaches Jakarta, price is IDR200.000.
|Seven Heaven||$3640||For pets in Bali, as you might have known, Bali is a restricted area for dog or cat. Dog or cat is not allowed to leave or enter Bali due to the high Rabies issue. The only way to bring your dog leaving Bali to Jakarta is by overland transportation. This is important to know and aware that is illegal and also only can be done by the professional. We have done this land transportation from Bali to Jakarta or the reverse way back from Jakarta to Bali (or many cities outside Bali) for more than 11 years. Every pets has been successfully entering and leaving Bali into their final destination safely and with healthy conditions.
For the Private Car transportation, we have fix schedule twice a month (at the beginning of month and at the middle of month). We will be using Private Car with fully of Air Conditioner, and your dog will be assisted by our professional Pet Care during the 2 days trip to Jakarta (depends on the traffic). The ride will be started on 11 AMand finished on 6-7 PM everyday. Aside from those time, we will take your dog rest with us inside the hotel along Java. We have only 4 vehicles for bringing dog(s) and cat(s) on every trip. Please noted that our transportation is a Private Car, not a Public Transportation therefore we can ensure your dog will be much more comfortable and safe.
Our car is private car and we don’t get your dog together with any other pet inside the car. Only your dog is going to stay inside the car along the ride, accompanied by 1 private assistant that will provide anything he needs during the ride until Jakarta and 1 professional driver. Both of the assistant and driver that have been working with us for more than years and have excellent experiences with handling & driving with pets inside the car. Because your pet(s) convenience and health is our main priority.
Availability of the cars on October 2019:
1). 7th October 2019: 1 Car Available (3 Cars Reserved)
2). 17th October 2019: No Car Available (4 Cars Reserved)
**There is an additional cost Rps. 3,000,000,- /pet from the quoted price, If you have any special requested date of departure from Bali to Jakarta aside from our regular monthly schedule. Term & conditions applied depends the availability of our vehicles.
For using our Private Car Transportation, please kindly make a reservation at least 2 months before your prior of departure date from Bali (Depends on the availability of the car).
How to help Bali dogs
Now this is not a lost cause. There are lots of organizations and solo rescuers fighting this battle with education and animal care. The biggest needs are that of sterilization, vaccinations and the adoption of the rehabilitated animals. These are the following organizations I came across during my research.
BARC: A no kill shelter with a mission to raise awareness by provide education, expand ‘dog squad’ to enforce animal protection laws, provide sterilization, and run a basic clinic and are creating a multi-species sanctuary known as ‘Warrior’s Legacy’. You can fund a sterilization day for only $300 — they can provide free sterilization to 15-20 dogs/cats to locals who can’t afford it.
BAWA: practices humane population control, disease control and runs intensive education and advocacy programs for sustainable improvement to animal welfare now and into the future. BAWA will respond to alerts of any animal in distress with a 24/7 hotline and ambulance.
Mission Pawsible: Their mission is to support, educate, inspire and activate individuals to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home animals in need, lower euthanasia rates, reduce the dumping and put puppy mills and backyard breeders out of business. Their website is a great resource for those rescuing or caring for dogs.
Bali Dog Halfway House: Their mission is to help our solo dog rescuers care for their rescued dogs by providing a temporary and safe place to stay until adoption.
Lucky Dog Rescue Bali: Solo rescuer who homes 12 dogs and has 20+ in her lucky dog rescue centre/hotel.
ACT 4 Bali Dogs: “Just 2 girls and a house full of dogs!” They focus on rescue, rehab, rehoming, vaccination, sterilization, and education.
Angels of Paws Bali: A solo rescuer who shares her home with over 20 rescued dogs and 4 rescued cats. She works full time with all these animals and many more so they have safety, vet care, food, rehabilitation, and training to be adopted.
What do I do if I find a dog in need
If you’re vacationing in Bali and come across a dog that looks like it needs help, try contacting BAWA via info[at]bawabali.com or dwi[at]bawabali.com for an emergency rescue. They are often unable to respond immediately but are best for helping critical animals. The next line of defense will come from the community and solo rescuers. There’s a great list of Facebook groups compiled by Mission Pawsible on this page: missionpawsible.org/rehome-rescue-pet where you can try to connect to people nearby that might be able to help, typically more so financially than physically. If you decide to foster the dog yourself, keep in mind that it will not be easy to find an adopter, especially if you do not have a lot of time. The best route for those who cannot fully commit is to allow the local organizations to handle the rescue. Also be aware that despite your best intentions you may encounter those keyboard warriors on the Facebook groups so steel your hearts and focus on the main thing.
Since we met Kacang, it has been an intense but incredible month and we couldn’t have planned a more special way to end our year long adventure and begin this new one as fur parents to this little hitchhiker. If you can’t wait to meet Kacang or see more of her on our adventures, please visit our GoFundMe and help us bring her home!