Mt Agung continues to rumble. Aside from steam escaping from a vent way up high, it looks like a sleepy mountain. Then there’s the constant rumblings – averaging 800-900 a day, and when looking at seismic activity on paper, it’s obvious that ‘sleepy’ is not a word to describe Agung.
We had heard many stories of how, when fleeing the ‘danger zone’, which is a 12 km circle around Agung, understandably people had to leave their livestock behind, and also their pets. We are on day 10 of high alert now, and the rush is on to go back and save as many of the animals as possible. It’s risky because Agung could blow at any moment, but a single cow is worth so much to a family. The average Balinese family has an income of 1,500,000 IDR a month – thats a little over $100! A cow makes all the difference in the world. Land owners are also rushing in each day to tend to and harvest crops to sell. It’s their only income.
We heard of a group of people called BARC, that are like the SPCA of Bali, that had secured temporary shelters and were frantically trying to go back up Agung and save any pets they could. These animals – mostly dogs and cats were starving to death, and so far a couple hundred have been brought to an area 10 km from Agung, while about 7000 are still up there. 2000 of them are in areas that can be reached and the other 5000 are where no one is allowed to enter till after the eruption. The twins, Jude, Jordan and I, hopped on the scooters and rode 2 butt numbing hours to the shelter, where we volunteered for a while.
Dogs in all colors and sizes lay around, ran around, growling, barking, playing, fighting, passing time and I’m sure, thoroughly confused.
Those that ran the shelter had placed different colored collars on the dogs and marked on them the location they’d been found. A few loving owners had actually dropped their dogs off at the shelter, hoping to see them again once the dust (and lava) has settled. Trouble makers and females in heat are in cages, and bark constantly.
Some look like they have had it pretty rough,
while others are up to nothing but mischief!
We cuddled and scratched,
And played and petted.
They loved all the attention.
Feeding time was interesting because all the bowls are filled and have to be placed on the ground at the same time or fights erupt! So we each carried towers of filled bowls and on command, quickly placed them on the ground all over the shelter to keep the dogs apart while they ate.
They love their rice, chicken heads and dog food mixture!
When bellies were full, we cuddled and stoked them as some fell asleep…loving the love and attention.
Such precious little creatures.
This little guy craved attention so much. He placed his head on my lap and didn’t want me to stop cuddling him.
We stayed as long as we could – all the while praying Agung stayed quiet since we were in the danger zone.
I don’t know if we really made a difference…
At this point I’m sure we are long forgotten and they continue to be there – afraid and confused, but maybe, just for a moment we brought them a little joy. A little love.
The group are trying to find another location to move the entire shelter to, so that they are out of the danger zone. In the mean time, Stanley is slowly but surely fattening up here at home, and is such a sweetheart.
We have also become foster parents to a dog named Angel, who is dying of kidney failure and has a broken leg. He looks rough and doesn’t want to touched. He was found 2 weeks ago and has been stuck in a small cage at a veterinary office.
When I heard about him I just couldn’t stand the thought of him living out the rest of his days – be them 2 or 20, in a cage. So, he’s here with us, being fed, protected and shown lots of love. Just last night he allowed Mycah and I to pet him for the first time. The vet said he’s comfortable right now, but when he acts like he’s in pain, or if he starts to vomit, it’ll be time to put him down.