An emaciated dog found wandering the streets of Bali is receiving desperately needed treatment after Australian animal lovers donated hundreds of dollars to help.
Weighing just 13.8kg at the time of his rescue on Monday, Bakso weighed half of what is expected for a labrador-sized dog.
Images shared to Yahoo News Australia highlight his protruding limbs and hollow eye sockets.
Bakso was starving and in desperate need of help when he was first spotted by Australian fitness influencer Bec Crossley in Ungasan, south of Kuta.
“I was going back from the gym and I saw this really skinny dog,” she said.
“I started crying when I first saw him. It’s the worst condition physically that I've seen a Bali dog in. It was just so confronting.”
Dog's Balinese owners too poor to buy medication
Disturbingly, Bakso was living opposite a Western-style cafe on Uluwatu Street and despite his condition, no one had seemingly offered to help.
His owners were broke due to the severe tourism downturn which occurred due to Covid-19 and they’d been unable to afford treatment for him.
“They loved their dog, but didn’t know who to reach out to for help,” Ms Crossley said.
“(His owner) kept reaching in her pocket and saying no money, no money. I said; 'That's okay. We, we will fund this'.”
Ms Crossley left Australia this year with her partner Jesse Kelly to use their established fitness industry profiles to raise awareness about animal welfare in Bali.
Along with helping Bakso, they’ve pledged to adopt two other dogs and saved an iguana that had been confined to a tiny cage.
Australians raise hundreds for Bali dog's treatment
Ms Crossley and Mr Kelly shared Bakso’s plight on social media prompting a man to message them offering to pay for his treatment.
“He said he'd be happy to cover the costs. He said hire a car, get the best care possible, and we can make this happen,” Ms Crossley explained.
The pair rushed the dog to Sunset Vet Kuta, and despite the surgery offering discounted treatment for stray animals the bill soon exceded $500.
He was found to be suffering from three illnesses - a blood parasite, a bacterial infection and distemper - with the latter to require ongoing care.
Unfortunately, that’s when the Good Samaritan who had offered to help disappeared. Desperate to raise funds to cover the costs, Mr Kelly turned to a Facebook group and asked for help.
“Getting hit with the full bill was a little bit confronting. We’re trying to work for the greater good and not overextend with one animal,” he said.
“So I put up a post on the Bali Bogans Facebook page, asking people to send donations to Sunset Vet, and within half an hour they had the money.
“We were just blown away at the generosity of everyone on that page; just the love of Australians for dogs really shone through.”
US woman vaccinating Bali's dogs
With donations now exceeding the $500 needed, extra funds will be put towards the animal welfare work undertaken by Jet Set Petz. The non-profit was founded by American expat Rhonda Lepsch after locals began dumping unwanted dogs at the diving business her husband started.
While Jet Set Petz has adopted hundreds of dogs since it began in 2011, Ms Lepsch believes rescuing animals isn’t the answer to solving Bali’s stray dog and cat problem.
“Initially we would get 80 animals a day and that went on for seven years,” she said.
“Now our program doesn't focus on rescue. That stuff is at the bottom of the waterfall, but if you want to affect change you’ve got to start at the top ... Otherwise everybody runs around like headless chickens trying to fix everything and it continues to be a never-ending problem.
“I help with vaccines, I help with sterilisation, I help with education," she said.
Jet Set Petz currently cares for 71 dogs. It has treated more than 5000 dogs through its sterilisation and vaccination catch and release program.
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