We speak to Linda Buller at dog sanctuary BARC #heroine
WHEN Linda Buller first arrived in Bali in 1985, she was shocked to see the condition of so many dogs on the island. At that time there were no vets, no clinics, no vaccines and no help for the animals.
Sick and injured dogs were left to roam the streets, and people would openly take their aggressions out on the animals. Linda left with the feeling that she had to do something, but she wasn’t quite sure what. It took her some time to return to the island, but when she did, she knew the time had come to take action.
“I didn’t physically go out looking for dogs,” Linda says. “It was like they were in front of me everywhere – they would place themselves in front of my motorbike or house. Almost as if they were saying ‘hey, here I am, take me home’.
“There was this one poor emaciated sick little animal that would curl up on the pavement, but nobody would help her. So I took her home and gave her a blanket and fed her properly, and she was so happy. From then on, I just kept collecting dogs.”
As Linda began to accumulate one dog after another, she quickly realised that her house was simply not big enough to hold all her furry friends. This prompted her to find a space that would function as a rehabilitation centre for dogs and other injured and destitute animals. She eventually found an abandoned gallery just outside of Ubud that fit the bill perfectly. Ebony Owens soon joined her in her efforts, and with the introduction of a dog sponsorship programme, the Bali Dog Adoption and Rehabilitation Centre (BARC) was born.
Since 2006, BARC has helped save thousands of street dogs from suffering, starvation, abuse and neglect. They have implemented vaccination and sterilisation services, education programmes in the local community, an adoption campaign and online sponsorship options. They also operate the Charity Shop that raises money for BARC and selected children’s charities in Bali.
In 2012, BARC teamed up with the Good Karma Vet Clinic, and today the BARC Good Karma Rehab Centre houses over 200 rescued dogs, puppies, cats, kittens, monkeys, iguanas, an albino hedgehog and Wally the pig.
BARC is currently running weekend adoption days around the island to raise awareness and find homes for their rehabilitated animals. In addition, they will soon be finished the Warrior’s Legacy Dog Sanctuary, which will be a home for unadoptable dogs with health or mental conditions, as well as an information centre and a place where people can come and stay knowing that their money will go towards helping the dogs.
For those who would like to lend a paw to Bali’s street dogs, there are many ways to help out BARC. Donations are always welcome in the form of funds, food, medical supplies, and second-hand goods for the Charity Shop. In addition, you can sponsor a dog online, foster or adopt a fur baby, or volunteer your time and skills at the clinic or rehabilitation centre.