Posted on November 22, 2013

Mum Jaime Woodall describes BAWA’s impact on the lives of her daughters and what Maya, 9, did for Bali’s animals…

For the Love of Dogs by Jamie Woodall

I have been sitting on this story for a while. Since April 20th, to be exact. But BAWA needs our help more than ever before and so I have decided to share it in hopes that other young people will be inspired to do what they can to help the cause.

Let me preface the story by sharing a little about how BAWA has impacted our lives, and specifically, the lives of my children (Maya, 9, and Sacha, 6). As anyone who has lived in Bali for a while knows, we are confronted daily with the sight of suffering dogs. I have never shied away from tough subjects with my kids, but have always strived to empower them with tools to make change. In this case, we talked at length about the best way to support sick and injured Bali dogs. We visited BAWA and read up about the different programs they have implemented. And, we talked about the fact that such organizations need money to do their work. Soon enough, while riding around on our bikes, my kids would exclaim, “Mama, we need to call BAWA about that dog.”

We came to develop “relationships” with specific dogs we would see regularly in certain places. “Snowy” was a big, skinny dog who always seemed listless and was riddled with mange. Snowyʼs skin was red and scabby and she was clearly starving although she appeared to have a “home” in someoneʼs entrance gates. After a call to BAWA, Snowy started getting on site treatment, and we were even sent photos of her progress once in a while. Within months of onsite treatment, we noticed Snowy growing her white fluffy fur back, gaining weight, walking around and looking much healthier. My son claims he even saw Snowy chasing his tail. What my kids were learning was the direct correlation between supporting an organization and the results of their work on the ground.

Later, we spotted a small black dog near Sibang Kaja with a horrific, infected wound. Again, we called BAWA and sure enough (after a few scanned maps and descriptions of the area and the dog) along with the persistence of several BAWA staff and doctors, they found the dog, took it for treatment, and a few weeks later, the dog was back at “home” and healed completely.

We have many stories like this and some much more difficult than others.In every case, BAWA came to the rescue without fail. As my

daughter continued to witness the great work of the staff and doctors at BAWA, she decided that she wanted to do something to help. She knew some other kids who had asked for donations instead of gifts at their parties, so, with her 9th birthday approaching, she decided to throw a fundraising fashion show to support BAWA. So, on April 20th, the glittering disco ball was raised high over the pool, splashing light across the garden. We built a bamboo “catwalk” across the pool, leading to a (coffee table) stage where the “models” could flaunt their best designs. We set up change rooms in the washroom and a red carpet leading out to the audience through a shimmering curtain.

Each boy and girl had been instructed to turn up at the party with 4-5 outfits to wear in the show. Girls donned fun makeup and colorful accessories and the boys threw on funky fedoras and bandanas.

Parents were invited to come for the final hour of the party and to make a donation, in lieu of birthday gifts, to see the fashion show. Each was given a Media / Paparazzi pass and even checked by a burley bouncer at the door. And of course, they were all encouraged to show up with flash cameras for full effect!

The song list kicked off and the first models made their way down the runway. Everyone was shy at first, nervously skipping out in pairs and threes, but with parents clapping and cheering, soon each was keen to have their turn twirling on stage. One by one they strode out in their haute couture – strewn with jewels and gloves and smudged lipstick – and playing the part in fabulous form. At one point, I left my spot as MC and peeked back into the change room to see dresses and hats and scarves flying into the air with the changes and kids having an absolute blast.

After a grand finale, with everyone on stage, there was a last thank you to all who had come and contributed to BAWA. A bit later, after everyone had gone home, I peeked around the corner to find Maya quietly in her room trying to count up all the rupiah they had raised. With a bit of help, she tallied it at 1,530,000 IDR and told me, “This was the best birthday ever.”

A big thank you you Emunah, Kayla, Kaila, Lochlan, Seth, Sofia, and their parents for the donations! Thanks to Maya and Sacha for being such creative, fun and compassionate kids. And, thank you, BAWA, for all you do to help Bali Dogs….