Often times, one thing leads to another. And few things make me smile more than when one positive thing leads to another positive thing — and ultimately alters the course of lives for the better.
Maëlle Girard and her boyfriend Gilles Manzato can attest to this first hand. After deciding to move to Bali, Indonesia, they discovered their lives would change in more ways than one.
One day, while on their way to purchase new furniture, they came across a pitiful animal hiding sadly in the grass alongside the road. To Maëlle, the dog looked like it was already dead, but boyfriend Gilles noted he thought he saw it breathing.
The couple drove on on their scooter, but simply couldn’t shake the memory of the lonely, abandoned dog on the side of the road.
After visiting the store, they decided to return to the same spot, and luckily discovered the dog was still there, this time trying to stand up. The dog was indeed alive.
A pivotal decision
That’s when they realized they simply could not leave it behind. Although new in the country and inexperienced with street dogs, they swiftly picked it up and brought it home.
They named the frail dog Ika, who had lost most of her fur to scabies.
“Our first plan was to hand her over to a rescue shelter, but we instantly fell in love with her,” Maëlle said. “I remember the first nights, her skin was so itchy she would scratch constantly and cry at the same time.”
For days, the dog was practically lifeless, moving only briefly to eat.
But nothing is as efficient of tender loving care — and Ika received plenty of just that from the compassionate couple. They treated her scabies and soothed her skin with coconut oil. Their efforts gradually proved effective and Ika was soon unrecognizable.
She began to get her gusto for life back and the couple were stunned and thrilled at just what a little character she was.
“Ika is definitely an alpha dog,” Maëlle said. “She has anxiety issues and doesn’t trust people easily but once you gain her trust, she can be the sweetest thing on earth. She is very loyal and protective.”
To their great dismay, the couple soon learned something that made their rescue all the more significant.
“A lot of people stopped me in the street and at temples to tell me that ‘my dog was very good for ceremonies,’ and I was naively proud of it,” Maëlle explained. “I later learned that brown puppies with a black face are sacrificed during ceremonies to appease the demons. So I’m even more glad I rescued her!”
But Ika’s rescue is only the beginning of this couple’s wonderful new journey in Bali.
Dobbie and company
They soon stumbled across a second, loveable dog, one they named Dobbie (after the Harry Potty character) due to her big ears and sad look.
Dobbie was simply relentless in her love for the couple.
“She would come running as soon as she heard the engine of my bike, [and] was always so happy to see me, jumping on the scooter to get some cuddles,” Maëlle said.
Maëlle took Dobbie to the vet, who treated her and recommended she be bathed weekly. Maëlle was quick to oblige. She brought her in every week for a bath, then released her back onto the street.
But one week, Dobbie simply refused to leave. And that was the end of that!
Now Ika and Dobbie are great friends, and new residents Maëlle and Gilles have made it an unforeseen part of their new life in Bali to help rescue further dogs.
Inspired by their two sweet four legged friends, they worked to adopt or foster as many street dogs as they could, soon adding to their “Bali Squad” foster fail Coco and one-eyed Chihuahua mix, Poe.
Each time a new dog was adopted into their loving home, the older Bali Squad members makes sure to be as welcoming as possible to the newcomers.
“Coco helped [Poe] so much to feel safe,” Girard said. “They are ALWAYS together. They sleep together, play together, hunt geckos and frogs in the garden all day together, and even eat from each other’s mouth sometimes.
What an incredible story of one small act of kindness leading to a whole new journey! Share to remind everyone that even the smallest, simplest act of compassion can lead to much greater things — even a whole new purpose in life!