Brave Woman Works Desperately to Rescue Bali Dogs Left Behind on Volcano

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Bali’s Mount Agung volcano has been angry…and nearby communities have fled its wrath. Pura Besakih, the revered Hindu Temple that resides on the side, currently acts as a place where dogs left behind the fleeing are taken care of by a California woman and the organization she founded to rescue as many of the dogs as she can.

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The temple is typically full of thousands of tourists and food vendors but now is barren–except for the dogs who have relied on the kindness of the tourists to keep them going in days of past.

Janice Girardi has lived on the island of Bali for over 30 years. She fears that the volcano’s eruption is imminent, as residents have fled the tourist area for fear of being taken by the eruption that Mount Agung threatens. It last erupted in 1963, with a death toll of over 1,000 people, and since September 22 when authorities raised the volcano’s alert level to the highest it’s been, more than 140,000 people have just picked up and left.

Girardi has stayed behind, though she’s nervous. She stays because she is fearful for the dogs who have been left behind…now scared and starving and with no one to care for them or rescue them should the worst happen.

Tremors have increased in weeks past, and Girardi says that the stopping of the earthquakes is helping ease anxiety, but when the big quakes they’ve had were in full effect, she said people were running frantically down the mountain but dogs just ran amok, terrified of what was happening.

Girardi founded the Bali Animal Welfare Association and together with volunteers, she has been driving up the mountain to rescue animals roaming around, as well as those who were left behind, chained and destined to die should the volcano erupt.

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For now, the animals are cared for in a makeshift shelter that is actually a rented pig farm, and is already filled with over 70 dogs. They are currently working on a second shelter as people are realizing they don’t have to leave the dogs behind, but can bring them down to save them as well.

Girardi says she’s loved animals since she was little, and Bali surprised her because they’re not necessarily treated in the kindest, pet-like way she is used to. She said few would even give the poor dogs water, and that was so unusual for her.

And so…she does what she can, one dog at a time…and hopes the angry volcano keeps its wrath under control. She says that there is great need for help, and little press coverage for their plight, so if you’d like to donate you can do so through their site.