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Jakarta Canine Nightingales

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Arriving in Jakarta, as a committed and infinitive country bumpkin expat who had never lived in a “Big City” before, I coined the phrase “throwing one in at the deep end” which fit perfectly for me. Confusion, shock, difficulty breathing and flailing around of arms and legs trying to keep head above water ensued for the first few initial months. Thankfully I found my stroke and began to swim in a happier more confident style as time went by.

But this story is not about my struggle to float and swim in the currents and tides of a city that’s awash with diverse culture, wonderment and kaleidoscopic lifestyles. It’s about a Jack Russell who sampled some great kindness from a number of Indonesian people.

My name is Friendly – I am a jumping Jack Russell. I arrived in Jakarta to meet with my family in October last year. My family did not have a home to stay in yet so I was sent to stay at a boarding house for canine types such as myself. I thought I would be sad as I had watched animal planet and had seen stories of poor abandoned types like I now felt myself, being chained up, underfed, treated cruelly and left to howl all night by such institutions!

I was nervous on arrival at my new temporary home. What a surprise! When they opened the van to take me out there was a beautiful Indonesian lady with long black hair and a voice that reminded me of a heavenly, tasty bowl of honey laden porridge that I sometimes got as a treat from Mistress when Master was away. I was carried to my living quarters by this angel, all the while having my ears and neck tickled by angel face. Some times people did not like me because I jump a lot, lick and snap when tired and cranky but these people were very friendly and did not take unkindly to my little idiosyncrasies.

My quarters were large, spacious and very clean and I had a shiny coated Labrador neighbour who was a sterling sort of fellow although he had bad dog breath so it was best to keep my long, super powered nose in the opposite direction when having long late night chats. In short we were treated like the pedigree royalty that we were with regular walks, good housekeeping and enough food which often had tasty ayam mixed in it. Love and affection in fur loads was never in short supply from our angelic caretakers!

It was time to go to my new home. I was excited and sad at the same time. On arrival I noted many new faces around. We had a driver a maid and a security guard. They all welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like a Great Dane. I was king of the hill. Company all day, ear tickling, walks on demand by the staff – what friendly humans.

Not long after settling in I became very ill. My master and mistress were away but angel maid noticed I was not feeling well as I was not able to jump up and sample a little of her daily plate of ayam that she usually left on the kitchen counter for her lunch.

Driver man was away too so there was no car to take me to the dog hospital. No problem. Angel maid took a soft blanket and wrapped me up like a baby and hoisted me on to her motorbike, strapped me to her font with a big belt and whisked me off to the vet. Even though I did not feel well I found the ride exciting and exhilarating – I had never been on a motorbike before! I bet I looked a sight with my ears flapping in the wind!

The vets were kind, gentle and thorough in their care. I was extremely ill though and had to be put in a special cage with a drip. The special care lasted two weeks but the deadly strain of bacteria which I had picked up from tasty rat faeces was too clever and strong for my tiny body.

I am in heaven now but would like to say that even though my “dog’s life” was cut short by circumstances beyond anyone’s control there is a happy side to this story. I got to meet some of the most caring, canine friendly people ever here in Jakarta and for that I am grateful.

Sometimes lack of empathy and indifference become equated with big cities where there is a large concentration of busy, stressed people. Humanity can get lost in the hustle and bustle of daily life. This was not the case in my Jakarta experience and just goes to show that in every landscape of society whereever you are in the world there are always “hearts of gold” to be found amongst the people.

Thank you my Jakarta Canine Nightingales!
All names have been changed to protect identities”

© Rushing Doll

Housing and schooling information for expats in Indonesia expatriate website for Indonesia Indonesian language translation of article

Practical Information for foreigners, expats and expatriates moving to Indonesia - find out about housing, schooling, transport, shopping and more to prepare you for your stay in Indonesia

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