Trading her WA home for Bali, Kim McCreanor works relentlessly for the betterment of street dogs’ situation. Mamta Bhatt chats to the everyday doggy hero who was recently awarded an International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Action Award for her inspiring work.
How long have you been working with dogs and how did you get started?
I began working with street dogs in 2005 when I lived in India. My family rescued two dogs from the street and from that point on I have had a connection with street dogs. I moved to Bali in 2010 to work with Bali Street Dogs and the Bali Animal Welfare Association. BAWA works with all animals, but primarily with the Bali Street Dog.
What does your work involve?
My role with BAWA is so varied and I never really know what I will be doing from one day to the next. I coordinate the international volunteers who come to BAWA and I also coordinate “special cases” – dogs or puppies that have been particularly cruelly treated. I manage these special cases following them from their initial report through to their rehoming by coordinating their care and treatment. It is an honour to travel their journeys with them, whatever their individual outcomes might be.
I also work with donors and other supporters, advising them of the ways they can help BAWA with our work.
What inspires you to do your job?
Knowing that every day the people that I work with are saving lives and are relieving the suffering of animals and knowing that if I wasn’t here doing my part then not so many lives would be saved. It’s a really good feeling.
What is the worst part of your job?
Feeling overwhelmed and powerless. So many animals need our help and we are so limited in what we can do. It is easy to feel helpless sometimes. Bali dogs have an innate ability to forgive. Regardless of what has been done to them they have the capacity to forgive – that brings me to my knees every time.
What is the best thing about working with dogs?
Everything! Dogs are the most amazing animals. They guard us and keep our families safe, they entertain us, they encourage us to exercise and they love us unconditionally. They are awesome companions and I am blessed to be able to work with them every day of the week.
Do you have pets of your own?
In Australia, I have an 11-year-old Scottish Terrier who lives with my daughters. His name is Bazil and he is a very special little guy. In Bali, I have the honour and pleasure of sharing my home with two Bali Street Dogs, Sultan and Pepe, both of whom are BAWA rescue dogs. They have both taught me so much, not only about the intelligence and integrity of the Bali dog, but also about the power of forgiveness and love. I admire them both so much.
How did you find out you had won the IFAW Action award and what does winning the award mean to you?
I actually found out by email. It took me about 10 minutes to work out that someone was not playing a joke on me! The award is an amazing honour. It means that not only the work that I do, but the work that everyone at BAWA does – especially our incredible Indonesian staff – is being recognised and valued outside of Bali. It’s a recognition of our entire team’s work.