We met with Prue Barber of Mission Paws'ible to find out how The Healing Centre is set to transform the lives of neglected dogs and cats in Bali...
If you’ve been to Bali, you no doubt spotted a scarily skinny cat searching for food, or a sad-looking street dog with missing fur and a head full of fleas. With very few animal facilities and a lack of education around animal welfare on the island, Bali is unfortunately overrun by homeless dogs and cats that need our help.
And despite the numbers spiralling out of control, there are a number of animal charities and solo rescuers here in Bali that have committed their lives to animal rescue. One of those is Prue Barber, the dedicated and passionate founder of Mission Paws’ible. Mission Paws’ible is a non-profit organisation that’s on a mission to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home neglected dogs and cats in Bali. For almost ten years, they’ve been transforming the lives of countless animals who – without their help – would no doubt have died.
But that’s not all. Now, Mission Paws’ible is gearing up to open Bali’s first-ever animal healing centre in Tabanan – the first of its kind on the island. So, we sat down with Prue to talk about this game-changing new project, and her tireless commitment to animal welfare in Bali.
Hey Prue! Can you tell us more about Mission Paws’ible?
Mission Paws’ible was established in 2015 with the intention to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home homeless, abused and/or neglected dogs and cats in Bali. It has grown over the years to include community programs such as free sterilisation and vaccination for Bali dogs and cats, as well as encouraging and guiding everyday people how to rescue, re-home and treat animals they may find.
You’re our hero! But what impact do you think you’ve had in Bali?
To track our impact in Bali animal welfare is hard to pin-point. With so many stray animals, so many animals being dumped daily (either as infants or adults) plus the never-ending puppy purchasing by uneducated community members (who then breed their animals or do not fully understand what it costs for the basic care of animals) – it’s truly a never-ending issue with no beginning or end point.
Our primary mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home animals, coupled with education, activation and empowerment of the community. Everyone can do something if they really want to, and we have had huge success in empowering animal lovers to take action when they see animals in distress or need medical help. People who so badly want to help are grateful for the guidance we can provide, rather than just expecting us to save them all, which is impossible.
You’re about to open Bali’s first ever Healing Centre – can you tell us what it’s all about?
We are SO excited to have this dream become a reality. I’m truly blown away that we have not only raised the funds thanks to our incredible donors, but that we are about to open the doors! It’s been a dream of mine to be more hands-on during the rehab phase, but my home (and me) can only cater to so many at one time.
The Healing Centre is not a shelter. It will be a place for sick and injured animals to heal in a holistic manner. We are very passionate about quality over quantity, to give every animal that comes through our doors the best chance at a healthy and happy recovery.
Beyond rehabilitating animals, what sets The Healing Centre apart?
The Healing Centre is focused on holistic healing with integrative medicine when required. We are focused on the five senses of the animals: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. Therapy music will play, calming essential oils will float through the centre, the dogs will enjoy daily oil massages for the their skin and/or injuries and they will gobble up nutritional raw food diets coupled with homemade organic bone broth. Additionally, we have indoor and outdoor areas and places to interact with others (once fully vaccinated and trained with our staff) to be sure they are truly ready for their forever home.
Our fully integrative approach allows these animals to heal naturally which has proven to be just as quick as pharmaceutical treatments. The difference is, we have a much healthier (and happier) animal when it’s time to be re-homed.
What are the main benefits of holistic healing, and how can it help our own pets?
There are so many benefits to holistic healing, and we are so excited to showcase our approach across social media platforms by providing comprehensive care for animals addressing their physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
In today’s world, many are turning to holistic treatments for their pets because it takes a comprehensive approach, considering an animal’s overall well-being and utilising therapies like acupuncture, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, homeopathy, nutrition, and chiropractic care.
Unlike traditional medicine that sees diseases as separate from the animal, holistic care prioritises whole-body well-being, encompassing physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Holistic care also emphasises prevention, aiming to prevent disease and provide compassionate care for those already affected.
At The Healing Centre, we will focus on natural remedies, nutrition, exercise, and non-invasive treatments with minimal side effects – just as we have done for many years in our private homes, thanks to our small, dedicated team that ensures personalised attention for each animal.
What are the main challenges you face as a rescuer here in Bali?
The main challenge we face is the sheer volume of animals needing help versus the number of people to care for them. If we can’t work on a sustainable and effective program (ideally with the governments support) the issue of overpopulation will not be resolved.
In a perfect world, what’s the answer to Bali’s epidemic of homeless animals?
I believe the answer would be mandatory registration and sterilisation of all pets, a strict registry for people wanting to breed for sale, and harsh consequences for those that step outside the guidelines.
I think it’s horrendously unjust that the many people trying to save and protect the domestic animals are fighting an uphill battle against people buying, breeding and not sterilising their animals, then selling them for profits to people who have no knowledge (and possibly no funds) to care for a pet. We (the charities or solo rescuers) end up saving them or helping them at the cost of donors who love animals. It just doesn’t make any sense.
Once The Healing Centre is up and running, what’s next? Or how do you see The Healing Centre evolving?
The Healing Centre has been a mammoth task, but we won’t be stopping there. We will be taking a breather to get the centre running efficiently, and then we tackle the next project – Unleashed Dog Park.
The ‘UnLeashed’ dog park will be the first purpose-built Pet Centre / Community Hub with 100% profits being reinvested into community programs helping animals in need. We have 1700 square-metres ready to develop once we have the funding.
Additionally, we have been working on an app to help people rescue and identify animals they find in Bali, which we plan to roll out before the end of the year. We then hope to get our first mobile vet on the road in 2024 to help those needing medical support onsite.
Where can we donate to support The Healing Centre?
You can buy a personalised plaque for $111 (angel number!) that will feature in The Healing Centre, or business’ can get involved for more perks. We also have lower amounts that significantly help in making The Healing Centre a reality. At this stage, we still need to raise AU$20,000 for the fit-out and hope to have everything in place by the end of 2023.
For all other donations, you can donate via the website – all donations made in Australia or the USA are tax deductible,
We’ve spotted Mission Paws’ible on global platforms like The Dodo – how does international exposure like this support Mission Paws’ible?
The international exposure across any media platform is ideal for growing our animal lover community base who, ideally, convert to donors at some point. We’ve been featured in an array of media across the globe and we see donations coming in from all countries. In the coming months and in 2024, we hope to have even more exposure to further our mission to help the animals and people of Bali. Stay tuned for that!