After spending eight months in the U.S. undergoing two operations, a dog named Kabang has returned home to the Philippines to a hero’s welcome.
In December of 2011, in Zamboanga in the southern Philippines, the two-year-old dog saved the lives of two young girls by jumping in front of a speeding motorcycle. Kabang’s face was caught in the bike’s front wheel and her nose and the top of her jaw were torn off when the bike flipped.
Dina, one of the girls Kabang saved, is the daughter of the dog’s owner, Rudy Bunggal; the other is her cousin, Princess.
Kabang required surgery beyond what veterinarians in the Philippines could do. Karen Kenngott, a critical care nurse, helped to organize a fundraising campaign that raised $27,000 for her medical treatment. People from 20 different countries contributed and Kabang and Anton Lim, a local veterinarian, were flown to the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis.
As Care2 blogger Sharon Seltzer describes, Kabang required two surgeries. One focused on dental work while the second closed the large wound on her face to prevent dust and germs from entering her lungs. Heartworm and a cancerous tumor were also removed.
A statement from the hospital said that “there are no plans to fit Kabang with a ‘prosthetic snout’ or to replace her jaw.” The surgeries were meant, as Sharon writes, “to keep the dog from getting any infections from her wounds that would threaten her life, rather than worry about aesthetic beauty.”
After all she’d done and endured, Kabang was “an instant star” when she arrived back in her home country on Saturday. Television cameras and a crowd of fans awaited her at Manila International Airport. Kabang was taken to see a nearby mall and park that dog lovers frequent and dubbed the “Pride of Zamboanga” by the mayor. Authorities are also planning a short motorcade in Kabang’s honor.
“What we want is to make her an ambassador of dog good will, and to promote responsible pet ownership,” said Lim. “What we see here — she saved two lives, so the whole world actually came together to save her.”
Kabang was found two years ago, abandoned in a swamp, by her now-owner, Bunggal. He originally brought the puppy home with the intention of fattening her up and feeding her to his family.
Under the Phillipines’ 1998 Animal Welfare Act, “only cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, poultry, rabbits, carabaos, horses, deer and crocodiles” can be killed for food. Dogs can be killed for religious rituals or “when they endanger people or when it’s necessary to control their population.” But enforcement of the law is lacking, as thousands of dogs are slaughtered and eaten every year in the Philippines, despite government warnings about the risk of rabies and other diseases.
Certainly the family must be thankful that they kept Kabang. After Kabang was found, Dina and Princess, Bunggal’s daughter and niece, became attached to her and were able to keep her as a pet. The two girls named her Kabang, which means “spotty” or “different colors.” Thanks to one heroic dog who didn’t hesitate to put her life at risk, two young girls are alive today.
Photo via areforkabangfacebook