ZAMBOANGA CITY—The story of Kabang is one more heartwarming take on the familiar theme of the pet dog as lifesaver.
Cousins Dina Bunggal, 11, and Princess Diansing, 3, were walking across Nuñez Extension on Dec. 14 not knowing that a speeding motorcycle was bearing down on them. At the crucial moment, Kabang, the Bunggal family’s dog, emerged from nowhere and jumped into the motorcycle’s path.
The cousins stumbled but were otherwise unharmed. The motorcycle driver, likewise unharmed, took them to hospital for treatment of their bruises.
Eyewitness Jovito Urpiano said Kabang (a Visayan term that means “spotty”) shielded the two girls from certain harm.
Urpiano was in an eatery on his noontime break from driving a tricycle and saw how Kabang stopped the motorcycle from hitting the girls. The dog’s head landed directly on the motorcycle’s front wheel, and as it rolled, her snout got stuck in it.
“I thought somebody threw the dog on the motorcycle, but I could not see anyone who might have done that,” Urpiano told the Inquirer. He said it later came to him that Kabang had intentionally blocked the motorcycle’s path to save the girls.
Rudy Bunggal, Dina’s father who works at a nearby vulcanizing shop, also saw how Kabang saved the lives of his daughter and niece.
“The bones holding her upper snout were crushed, and we could not do anything to save it. We just pulled her off the wheel,” Bunggal said.
Thus freed, Kabang ran away as fast as she could and went missing for two weeks. When she finally returned to the family home, she looked very different.
But her human family could not care less.
“It does not matter if she’s ugly now. What is important to us is she saved our children and we cannot thank her enough for that,” Bunggal said.
“Kabang is a hero,” said his wife Christina.
Milk and porridge
Bunggal said Kabang’s heroic act might have been triggered by her closeness to Dina and Princess.
He said he found Kabang as a puppy near the family home a year ago. “We raised her like she was ours. We gave her Bear Brand (a milk brand) and porridge,” he said.
Buying milk for the dog was a big deal for the family, according to Bunggal, because he and his wife, who sells candies, have a combined daily income of only about P150.
Christina said that as Kabang grew, she was fed the same food that the family ate. “We did not mind if she was an addition to our expenses. We regarded her as part of the family,” she said.
Bunggal said Dina and Princess always played with the dog. “They even sleep together,” he said.
He recalled that Kabang had no history of wandering outside the house, which was why, he said, “we could not believe she went out when she sensed that the girls were in danger.”
Veterinarian Anton Lim of the Tzu Chi Foundation said Kabang’s act of saving the girls showed that she was grateful to the family.
Back to old self
Lim has been treating Kabang for her injuries and has administered antibiotics so her wounds would heal faster.
Kabang now uses her paws to eat. She is back to her old self, and has resumed playing with Dina and Princess.
And she is expecting puppies, according to Christina.