ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—The one-year-old dog here whose face was horribly disfigured when she saved her young masters from being hit by a speeding motorcycle two months ago, has become a celebrity of sorts.
Kabang, a white-and-black “aspin” (short for asong Pinoy or native dog) shielded Dina Bunggal, 11, and cousin Princess Diansing, 3, from harm when she jumped into the path of the motorcycle. But her head got caught in the spinning front tire, causing her to lose her entire upper snout, including her nose and lower part of her eyelids.
The dog also had a miscarriage after the incident in December last year, according to Dina’s mother, Christina Bunggal.
City Veterinarian Mario Ariola told the Inquirer that Kabang’s story generated reactions, including on the Internet, “where many people got interested.”
Her deed has been described as heroic and her resulting plight has drawn a wave of sympathy.
Despite the still open wound on her face, Kabang (a Visayan term that means spotty) is not showing any sign of trauma, according to Ariola.
“She was very calm, friendly and submissive when she was brought to our clinic,” he said.
In fact, a medical checkup on Tuesday showed Kabang is almost two months pregnant. “(W)e are hoping she can give birth after the accident,” the veterinarian said.
The dog’s owner, Rudy Bunggal, said the checkup done by Ariola was Kabang’s first since she was fished out from a swamp a year ago.
“She has become a superstar. People come here to have their photos taken with the dog. Some came with medicines and vitamins,” Bunggal said.
One visitor even brought roasted pig for Kabang.
“Kabang had ‘lechon’ while I had none for breakfast,” Bunggal said in jest.
Donations have poured, not only for resilient canine, but also for her owners. “Some people came bringing in clothes, a little money for us. We are so thankful. We did not ask for those things, but still we are thankful,” he added.
Among the visitors were 10-year-old Cherryl Arevalo and her sister Mia, who dropped by Rudy’s vulcanizing shop to see Kabang and give her cookies.
The Arevalos said they were hoping they could get one of Kabang’s puppies.
“If Kabang was able to save her masters, I believe her puppies will do the same thing to us,” Mia said in Chavacano.
Bunggal said the family was willing to share Kabang’s puppies. “We can’t afford to feed several dogs,” he said.
Mona Consunji of the Animal Welfare Coalition said she would also like to see Kabang for medical attention and find ways how to protect her open wound.
Animal doctor Anton Lim of the Tzu Chi Foundation, who was among the first veterinarian to attend to Kabang, said the dog was “OK.”
Lim said: “She is healthy and I see that she is adjusting to her situation.”
Bunggal had refused to bring Kabang to an animal clinic after some City Pound personnel suggested that the dog be put to sleep.
Ariola admitted that some of his personnel had recommended euthanasia “after seeing her pitiful state, but the owner strongly objected and we respected their decision.”
The veterinarian also urged the Bunggals to be more responsible “by putting her on a leash or placing her in a cage.”
Bunggal, however, said Kabang, unlike other dogs, does not scavenge for food in garbage dumps when she’s hungry. “She waits for feeding time,” he said.
Ariola also appealed to other animal doctors, seeking specialized surgery for Kabang.
“Her snout can still be reconstructed and we are looking for an Elizabeth collar (cone-shaped protective medical device worn on the head of an animal) for the dog because yesterday we saw the dog following the owner harvesting swamp cabbage, so it’s inevitable that her open wound will remain fresh,” Ariola said Wednesday.