‘Kabang’ ended poor family’s dog-eating days

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Kabang, a hero female aspin, enjoys Rudy Bunggal's scratching of her head and neck. Kabang saved Rudy's daughter Dina and niece Princess in a road accident last December 14 along Nunez Extension, Zamboanga City. JULIE ALIPALA/INQUIRER

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—There must have been something about Kabang, the pet dog that recently lost half her face saving the lives of two children. Until she came into their lives as a foundling puppy, the Bunggals occasionally kept dogs but only for meat.

In fact that was what Rudy Bunggal had in mind over a year ago when he found Kabang, then a few weeks old, in a swamp where the unwanted puppy had been left to die.

“The dogs we raised did not last longer than three months. I slaughtered them. It’s our only way of eating meat,” Rudy Bunggal told the Inquirer in an interview. “Life is difficult and I have to feed my family.”

Bunggal, 57, is a “vulcanizer” who earns a living mending punctured tires while his wife, Christina, sells small quantities of candy.

The couple has one daughter, Dina, 11, but a niece, Princess, 3, lives with them.

Neighbors agreed that life for the couple was difficult and that the family subsisted mostly on water spinach—”kangkong” or swamp cabbage—harvested from the nearby swamp.

As Rudy Bunggal tells the story, he plucked Kabang out of the swamp amid heavy rain over a year ago. He initially had the same thought about what to do with the puppy: make a family meal at the right time.

So the Bunggals raised Kabang, initially giving her coffee creamer because milk was expensive.

But days, then weeks and months went by and Kabang never came close to being placed in a cooking pot. Bunggal said he did not know why he never felt any urge to slaughter the animal.

Ricky Llorete, one of the family’s neighbors, said they too had looked forward to eating Rudy’s “azucena,” as dog meat as referred to by Filipinos, after Kabang’s arrival.

Llorete said the Bunggal family was known in the community as dog eaters and would share with their neighbors cooked dog meat.

“During Christmas or New Year, we ate azucena and drank tuba (coconut wine),” he said.

Christina, Rudy’s wife, said she, too, was puzzled when Kabang lasted longer than her predecessors.

“It was maybe because we treated her differently. Of all the dogs we raised, she was the only one we fed coffeemate and milk. None of the other dogs we had raised spent the night in the same space with our daughter,” Christina said.

The family shared whatever food they had with Kabang.

Dina and her cousin would play with the dog, who never ventured alone farther than the door of the Bunggal family’s shanty on Nuñez Extension here.

“If she went out of the house, it would be with the children,” Rudy said.

He described Kabang as a “sweet dog,” who wanted to be cuddled.

Rudy said that aside from providing joy to Dina and her cousin, Kabang would also guard the family’s house against intruders.

“She would sit on the (vulcanizing tools) apparently to prevent strangers from taking them,” Christina said.

“Rudy became a different person when Kabang came. He became humane to animals,” Llorente said.

Rudy admitted that he could not thank Kabang enough when she saved Dina and her cousin from harm one day last December.

The two girls were walking across Nuñez Extension one day in December unaware that a speeding motorcycle was bearing down on them. From out of nowhere Kabang jumped onto the path of the motorcycle.

Kabang lived but she lost her upper snout, which got caught in the spokes of the motorcycle’ front wheel.

Rudy maintained that the incident was Kabang’s way of repaying the Bunggals for saving the puppy and caring for her.

“I believe she was God’s gift to us,” he said.

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  • ToTo Aranas

    You’re are a Dog Hero…
    You may lost your Snout but not your Life

    LONG LIVE KABANG!!!

    • Alajero

      …not for long…with friends like…Rudy….who needs an enemy….it’s just a matter of time…

  • Keith_P

    This is such a good story. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by very bad writing.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XIOWSHRFCDLS6WGIFDWTTISHFI Epi

       so you can write better than them?

  • Mamang Pulis

    Ms Julie,

    Parang may balak yata sila Doc Anton na lagyan si Kabang ng prosthesis.  Kawawa yun iro, hirap kumain.

    • Julie Alipala

       thanks Mamang Pulis. Sinusubaybayan ko talaga si Manong Rudy. Talagang kalunos-lunos ang kanilang kalagayan. Ayoko namang mag judge ke komo dati silang kumakain ng karneng aso eh masama na talaga sila. Kahit nga pang tsinelas hirap silang bumili kaya kahit dog food, gustuhin man nila di talaga kaya. Isang lata nga lang eh mahigit isang daan na, yung kinikita nilang mag-asawa parang di pa umaabot ng P200 ang araw (not a steady income pa) . The honesty of Mang Rudy is very admirable, kung sa iba pa yan baka sobrang pa goody-goody na, but for him, he is just stating the facts. Halos maghiwalay sila ni Manang Kristina when his common law wife wanted to borrow a hundred peso from donations for her capital sa pagtitinda ng kendi. Nagtampo si Manang when Manong Rudy said na para sa gamot ni kabang yung pera. He even admitted that he is kolorum in Zamboanga City, a deportee or halaw from Malaysia kaya he could not even get an identification card to secure a savings account from Metrobank na tapat lang ng vulcanizing station nila. We started counting the cash donations and accounted about P2,000 in cash, di pa kasama yung food and meds for the dogs. We are hoping that walang individual trying to take advantage of Kabang. Manong Rudy is an elementary drop out. Stopped schooling since 9 years old kaya madali lang siya maloko. We gave him food sardinas, tuna and clothing, iba pa yung kay Kabang. But Manong Rudy’s dream is actually tools for his only trade he knows, magbulkit. I am even appealing to our colleagues to leave Manong Rudy’s personal life na at wag nang i-exploit further. As what Doc Anton Lim said masyadong complicated buhay ni Manong Rudy. Maraming salamat sa pagsubaybay din. Even Manila vets noticed that Kabang is not like any ordinary askal.  Matindi ang instinct nito even during the time we brought him to the clinic for examination. Doc Maan Malazo from Manila said such behavior na pinapakita ni Kabang ay nakikita lamang sa mga highly trained dogs at well loved. Hindi naman siguro kailangang maging mayaman to show such love and care to our pets.

      • Mamang Pulis

        yes mam, lage ako dumaraan dun.  Sa tapat nga ng Metrobank yan. Nakausap ko nga yun mga assitant ni Doc Anton, sila pala naglagay ng kulungan at kulambo para hindi lumala yun infection…
        Sa akin lang, napaka babang loob nun may ari noong nakausap ko at hindi nya napagiisipang  ‘i-komersyo’ ang kalunos lunos na lagay ni Kabang…sana rin ganoon yun mga nakapaligid sa kanya doon at hindi siya ulukan ng ulukan ng maling motibo.

  • http://twitter.com/pangittalagaako pangittalagaako

    Not only God’s Gift but a manifestation that God is with them through Kabang.

    GOD is really GOOD….ALL THE TIME!

  • Alajero

    …poor dogs…loyal…but curse with masters…who eats them…
    …why can’t the subject raise chicken or pig instead….
    …let us not use poverty…as excuse for eating…man’s best friend…
    …it’s KARMA…

    • michael_angelo

      Wow may puso din ang BAYARAN

  • Meow Ming

    Kaya pala ayaw ipa-euthanize yung aso, balak palang kainin, pinabuntis pa para kapalit sa nanay pag kinatay.

  • noonyan

    long live KABANG! and all pets as a whole

  • Mamang Pulis

    binisita ko yun bahay nila kabang—dun pala yun sa tabi ng shell station, nunez extension lagpas konti ng dumpster….nagiinuman ang tropa ng ng mayari–tuba as usual!… mukhang maraming nagbibigay na sa kanila at na upgrade na ang pulutan sa tuna—yun ang kinakain ni kabang nun dumating ako…kalunos-lunos ang hitsura, parang camera shy pa sya nun nililitratuhan ko…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kaval-Caralinacosa/100002588666932 Kaval Caralinacosa

      pag nakabisita ka ulit kay kabang sana maka donate ka ng dog food kahit isa o dalawang lata lang. kawawa kasi nakakainis mga may ari. dog food talaga ang ibigay kasi kung ibang de lata kakainin, gagawing pulutan nung matanda at ng tropa nya.

      • Mamang Pulis

        o nga naman, pero malamang sasama loob ng may ari—dapat ‘sharing’ sila. jejejeje—unless gusto nila pulutanin yun ALPO na beef in gravy sauce

      • Mamang Pulis

        pasensya na sa reply ko ha, yun last part…masyado na siguro pagod sa realidad ang mamang pulis

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kaval-Caralinacosa/100002588666932 Kaval Caralinacosa

    i donated a pet bowl and some dog food last friday it was on the news hoorah to me! but really i hope you guys would donate food for kabang becuase i saw on the news that her owners feed her on the ground and gave her pork bones and kabang was really struggling to eat so i donated some soft dog food but i could only afford a few so i hope you guys donate too. please please..

    • Alajero

      …hi kaval…if you really care….pls buy the dog….
      …if u wait any further….kinilaw na kabang…ang mararatnan…
      …good luck…

      • Mamang Pulis

        binibisita po sila ni doc anton—malamang mahihiya silang gawin yun

      • Alajero

        …maraming salamat….mamang pulis!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002223485804 Muning Gonzales

    long live kabang…..a hero dog….i hope someday there be no more bad people will hurt them or eat their meat…dog’s are man’s bestfriend…we should care about it…Long live KABANG,,….

  • http://www.mannypacquiaoversus.co.cc/ snifruz

    long live cabang….sana maging mabuti tayo sa mga alaga nati kasi hindi maipapalit ang loyalty nila katulad nung nangyari kay kabang

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