After reading the compelling story of Kabang, the heroic dog in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines, who saved two children from being run over by a motorcycle but suffered horrific injuries as a consequence, our team in the Philippines offered to lend a hand in her rehabilitation…But the curious tale of Kabang started several months earlier.

The Bunggal family had a history of keeping dogs, but not in the way one might imagine.  Most of the dogs that came through their home were destined for the dinner table and the family had a reputation amongst neighbours for their predilection for dog meat.  However there was something about the puppy Rudy Bunggal found in a swamp one day that led him to make an exception and keep this one as the family pet.  Once she joined them at their home, the bond that developed between Kabang and their daughter, Dina, and niece, Princess, meant eating her was simply not an option.

Over time Kabang became a key member of the family unit, providing protection against intruders, helping Rudy with his work and delivering endless joy to the children who would play, eat and sleep with their beloved pet.  Their neighbour, Ricky Llorente, reported to a local newspaper that Rudy “…became a different person when Kabang came. He became humane to animals.”

One day in December last year the girls were walking along a roadside, unaware that a speeding motorcycle was careening towards them.  Kabang leapt to their aid by jumping into the path of the motorcycle, protecting the girls from harm but suffering extensive damage to her snout in the process. Rudy told a local newspaper that the incident was Kabang’s way of repaying the Bunggals for saving her.

Upon hearing this tale of heroism we paid for a veterinary surgeon to travel to Zamboanga City to treat Kabang.  He advised that while she was stable and coping, a maxillo facial reconstructive surgery is called for. The Animal Welfare Coalition, a local group we are partnered with, has subsequently requested help from the vet school at the University of California at Davis and preparations are under way to bring Kabang back to health.  However, we have just heard that Kabang is pregnant, so the surgery will have to wait until her pups are born!