Sympathies and adoration were showered on Kabang while the dog hero from Zamboanga City was being treated in the United States.
Kabang arrived in Manila on Saturday from San Francisco, California after seven months at the University of California Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.
Kabang had jumped in front a motorcycle to prevent two children from being run over in December 2011. The motorcycle struck the dog, shearing off her upper jaw, nose and face.
A team at UC Davis was able to close Kabang’s large facial wound to protect against infection and reconstructed her eyelids and functional nostrils.
At a press conference at the Animal House Veterinary Clinic in Makati City, Anton Lim, a Filipino veterinarian who had accompanied Kabang to California, said the askal or street dog was treated like celebrity at the hospital.
The staff at UC Davis was amazed at how popular Kabang was, Lim said. There were other well-known American personalities who brought their pets for treatment at UC Davis, but they never received the attention that Kabang got, he said.
Lim said feeding Kabang was a problem at first, because she was craving for pandesal, which her owner in Zamboanga used to feed her. The nearest thing to pandesal in the area was Hawaiian rolls, and it was a substitute that the dog accepted.
When the media reported that Kabang was eating Hawaiian rolls, the bread suddenly became a popular bakery item, Lim said.
The Filipino community in California also pitched in for Kabang, donating anything from one dollar to $500, Lim said.
Bringing the dog to the US was made possible through funds raised by a private organization called Team Kabang.
Kabang is scheduled to return to Zamboanga City on Sunday where she will be given a hero’s welcome.
EDWIN MULI Photographer