9:02 pm | Tuesday, June 4th, 2013
MANILA, Philippines — A mongrel dog is set for a hero’s welcome when she returns to the Philippines following surgery in the United States to reconstruct her face after apparently saving two girls from being hit by a motorcycle.
Kabang was released from the University of California’s Davis Veterinary Hospital on Monday after eight months of treatment in which her face was partially rebuilt and she was cured of cancer and heartworm.
In 2011 Kabang, then aged two and pregnant, became a hero in the Philippines after running in front of a motorcycle in what her owner said was a deliberate act to save her daughter and niece who were crossing a busy road.
Thousands of dollars were raised for her treatment through an online campaign.
“I think I will cry when I see her. She’s like a member of our family,” said owner Rudy Bunggal, a laborer who lives in a shanty in a poor southern Philippine town, told AFP by phone on Tuesday.
In the accident Kabang’s snout and part of her jaw were torn off when the motorcycle flipped over, also damaging an eyelid.
The dog became a hero in the Philippines and an internet sensation after local media reported how she had saved the girls by deliberately leaping in front of the motorbike.
A website, Facebook page and Twitter account were set up in an online fundraising drive, spearheaded by New York nurse Karen Kenngott, which raised more than $20,000 for Kabang to be treated in the United States.
“I am so happy that people stepped up to the plate to save this little hero. I hope she has a long, happy life with her original owners,” wrote Jean Belaire on Kabang’s Facebook page, which has attracted more than 22,000 “likes”.
Kabang’s medical treatment was extremely complicated, with a team of veterinarians at UC Davis specializing in oncology, infectious diseases, dentistry, soft-tissue surgery and internal medicine involved.
The university said in a statement it was not able to completely rebuild her face, but that the surgeries had ensured she was better protected against infection and she would be able live a normal life.
Kabang is due to fly out of the United States aboard a commercial flight later this week.
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