Kabang the Hero Dog
She doesn't have superpowers nor great beauty, but Kabang the Hero Dog is a superstar. She is an askal (a street dog) who was adopted by a poor family in Zamboanga City. In a country where a lot of people eat dog meat, it amazes me that this family treats her no differently than its own. The family struggles day to day for its basic needs, but Kabang still gets the luxury of drinking commercial milk. The dog must have felt the love. In December 2011, it was her time to return the favor to the family who cherished her.
An Unexpected Hero
A couple of years ago, two kids were crossing the street when a fast-moving motorcycle was heading their way. In a split second, a dog jumped in front of the vehicle and used her own body to shield the children from harm. One of the kids is the dog's human, the daughter of the family whom she sleeps with every night. That one heroic deed of an animal changed everyone's lives, including the dog's life. Her name is Kabang. She didn't die. Instead, she lost her upper snout and was seriously hurt. She ran away and reemerged at the family's home two weeks later. It was feared that she would not survive. People were telling the owner to put Kabang to sleep. The man refused. He said she saved his daughter and his niece. He just couldn't let the dog die.
Kabang's heroic deed was shown on the national news. Somehow, her story reached outside the Philippines. Many people were touched by Kabang's selfless act. Donation started pouring in. After several months, the dog could finally go to the States to have her first reconstructive surgery. She even has a website and a Facebook page where fans can see updates about the canine.
I appreciate the power of media sometimes. While it's true that many lives have been destroyed because of the media's merciless invasion of privacy, we can't deny that it can do positive things to some people or in this case, to a dog. Without the media, Kabang's story would never reach millions of people and she might not be alive today.
Humans vs Animals
There have always been debates about whether or not animals can love or whether or not they have souls. Whatever the answers are, we know that animals don't think and act the same way we do. Animals act based on instincts. For example, a bear has hurt a woman in the woods, seriously injuring her face. How do we explain such behavior? We just say, "The bear is a wild animal." 'Nuff said.
I had heard news about a pack of dogs killing their owner. It was found that the owner had gone away and left the dogs without food and water for days. In this case, it does explain the dogs' behavior. Nevertheless, it seems like animals are always expected to act violently once provoked. It's like they are time bombs ready to explode when we're not careful.
The Ugly Side of Human Nature
Unlike animals, humans are expected to act compassionately towards others. We feel bad when someone acts otherwise. I have heard terrible news about people turning a blind eye when a stranger needs help.
A few years ago, news about a girl getting run over by a vehicle twice had spread all over the world. The highlight of the story is not about the drivers but the passers-by who didn't even stop to help her. The humanity of these people is being questioned. Sadly, similar incidents are happening everywhere, such as when a person was shot and passers-by just looked on (while some even brought out their cameras to videotape the man who was in terrible pain). The man died later on.
Yes, human nature can be ugly. Referring to someone or something as "human" doesn't make him any better than animals in terms of goodness and compassion.
Kabang is a Wake-Up Call to All of Us
Animals may not think, feel, or act like we do. But they can surprisingly exhibit "human" nature. It's very touching when I hear stories of animals forming strong bonds with humans, a bond that is so strong that they could give up their lives for their persons.
I'm not sure if I can sacrifice my life for others. I do hope that none of us will be put in this kind of situation, though. Nevertheless, we can be better humans by being less selfish and more compassionate. Kabang's story and the stories of other hero dogs are truly heartwarming. I believe that miracles do happen when you show kindness to animals.
Kabang is Going Home
Two years since the accident, Kabang is finally going home. Her snout is still missing, but her wounds had been closed. Her doctors said that giving her an artificial snout would be a very complicated process needing a very special care. Nevertheless, even without her snout, she is now a healthy and happy dog. The best thing is, she could finally reunite with her family!
Kabang got a hero's welcome and was even rewarded by the city mayor!
This is the slogan from Kabang's website: "Kabang saved lives. Our turn to save hers."
I did not write this article to condemn our humanity. Rather, this is my attempt to show that heroes may come in different shapes and sizes. One doesn't need to be a Superman or a human to qualify as a hero. The world may be ugly, but goodness is still all over the place.
To all the heroes, I thank you for inspiring us and touching us with your love and selflessness. You are one of the reasons why the world is still a good place to live in.
Kabang has received donations from 47 different countries. As of this writing (June 17, 2016), Kabang is now 15 years old. The accident happened five years ago. Humanity has saved her life.
© Rainy Kua 2016