Reality-TV bounty hunter clan the Chapmans, stars of “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” had an incredibly difficult year. Tragedy struck when powerhouse matriarch Beth Chapman died of cancer this summer, leaving Duane “Dog” Chapman and the family to deal with their grief, which they did openly.
Beth was diagnosed with stage 2 throat cancer in 2017 and, after treatment, was declared cancer free. But in 2018, she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. In 2019, Beth decided to forego cancer treatment, instead choosing to spend her last months with her family doing what she loved most — catching fugitives.Read More
In his interview, Dog, alternately sad, reflective and angry with grief, discussed his wife’s journey. He shared how rough the chemotherapy side effects were for Beth, who began to lose her hair, and whose loss of appetite was so extreme that she lost nearly 50 pounds. Dog said that when Beth made the decision to stop chemotherapy, the family backed her 100%.
“You can either live a quality life or a miserable life where you live longer,” Dog said.
More than anything, the depth of his sadness came through in the interview.
“I’ll never know why Beth lost the fight with cancer until I get to heaven,” Dog said, adding through stifled sobs that, during Beth’s final, difficult days he “started really thinking, ‘You know, this ain’t cool. This is not…how can she live feeling like this? Am I keeping her here for me? Or am I thinking about her? I wanted her there for me.”
Ahead of the debut of the ‘Bounty Hunter’ spinoff, “Dog’s Most Wanted,” which premiered in September, Bonnie spoke with SurvivorNet about how intimately the new show would look at Beth’s cancer battle, and the pain and struggle experienced by the entire Chapman family.
“It’s very vulnerable,” Bonnie said of being in the public eye. “It’s unlike anything you could really experience. It’s having the whole world have eyes on you in an intimate way and to have the whole world know exactly what you’re going through.”
She also said that the episodes she had seen of the new show were really difficult to watch.
“To see new moments of [my mom] that I haven’t seen … it brings back a flood of emotion. It makes me feel like she’s still here, but then I’m brought back to reality, realizing it’s something that happened in the past, not right now.”
But the Chapmans are moving forward. And at least one beautiful gesture has turned grief to action as they pay it forward with the gift of education.
The “Beth Chapman Memorial Scholarship,” according to the website, is intended to “unlock doors for many and set up a lifetime of additional achievements.”
The website says that the scholarship supports “those wanting to study and test for their GED or HiSet test,” both of which are standardized tests that give people who never graduated high school the opportunity to formalize their education. The tests are not free; registration fees can range from roughly $15 to $150. For many people, especially those who are in or have been in prison, these fees are unaffordable.
And as the holidays went into full gear, Dog rang in the winter with photos she took of their shared life in the snow.
“VISITOR TO OUR HOUSE, IN COLORADO,” Dog wrote alongside a beautiful photo of a dear walking up to a snow-covered pine tree. In a poignant addition, he shared that his wife had snapped the photo, “Taken by Beth.”
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The post was coupled with another post depicting a view from their Colorado house of snow-covered rooftops and trees with mountains in the distance, the photo also taken by Beth.
“A PHOTO BETH TOOK FROM OUR HOME IN COLORADO LAST WINTER,” Dog wrote alongside the wintery scene.