Bonnie Chapman sent words of support to her dad, reality TV Bounty Hunter Duane “Dog Chapman, after he was hospitalized earlier today for what may have been a heart attack.
“Love you, Pops,” she wrote in alongside a family photo featuring a young Beth, Dog, Cecily, and a baby Bonnie in her dad’s arms.
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Supporters were quick to show Bonnie their love, and to send prayers for her father’s speedy recovery, “Praying for your dad Bonnie! Much love from KY.”
“Many prayers and blessings to Dog. I also lost my soul mate and grief is very real and if I can make it, Dog can.”
“Stay strong Dog! Sending love and prayers.”
Doctors are still trying to figure out the exact nature of the problem.
His hospitalization comes just a few months after his beloved wife Beth, who he took care of until her last moments, died of stage four lung cancer.
“I can confirm Dog is under doctor’s care and is resting comfortably. Thank you for all of your well wishes – keep ’em coming,” one of Dog’s representatives told TMZ just a few minutes later.
After feeling a pain in his chest, Dog was taken from his home in Colorado to a hospital, where doctors are assessing the problem and trying to discern whether he will need corrective surgery.
We don’t exactly know what happened to Dog, but we do know that the process of caring for someone with cancer, as well as the process of grieving for someone after cancer, can both be a lot of physical and mental strain. Millions of people in the U.S. alone act as caregivers for someone they care about — and it’s not always an easy job, especially if that person’s cancer journey ends in death.
While a lot of research has shown the emotional difficulties of being a caregiver, research also shows that caregiving can have serious physical health consequences, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance. 17% of caregivers feel their health in general has gotten worse as a result of their caregiving responsibilities.
Emotional Duress and Grief After Losing Beth
In losing Beth, Dog lost his wife of 13 years, his bounty-hunting business partner, his reality television co-star, the mother figure to their combined 12 children, and the matriarch of their larger-than-life family.
The loss has left Dog, who is 66 years old, devastated, angry, confused, and lonely—but it’s also given him another mission.
“You wanna make it where this doesn’t happen to other people? You wanna give your loved one a legacy to fall back on? Get out there and talk to anybody.”
Over the past few weeks, Dog has been out here, and he’s talking—a lot. He’s sharing the raw and painful details that many people keep to themselves when they talk about cancer. And Dog’s new reality TV series, “Dog’s Most Wanted,” will chronicle Beth’s cancer journey with a level of intimacy and transparency that hasn’t yet made it to TV.
“Dog’s Most Wanted,” which airs September 4 on WGN America, is a spinoff of the series that Dog and Beth jointly starred in from 2004 to 2012, “Dog the Bounty Hunter.” The series chronicles Dog and Beth’s adventures hunting fugitives for bail bonds, and has earned Dog the title of “one of the greatest bounty hunters of all time.”
The title, of course, comes with a certain persona that Dog upholds in public. At five-foot-seven, Dog is not tall, but his archetypal, arms-crossed stance makes him seem almost towering. He’s heavily tattooed (with a cursive “Beth” over his heart) and keeps his long hair bleached. On his face, he wears a hardened stare that he insists on keeping behind a pair of dark, reflective sunglasses. The shades are a part of the look, but lately, they’ve played another role, too: a barrier for his tears.
When SurvivorNet recently spoke with Bonnie Chapman, Dog’s college-aged youngest daughter, she told us that her dad had a “teddy-bear” side to him—one that his fans rarely had the chance to see. As Dog choked up over loving memories of Beth, that side was evident—and his tears, at times, were contagious.
“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 days—which were incredibly difficult—“I 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.”
RELATED: “She Was Standing There Naked in The Bathroom and Goes, ‘Look at Me’” — Bonnie Chapman Opens Up to SurvivorNet About the Raw and Painful Details of Losing Her Mother, Beth Chapman, to Lung Cancer
Facing the Painful Truth: Cancer Doesn’t Always Respond to Treatment
Beth was first diagnosed with stage II throat cancer in 2017, but when the cancer recurred this past winter, it had spread widely throughout her body. She had stage IV lung cancer, and the prognosis was not a good one.
Though lung cancer subtypes differ in terms of their survival statistics, stage IV lung cancer, generally speaking, has a single-digit five-year survival rate.
“She had stage four cancer,” Dog said. “That’s it… there is no stage five.”
Like so many reeling from a cancer diagnosis, Beth and Dog dove head-first into diligent research to determine which treatment would give Beth the best chance of surviving her cancer. They sought multiple opinions and visited leading experts in cancer care, including at the acclaimed Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Beth’s doctors recommended chemotherapy, but told her that there was no telling how her cancer would respond to the drugs; every cancer is different, just as every patient was different.
Beth took the advice and began chemo, but after experiencing debilitating side effects and little-to-no benefit, she changed her mind.
“Beth did not respond to chemotherapy,” Dog told SurvivorNet. With palpable anger in his voice, he added, “When you ask the doctor, ‘does this chemo work?’ and he says, ‘each person individually responds to it differently,’ that means it don’t work.”
Dog told SurvivorNet he feels “lied to” about the chemo, and that he wishes he could “lock up” the doctors that suggested it just like the fugitives he hunts for a living.
The fury isn’t uncommon—and people are entitled to feel this way. But in terms of hiding a better treatment than chemo, experts assure SurvivorNet that this is far from the case.
“If there were treatment options that weren’t based on chemotherapy… that worked well for our patients, sign me up,” Dr. Jason Westin, an oncologist and lymphoma researcher at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, previously told SurvivorNet. “I would be doing those treatments for my patients in my clinic.”