It seems that being a good boy goes a long way, and will get you off the hook even when you accidentally get into trouble.
This was recently the case for Charlie, a 120-pound Rottweiler-mix that ended up inadvertently injuring his owner — and quite severely, at that — during a hunting trip in the New Mexico desert.
Charlie is one of the three dogs with whom 74-year-old Tex Harold Gilligan shares his life. The man lives in Doña Ana County, and last week drove his canine companions into the desert west of Las Cruces to hunt for jackrabbits.
While the trip started innocently enough, Gilligan ended up getting gunned down in a bizarre accident that boggles the mind and defies imagination. The man wound up at an El Paso hospital after his dog shot him with the very same shotgun that was meant for the jackrabbits.
According to the El Paso Times, the strange event occurred on October 25, and was the result of an unfortunate series of circumstances.
On that day, Gilligan loaded his three dogs — Charlie, Scooter, and Cowboy — into his pickup truck, grabbed his shotgun, and headed out into the desert. After arriving at the desired location, the 74-year-old man parked his truck. Gilligan never got around to doing any hunting, as he was unexpectedly shot by his dog while still in the driver’s seat.
How exactly the event unfolded is still a little unclear. For instance, the El Paso Times reports that Charlie the Rottweiler-mix was in the back of the pickup — along with the shotgun. Meanwhile, ABC News states that the dog was riding in the front seat of the truck, next to Gilligan.
What is certain is that Charlie got his claw caught on the trigger of the gun, and accidentally fired a shot at his unsuspecting owner.
“Charlie got his foot in the trigger of the gun and I leaned forward and he slipped off the seat and caught the trigger — and it shot,” Gilligan said in a statement. “It was a freak accident, but it’s true. That’s what happened.”
The man was able to call 911, and was found by first responders lying next to his truck — with a gunshot wound to the chest. Gilligan was airlifted to the University Medical Center of El Paso, where doctors managed to save his life.
“Apparently Mr. Gilligan […] had placed his gun in the floorboard of the truck with the butt of the gun on the floorboard,” said Kelly Jameson, spokeswoman for the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s office.
“The gun was positioned in the truck with the barrel facing up, towards Mr. Gilligan,” she explained. “The investigation is being handled as an accidental shooting.”
While the 74-year-old can now laugh about it, the bizarre accident left him with three broken ribs, a shattered collarbone, and an injured lung.
“I never thought that this would happen. It’s an interesting story: ‘a dog shot a man!'”
Gilligan is currently recuperating at a rehabilitation center in Las Cruces, and is still in critical condition after undergoing several surgeries. The man is expecting to make a full recovery, and bears no ill will toward the dog.
In fact, Gilligan insists that Charlie “didn’t mean to do it, he’s a good dog” — and says he has long forgiven him.
“It was an accident, although they tease me, asking me if he did it on purpose,” Gilligan said. “Truth is, [Charlie’s] a big, loving dog and would never hurt anybody on purpose.”