Many dog lovers will tell you that the Rottweiler has an undeserved reputation. Far from being the dangerous animals many people assume, owners insist that they’re actually affectionate, intelligent, and great with kids. They even make award-winning therapy dogs.
Someone who maybe didn’t get this memo, however, is Charlie, a 55-kilogram (120-pound) Rottweiler mix who accidentally shot his elderly owner in the chest in the middle of the New Mexico desert.
“It went through my ribs, my lung, and busted up my collarbone on the right side," described the victim, 74-year-old Tex Harold Gilligan, to ABC News. "I had a gaping hole, you know, and a lot of blood there too… I could see the blood and I felt it.”
The shooting reportedly occurred while the pair, along with innocent bystanders Scooter and Cowboy (also dogs), were on their way to hunt jackrabbits. The canine trio were riding shotgun, literally: Gilligan had propped a shotgun in the passenger footwell of his truck, while the dogs sat on the seat.
In a bizarre mishap, however, it seems Charlie slipped and somehow got his claw stuck on the trigger of the gun – and the barrel was pointed at Gilligan.
"I thought who was that?" said Gilligan, explaining how he initially thought he had been hit by a sniper. "I was there, isolated, nobody was around."
As study after study has confirmed, many gun deaths and injuries have at least one incredibly obvious cause: access to guns. And while you may have heard the old mantra of “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” – despite the many instances where that’s obviously incorrect – cases like this should serve as a reminder that many gun-related injuries are actually accidental. In fact, more than three-fifths of the 22,000 children admitted to the emergency room with firearm injuries each year end up there because of accidents.
In this case, however, Gilligan was lucky. Thanks to recent bad weather in New Mexico, he happened to have brought his phone with him, and was able to call the emergency services. After being taken to a local hospital, doctors decided that it would be safer to leave the bullet inside his body – Gilligan had suffered a punctured lung, and removing it was deemed too risky to the already damaged organ.
Despite his ordeal, Gilligan is sure his homicidal hound didn’t act with malice a-paw-thought, and says he’s forgiven the dog for the accident.
“He did not mean to do it,” he said. "He's a good dog."
[H/T: ABC News]