Dog the Bounty Hunter
I tend to go through phases where I get obsessed with certain things, getting really into them and wanting to learn all I can about them. For my latest obsession of the past couple weeks, I blame Pluto TV.
Pluto TV is a free online video streaming service that works like traditional over-the-air TV in that it has channels and each channel is just a continuous broadcast of content with commercial breaks. You just “tune in” to a Pluto TV channel and watch whatever is on at the time.
When my favorite Star Trek series (TNG, DS9, and VOY) disappeared from Amazon Prime and Hulu, my brother told me there was a Star Trek channel on Pluto TV. I started checking out their other channels and bookmarking a few.
Then I found their Dog the Bounty Hunter channel. I remembered watching and enjoying that show back in the day. So I watched a few episodes and I was hooked (again). It's entertaining. But I also find it uplifting.
Duane “Dog” Chapman and his family are larger-than-life people. And, for the most part, I think what you see on their show is what they're like in real life. They're flawed, rough around the edges, and sometimes over the top. And I can't help but love them because, while I certainly have not had many of the life experiences they have had, I can relate to them on a human level. At the end of the day, they're just trying to make their way in the world like the rest of us and do something good despite their shortcomings.
I wanted to learn more about Dog, so I read his books. It took me only a couple days to read them both. His first book, You Can Run but You Can't Hide, is important to read to understand his background and what he went through to become the Dog we all know today. Parents beware, it has profanity, crude language, and has pretty graphic depictions of sex, drug use, and violence. Parts of it were difficult for me to read, as I typically avoid that kind of content. But I don't regret reading it, as it gives important context for who Dog is and why he is the way he is. After reading it, you will realize what a miracle it is that he is even still alive. And you will appreciate even more how he has managed to turn things around and try to do something positive and meaningful with his life.
His second book, Where Mercy Is Shown, Mercy Is Given is definitely more family-friendly and, in my opinion, a better book than his first. He does cover some of the same ground covered in his first book, but goes deeper into sharing his feelings, thought processes, and outlook on life and what he does. He spends considerable time apologizing for and clarifying some past controversies. He shares some ideas for law enforcement and bail reforms. He speaks words of advice and encouragement to those struggling with addiction.
I like Dog. He can stand toe-to-toe with the meanest, toughest people on the planet, yet he is a God-fearing man, sensitive and caring enough that he can cry at the drop of a hat. He will hunt down his targets relentlessly and ruthlessly until he has them in handcuffs. But once caught, he will try his best to get through to them on some level, to show them some love and grace, to help them understand that they have it within them to turn their lives around. I believe he has a good heart. Though he is haunted by his past and struggles with human weaknesses like the rest of us, I believe he is genuine when he says he loves his family and wants to help and lift up other people.
I think he does come across as a little too full of himself sometimes, but I don't think that's intentional. The man is confident in himself and his ability to do anything he sets his mind to, but he's quick to acknowledge that he wouldn't have been able to do any of it without God's help.
Dog said his grandpa taught him that the difference between a wise man and a fool is that a wise man learns from the mistakes of others and a fool learns only from his own. I've sure made some big mistakes in my time. I'm glad Dog has been gracious enough to let us learn from his.