No one would ever accuse Duane “Dog” Chapman of being ordinary. The patriarch of the bounty hunting family and reality TV star's long blonde mullet, Native American earring, tattoos and black leather vests have become his crime-fighting trademarks. His strange life, filled with hard knocks, hasn't bent his spirit. “I always thought I was the guy saving the girl off the railroad track,” he said.
Dog and his crime-fighting wife Beth come to the Michigan Theatre of Jackson at 7 p.m., November 29, to give an inspirational talk. VIP ticket holders can meet the couple to pose for photos starting at 5 p.m. Attendees are requested to bring a can of food for donation to the Salvation Army.
Readers of Chapman’s two autobiographies You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide and Where Mercy is Shown, Mercy is Given, will be familiar with his unusual story, rising from membership in a biker gang and a stint in a Texas prison to capturing accused felons and fighting against drug abuse in Hawaii and beyond.
While his Christian faith played a big role in his metamorphosis, Dog places most of the credit elsewhere. "I would have never made it without my Bethy,” he said.
Chapman recalls describing his ideal woman in an appeal to God — including her amply endowed figure. “One day she walked into the office and I knew. I knew for sure she was my Eve,” he said. “She’s mean, forgiving, a good cook, everything Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman wants in a woman. It’s like two magnets.”
Viewers of the now cancelled A&E show “Dog the Bounty Hunter" will recognize the glamorous edgy blonde who hunts down meth dealers, burglars and car thieves. She’s not afraid to get in a verbal scrap if it will help her capture the bad guy, though she does it with long polished nails and stylish heels.
Episodes have taken fans through more than the hunt for criminals. Dark days and touching moments in the family’s life were there too, from the death of Beth’s dad to the onscreen birth of “Baby Lyssa’s” daughter.
“Baby Lyssa has to take a time out and be a mommy,” said Dog. “She owns a tanning salon and has written a book, Walking on Eggshells: Discovering Strength and Courage Amid Chaos.”
In the series, the family was filmed capturing bond-jumpers and trying to convince them that a second chance on the right side of the law was possible. Episodes often ended with a group prayer, before the malefactor was hauled off to jail.
Dog and Beth’s new TV show, scheduled for a spring/summer 2013 debut on CMT, will feature the couple teaching other crime fighters how it’s done. “Every day people are making huge mistakes bounty hunting,” he said. “We are going state to state to show bail bondsmen how to hunt without getting killed.”
Hawaii was a big star of Dog’s old series, with snippets of the state’s beauty, from the crashing surf to the jungle, interspersed with the action. Dog came to the islands when he worked as a guest speaker for inspirational guru Anthony Robbins. “Once I did, it was over. Everyone was my brother and sister,” he said. “I was attracted by the weather, the people and all of the above.”
After 6,000 arrests, there’s one person Dog would like to speak to again – Andrew Luster. He captured Luster in Mexico in 2003, and was arrested himself for his efforts. Luster was eventually convicted on multiple counts of rape.
What would he say to him? “First thing, I hope you learned your lesson,” he said.
It’s something he says nearly half of the people his crew have arrested have learned. Their criminal lives were over, though a change in morals didn’t always lie at the root of their new paths. “I was the guy on the Dog show, they say,” said Dog. “I couldn’t shoplift.”
Duane "Dog" Chapman will appear at the Michigan Theatre of Jackson tomorrow, Thursday, November 29, at 7pm. Call the historic show house at 517-783-0962 to purchase tickets, or visit www.michigantheatre.org.