Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman has a new girlfriend — and his family approves.
The Dog’s Most Wanted star confirmed last month that he’s dating a woman named Francie Frane. On Tuesday, his daughter Lyssa Chapman, 32, posted a photo of the couple, writing, “How cute are these two?!”
In response to fans criticizing Dog for the relationship, which comes almost 10 months after the death of his wife Beth Chapman, another one of the star’s daughters stepped in to defend him.
“Everyone who’s judging my father should sure pray that they never have to lose their loved one and get judged for trying to fill the void,” wrote Bonnie Chapman, 21. “Your opinion is invalid. My mother would’ve wanted him to be happy. Now please shut up and let me my dad live in peace.”
Dog has been open about his grief after her passing. He told PEOPLE Now last summer that he’d promised Beth he wouldn’t wed again, and marriage aside, in another interview with PEOPLE Now last fall, he said he was nowhere near ready to date again.
“Not that I have, but you know, it’s not worth it,” he explained. “I don’t want to tell the whole story about my mom, my dad and my life and all that stuff again to a new person. Not yet.”
But the reality star appears to have since found someone special. In an interview with The Sun U.S. in March, Dog, 67, called his relationship with Frane “a miracle.”
“It’s going really good,” he said. “It’s a God relationship because it’s just like a miracle. It’s a miracle how we met and it’s a miracle how great we’re getting along.”
According to the outlet, Dog and Frane, a 51-year-old rancher from Colorado, have bonded over their shared grief of losing a spouse to cancer. Frane’s late husband Bob died just months before Beth.
“I know that when I start to feel bad about Beth and it’s overwhelming, Francie seems to show up and that helps the kids,” Dog said. “And I feel that Beth expects her to show up to take care of me.And Bob, Francie’s late husband, expects me to be a man and a gentleman and so I am.”
“It’s a very real love that we are developing with each other,” he continued. “Both of us are allowed to talk about our spouses that are in Heaven — it’s not like we’re afraid to mention it or anything like that. We console each other but we also know that we have a responsibility and that is to do this right. There are a lot of people watching us.”
Asked if he think he’ll marry Frane, Dog said, “There will never be another Mrs. Dog but it looks like there will be a final Mrs. Chapman.”
Dog’s rep tells PEOPLE, “Dog is very happy. He is sending much love and aloha to all of his fans, and hopes everyone is staying safe and healthy.”
The relationship comes just a few months after speculation surfaced that Dog was dating his longtime friend Moon Angell. His daughter Lyssa openly disapproved of their relationship, and a source told PEOPLE at the time that things weren’t romantic.
Speaking to The Sun U.S., Dog insisted he was never dating Angell, though he admitted his daughters “really put me in the ground over the whole thing.”
“Moon and I were not ‘in a relationship’ and I tried to prove that and it really hurt Moon’s feelings,” he said. “And she’s the one that took the beating over it.”
“But what’s important now is that my family, my close family, every single one of the kids and grandkids, approve of Francie,” he continued. “And that makes a huge difference.”
Lyssa also spoke to the outlet, saying Frane has “been very respectful to all the kids — and to Beth’s memory.”
“They go to church three times a week and dad is trying to give up smoking — she is a good woman for my dad,” she said. “He’s the happiest I’ve seen him in a long time — he’s so in love and wants to spend the rest of his life with Francie.”