“Dog shoots man” is just not a saying you hear often — but in the case of a 74-year-old man in La Cruces, N.M., and his Lab-Rottweiler companion, it’s a true story.
Sonny Gilligan and his three dogs — Scooter, Cowboy, and Charlie — had all piled into a pickup truck last week to go hunting for jackrabbits when the 120-pound Charlie got his paw stuck in the trigger of one of Gilligan’s shotguns, according to the La Cruces Sun News.
“I leaned forward and he slipped off the seat and caught the trigger — and it shot,” Gilligan said. “It was a freak accident, but it’s true; that’s what happened.” Gilligan was still sitting in the driver’s seat when the bullet went through the seat and into his back, breaking a few ribs and shattering his collarbone. He says at first he thought the shot came from outside the car, but then he realized what had happened.
He told the Sun News: “I was very fortunate I could get to my phone. The DASO (Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office) first responders saved my life. If they’d waited 10 more minutes, I would’ve died. I lost so much blood.” It was a very close call, Gilligan remembers. “I know I actually passed to the other side just before getting to the hospital, but they were able to revive me through CPR and bring me back. I have so much appreciation to the doctors and first responders who saved my life.”
Those first responders discovered Gilligan next to his truck with a gunshot wound to his chest. They quickly transported him to University Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, where he has undergone surgery and remains in critical condition, according to the Sun News. Gilligan is expected to make a full recovery.
And as for Charlie? Despite the potentially fatal accident, the pup gets a pass from his adoring owner. Mark Gilligan, Sonny’s son, told local Albuquerque news station KRQE that even in critical condition, Gilligan’s main priority was to spring his animals from “doggie jail” — meaning a county shelter where they were being kept and looked after. “He spoils his dogs, you know. He calls them his boys. He’s very fond of his animals,” Mark told KRQE.
“Poor Charlie, he’s a good dog,” Gilligan told the Sun News, saying he forgives his furry friend. “The sheriff’s department said the only one they had trouble with was Cowboy. The other two were friendly. Charlie is the boss, but he’s gentle.” Gilligan says he rescued all three of his dogs — and that Charlie was free. He describes the animal as “a big, loving dog [that] would never hurt anybody on purpose.”
While Gilligan recovers, he’s at least relieved to know that his doggie trio is free because his son went downtown to release them on bond, he joked.
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