Sonny “Tex” Harold Gilligan, 74, was with his 120-pound Rottweiler mix Charlie in October 2018 when the dog accidentally triggered a shotgun in the back of a pickup truck. The bullet went through the front seat and struck Gilligan.
"There’s a hole the size of my fist in my back," Gilligan told the Las Cruces Sun News. "It broke my scapula and went through my lung."
After spending more than two weeks in a hospital, Gilligan - who once died and was rivived back to life - came to his home to find two of his three dogs. A week later Charlie died from a gunshot wound.
"Sadly, my dog Charlie got out and I guess a rancher shot him," Gilligan told the Sun-News.
Gilligan has a new German shepherd/husky mix named Lady who recently gave birth to puppies. He plans to continue rabbit hunting, just not with a shotgun, he said.
"I will go back to hunting rabbits with my dogs but I won’t use a shotgun anymore," Gilligan said. "The safety on those things is where the dog can actually knock the safety off and shoot it. … The safety is really easy to knock off. … That’s what Charlie did, he knocked the safety off and shot me."