Story of dog shoots man is no joke

To me, there's not much funny about guns.

But dogs? Dogs are pretty funny.

So about that story of the experienced hunter shot in the leg by his own dog.

In case you missed it, Eli the dog was riding along before dawn in a pickup with his owner last week, heading out for some deer hunting in Pasco County.

Apparently excited to be out and about in the manner of all dogs, Eli in his enthusiasm reportedly managed to not only hit the safety of a high-powered rifle inside the truck, but also the trigger.

Reading this, I was surprised that Eli turned out to be a bulldog and not a Labrador retriever, which is an Old English name meaning "extremely cute and incredibly sweet but also insane." Mine is actually a mixed breed — as my husband says, half Labrador, half monkey.

Anyway, it is amazing any dog could do what Eli apparently did in the pickup that day. Mine runs to the door every time a doorbell rings on TV. Once I thought about teaching her this trick I read about in a magazine where she would open the refrigerator with the help of something tied to the door handle and fetch us a cold beverage on command. To which my husband said: You really want the dog to know how to open the fridge?

Good point. It might have taken her a couple of months to put it together, but eventually she would have realized she could have access to all the wonders within without waiting for the human go-ahead.

Mine is a dog who loves to tear apart paper. This week, it was a Lotto ticket. (Should the numbers come in, I think me and my remaining pink scraps of paper will have a shot only if one single person in that lottery office has a Lab.)

But about Eli.

With the news of Dade City electric company executive Billy Brown being shot in the leg by his dog came predictably waggish speculation on how this can happen when you switch to the cheap kibble, or how Eli must have cut a sweet deal with the deer.

But behind this was the real story of what a gun can do, its power and its danger.

In the case of Mr. Brown, longtime general manager for the Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative, the bullet struck bone and damaged the femoral artery.

There's obviously no joke in a 78-year-old man's blood loss and the terrible damage to his leg, in the surgery he had to undergo or in the anguish of family members who worried they might lose him. Turns out it's less a Dick Cheney-goes-a-huntin' spoof than a story of us and our guns.

Another news item this week said in our post 9-11 world, we Americans have become much more accepting about gun ownership. Nearly half the people polled said someone in their household had one.

That number was a stunner to me.

If there's any good in a story of an accidental shooting — particularly the ones we see too often when a kid finds a loaded gun — it's that it can spark serious discussion on safety and responsibility.

And there it was on the blogs after the hunting story, talk of the rifle's safety being on and whether it should have been in the truck loaded.

Also there were wishes for Mr. Brown's recovery.

You hope he gets to go home and sit in his chair and pat his dog on the head and say something like: Good boy, Eli, even if you are half monkey.

Story of dog shoots man is no joke 12/16/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 17, 2011 12:58am]

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