"Dog, the Bounty Hunter," is Duane Lee Chapman, owner of Da Kine Bail Bonds in Honolulu, Hawaii and self-proclaimed "Greatest Bounty Hunter in the World." His wife, Beth, is a partner in the bail bonds business. Between the two of them, Beth and Dog have 12 children and four grandchildren. Most of the family work with Beth and Dog in their bail bond company. Dog's hit show, Dog, the Bounty Hunter, will soon start a new season on the A&E Network in the U.S. Dog is also the author of the bestselling book, You Can Run, But You Can't Hide.
Q: Working with your children, are there things you are learning from them every day?
DOG: Yes, every day. There's a song that says "listen to the children while they play/ isn't it kind of funny what the children say?" I'm learning probably more from them than I'm teaching. The teacher has become the student. I'm noticing after years of having them with me it's even easier to find the fugitives because they're helping. We as children, things have changed. To be able to be a good parent we have to be able to change, quality of life, learning, parenting, etc. I'm learning from them constantly. I'm still the teacher, Alpha dog, and dad and there's still biting at my heels. And you think where the hell did they get that, and then you think of the two people that made them and then you realize that's you or that's your mom and they're really a reflection of their parents.
Q: I’m a very spiritual person, how does spirituality play into your life everyday? Is it important in your children and grandchildren's lives as well?
DOG: Spirituality plays 99.9 percent of my day. I was thinking the other day when saying a prayer and thinking "I'm hoping you’re up there and listening." And God says, "you think you’re really thinking of these things all by yourself, dummy?" And I had to chuckle. I think absolutely there's a hereafter, an afterlife, and God's in control of everything. I saw a fish tank the other day, a 55 gallon tank, and the person feeding the fish knew what every fish liked, knew their names, etc. It made me think god is like the person feeding us and we're the fish and God is blessing every single one of us and is in control. And I test that control a lot and he's helped lead the way.
After saying a prayer asking for help for a girl we couldn't find, right after the prayer we got in the car, stopped at a light, and the girl we were looking for was literally crossed the street! There's things God will do that for sure he's letting you know he's there, even if you don't always see him.
Q: What does it mean to you to be working with family?
DOG: Everything. People say to me “Dog, it's amazing you work with your family.” But I think this is how it's supposed to be. You here of other people that can't even have holidays with their relatives and it's not that we don't get mad at each other, but we get over those arguments.
Q: Was writing your book therapeutic for you?
DOG: I’ve kept notes since I was 16 years old. But I never realized the impact of what it my writing would have on people until I was at my book signings, where people would be waiting four hours for me to sign their book! I rec. Then, go back and take a look at what you’ve written and you’ll see what you've become. I know that if I can do it and get through my past, you can do it. If Dog can do this and plough the field, then they can do this too. Anyone that thinks his or her life is over, I have to say "no." It's a challenge to make it through, but your problem is nothing, you can do this.
Q: What do you do in your down time that supports your work or helps clear your head?
DOG: On the full moon I chant with my children and grandchildren. I'm not a loner and I hate to be left alone. But sometimes when I'm alone, I talk to God and I think those are the days that really good things happen. I talk to God and ask for a jolt when I'm physically worn down and I get super charged! I stand in the yard myself and raise my hands towards heaven. My downtime is truly when I get my recharge.
Q: Underneath your hard exterior is there a very sensitive man?
DOG: Well, yes. TV portrays exactly what it is. You know the story about the Native American girl that picks up the snake because it's cold and brings it by the fire and pets it and it bites her and she asks, before she dies from the snake bite, why did you bite me and the snake says, well you know I was a snake. It like when I'm out there looking for people I'm Dog and then when they're captured and everything's okay and you get to talk to the people you capture, I'm Duane. I like a really good hunt where you have to be a Sherlock Holmes, but then I love the afterward, where they get the talking to on how to live their future and turn their life around.
Q: What do your kids love about you? What makes them laugh?
DOG: When I dance or when I try to get into their world. I remember my father trying to moonwalk and I was like “oh my god, dad!” And it doesn't matter what age they are; they are definitely embarrassed. The kids are like "don't ever let anyone on television see you do that!" They definitely get a belly laugh. I get even though. Because when I rent a scary movie they're running towards me for protection!
Q: If you could be the state governor where you live, what would you change for the positive for kids right now?
DOG: Making it mandatory to hire a young person, especially in the Whynai side of town. There's no work and they're really struggling. Immediately in Whynai I'd put up donut house, Denny's, anything that would help kids get jobs.
Q: If you could encourage parents to universally find more of one quality, what would it be? What do you think they are lacking?
DOG: Patience. To be patient with their kids. I have many children of my own and stepchildren. You have to slow down, get in their world. They don't live in our world of laser vision yet. Think of the world through their eyes and let them go. Patience is a virtue for children, but it should be a virtue for parents as well.
Q: How do you and Beth share you parental roles equally?
DOG: Their mother is the comforter and the father the disciplinary. We switch roles a lot because dad can't always be the discipline guy. We rotate so we're on equal footing. We don't plan that, it just comes naturally. Some days they won't listen to me, they listen to mom and we have to switch off. It's something that's unsaid, Beth and I just do. Of course we're not perfect and some times we realize the next day, we shouldn't have don't that.
At this point, Dog’s wife, Beth joined our conversation and responded to the question as well.
BETH: the things that happen over your lifetime groom u for what you are going to be. Our children are learning life from the backside because they're watching all these people go to jail. They're looking at it through the backside of life. Our kids have an incredible sense of judgment for other people because they've spent a lot of their lives in our bail bonds business. My children are getting an education here that they won't be getting in any school.
Dog had to get back to work, so we chatted more with Beth to find out some of her favorites.
Your Favorites Growing Up:
What was your favourite book?
I read a book called Go Ask Alice and I was horrified by that book! At 4o years old I still remember the impact that book had on me. It was a scared straight book for me.
What was your favourite toy?
The Sunshine Family. They were little doll versions of a mom, dad, toddler and baby. They had a bike and a camper too.
What you most wanted to be when you grew up?
An entertainer. I actually sang with a band called The Glass Menagerie in Vegas. It was big band Jazz and popular music.
If you could give parents one tip, what would it be?
Keep your children very close to you. I believe honestly that lack of parenting or lack of supervision is where your children go sideways. It's them trying to fill their own time with the television, Nintendo. It's where you lose the contact with your child. We made that mistake with Barbara Katie, we didn't keep her close and she died recently. The best things you can do for them are stay in their lives and know where they are.
I know this first-hand because I was a wild child. My parents where divorced and my mom worked downtime until 6 pm. I knew I had 3 ½ hours of mischief and I took full advantage of it and I know what can happen to kids in a short amount of time. A combination of tough love and good sense and letting your kids express themselves and forgiveness. There has to be one place they can go and vent too.
Growing up who was your inspiration?
There was a woman in the Colorado legislature named Frieda Poundstone. She was a lobbyist and taught me the ropes, which was how I become a lobbyist. And she was a lobbyist and taught me the ropes and how I become a lobbyist. She was also a local mayor and lobbied for a bill to introduce gaming in Colorado. She taught me how to go to the people, how to get your issue on the ballot. She taught me a lot about government, about politics, and how to work the system to your benefit. She was a well-respected woman. She had a profound effect on me because she was a champion for woman and she stood up there and people listened to her and she spoke with common sense. I try to keep that in mind when I'm with people every day. I try to give them options, and be as forthright and open as possible.