Dog the Bounty Hunter Opens Up About His Wife's Cancer: 'I Love Her in Sickness and in Health'
Duane "Dog" Chapman is standing by his wife as she fights cancer -- and he tells PEOPLE that he'll be her No. 1 supporter for life
“When we made a pledge many years ago,” Chapman, 64, tells PEOPLE. “I said I’d love her in sickness and in health until death do us part. And that truth has really, really come alive in my mind. And I have to stand on that; I gave her an oath that I would love her forever. And thank God it’s not till death do us part at this point.”
Earlier this year, Beth Chapmanwas diagnosed with stage 2 throat cancer. The prognosis was hard to hear. “As I start this battle, I don’t see a lot of optimism,” Beth says on the an upcoming A&E special, Dog and Beth: Fight of Their Lives. “They give me 50/50 chances.”
Beth had surgery to remove the tumor in her throat, and the recovery has been arduous — but both Chapmans tell PEOPLE that they’re making it through a very dark time. “I take it one day at a time,” say Beth. “And I believe in the power of prayer.” Adds Dog: “She’s very tough, and she can beat this.”
Dog says that he’s focused on helping Beth through her recovery — and no longer troubles her with trivial things. “If I have a pain — like a back pain or something — I don’t tell her anymore. My little pains are nothing compared to what she’s going through.”
“I don’t want anybody to feel sorry for me, because I’m not the one who has it,” he adds. “I just want our fans to say prayers for Beth.”
The Chapmans hope that their fans get one central message. “Early detection is key,” says Beth. “I probably had the scratchy throat for a year. When something feels wrong, you need to get it checked immediately. That’s the lesson here. Also, everyone needs to pay attention to what you put in your body. Your diet is so important.”
Adds Dog: “You know, on every pack of cigarettes, there’s a warning that they cause cancer. But I think they need to do that with food, so people know what they’re putting into their bodies.”
As Beth continues to recover from her surgery, and goes through batteries of tests to determine the next step, they are encouraged by their fans who reach out. “I’ll have people come to me and tell me that they had cancer, or that a loved one had it. Everyone has been affected by this disease.”
“We’ve been on TV for 14 years,” says Dog. “We travel all over the country, and fans used to be like, ‘Dog! We love you Dog!’ But now they’ll see Beth and say, “Beth! We love you! You’re awesome!’ Everybody wants to watch her beat this.”
Dog and Beth: Fight of Their Lives premieres on Nov. 27 at 9pm E.T. on A&E.
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