Mississippi Man Was Shot By His Own Dog on a Hunting Trip and Nearly Died

A Mississippi man is in recovery after he was shot by his own dog while on a hunting trip. He reportedly died twice before doctors could stabilize him and wake him up 12 days after the accident.

The man, ex-college football player Matt Branch, 30, was out hunting with friends at Eagle Lake in Mississippi during the incident.

On December 28, Branch and his friends were loading up a utility terrain vehicle with guns while preparing for the trip. Branch's black labrador retriever, Tito, jumped into the bed of the vehicle, where guns were still strewn about.

In his excitement, Tito stepped on a shotgun lying in the truck bed. With his paw, Tito somehow managed to depress the gun's safety mechanism and pull the trigger, which caused the gun to fire through the wall of the vehicle.

"I kind of looked around at the shock of everyone else," Branch told the Clarion-Ledger. "I looked down and saw the gaping hole in the Ranger bed next to me. That's when I knew I was shot."

Matt Branch
Matt Branch #79 of the LSU Tigers lines up to block against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on October 3, 2009 in Athens, Georgia. LSU won 20-13. Joe Robbins/Getty

Branch reportedly didn't feel the pain in his leg from the shot, only numbness. About an hour after he was shot, he fell unconscious due to the blood loss and trauma.

For the next 12 days, medics worked to save Branch. He says he died twice during that period, once for over an hour, before doctors were able to bring him back.

During that time, Branch also underwent nine surgeries and lost all of his left leg.

When he awoke, Branch says he was incredibly weak and could barely even grab a bottle of water off the table next to him.

"I'd been asleep 12 days. It's crazy how your body can get so weak when it's not used," Branch said.

When he initially awoke, Branch didn't realize he had lost his leg because he couldn't lift himself up to see it and was too absorbed with separating the vivid dreams he'd had from the reality around him. Branch was also feeling phantom pains in his leg, which is common for people who have recently had a limb removed.

Branch said he was more happy to be alive than mad over the loss of his leg.

After he awoke, he had to spend an additional 43 days in the hospital before being transferred to a rehabilitation facility, where he spent an additional 14 days.

Branch was given a titanium prosthetic leg, and is now back at his job and working again. Branch says he plans on continuing what he regards as a family tradition and will hunt again in the future.