Chopper wasn’t your average Boston Terrier.
Better known as “Chopper the Biker Dog,” the 12-year-old therapy dog rode around town on a miniature motorized “Harley,” offering kisses and comfort to wounded veterans, traumatized police officers, children with cancer, homeless people, and anyone else in need.
“He touched so many people’s lives,” said Gillian Larson, one of the dozens of mourners who attended the dog’s memorial service in San Diego. “He just had a way of cheering you up, sometimes when only a dog could.”
According to The San Diego Union Tribune, Chopper was only 3-months old when he was adopted by Mark Shaffer, a biker and real estate agent whose previous therapy dog, Bandit, had just crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
Shaffer’s first therapy dog, Bandit, left big paws to fill, but it quickly became clear that Chopper–who breezed through his training and got certified at just one-year-old–was born for this role.
“His whole attitude was, ‘If petting me is going to make you happy, go ahead and do it,’” said Shaffer, who dressed the vivacious pup in a bandana, sunglasses, and doggie-sized biker vest. “He loved everybody. And they loved him.”
But in 2019, Chopper was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease, anemia, and liver cancer in short order. When Larson last saw him at a cancer charity event, the vivacious pup reportedly struggled to greet fans with his signature “Chopper kisses.”
Chopper’s fading health, compounded by social distancing required by the pandemic, made it difficult for the friendly dog to continue his beloved work.
In recent years, Chopper’s health had taken a dramatic turn, forcing his owner, Schaffer to make the difficult decision to put him down. But shortly before his appointment, Shaffer woke one morning to find that Chopper had died in his sleep.
“I’m at a loss for words,” Shaffer tearfully told reporters later. “It hasn’t really sunk in that he’s gone.”
RIP, Chopper. Thanks for being such a very good boy.