Chopper the Biker Dog is arguably the most famous therapy dog in San Diego.
The adorable, loving Boston Terrier became certified as a therapy dog through Pet Partners 5 years ago and has since traveled up and down the entire west coast, visiting hospitals, schools, assisted living facilities, police departments, and anywhere else where he could provide therapy to those that need it.
However, after 5 years, Pet Partners has stripped Chopper of his certification for no reason other than they don’t like his outfit.
You see, Chopper is a bone-afide biker dog, complete with a leather vest, bandana, and doggy goggles.
“They claim they don’t allow dogs in costumes. This is not a costume,” Chopper’s therapy partner and owner, Mark Shaffer explained to ABC10 News. “This is his persona. This is what he is.”
Pet Partners posted the following explanation to Chopper the Biker Dog’s Facebook page:
“While we recognize that many pet owners enjoy costuming their pets at home and even in public settings, particularly around many holiday events, the use of costumes and clothing in an animal-assisted therapy environment raises a number of concerns for the animal, the handler and the clients or patients being seen … Pet Partners harbors no ill will towards motorcycle enthusiasts. Holiday costumes, tutus or clothing other than a scarf are also not allowed. We wish Mark and Chopper all the best and hope that they will continue to bring smiles to the people they meet. Mark did receive written warning to correct the behavior before the suspension to follow the appropriate protocol. He is free to dress Chopper as he pleases, just not while volunteering at facilities as a therapy animal team.”
Shaffer is now seeking therapy dog certification from another organization so that he can continue doing what he loves – making people smile!