San Diego’s most famous therapy dog has lost his certification — and all because of his biker outfit.
Chopper the Biker Dog was certified by Pet Partners, and over the past five years he has visited thousands of people in hospitals, schools and senior living centers up and down the West Coast.
But suddenly, after all that time, his biker duds have been ruled “innapropriate,” ABC 10 News reported.
Pet Partners has informed his owner, Mark Shaffer, that the certification was suspended because it did not approve of Chopper’s biker outfit. Chopper wears a leather vest and a bandana and, when he’s on his motorcycle, a helmet and some pretty cool goggles.
Shaffer got the news after he and Chopper returned from an 11-day trip to Oregon, stopping at VA hospitals and police departments every day along the trip.
In a statement, Pet Partners explained that “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 said that — rather than taking Chopper out of his biker outfit — he will seek certification from another therapy dog organization. He’s getting a lot of support for his decision on his Facebook page.
“They claim they don’t allow dogs in costumes,” said Shaffer. “This is not a costume,” “This is his persona. This is what he is.”
(Photo: From Chopper’s Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 9th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, biker, boston terrier, certification, chopper, chopper the biker dog, costume, dog, dogs, outfit, pet partners, pets, therapy, therapy dogs