by Photo courtesy of the San Diego Police Department via Twitter

San Diego’s beloved furry friend, Chopper the Biker Dog, passed away early Tuesday morning after riding around the region for nearly a decade of serving as a community therapy dog. 

Chopper’s owner, Mark Shaffer, broke the news on social media shortly after 5 a.m. A veterinarian was scheduled to visit around 11 a.m. Tuesday to help Chopper “transition over”, Shaffer announced Monday.

“Chopper passed on in his sleep. Pain-free. On his own terms. In my arms,” Shaffer wrote in a post. 

According to Shaffer, the La Mesa Police Department Chief Ray Sweeney asked to make a final visit with the Chopper, along with two officers, and offered to provide a police escort to the AA Sorrento Valley Pet Cemetery and Crematory.  

“Chopper has been a loyal companion, bringing smiles and comfort to many officers and their families. Despite battling Cushing's Disease, anemia & liver cancer, Chopper was there for all of us. May he rest in peace riding his motorcycle to doggy heaven,” wrote the San Diego Police Department in a statement. 

The 12-year-old Boston Terrier suffered several health complications and passed away a little more than a month from Aug.3, his 13th birthday. A veterinarian diagnosed Chopper with Crushing’s Disease, anemia in 2019. In 2021, Chopper was diagnosed with Liver Cancer. 

Shaffer has documented and shared Chopper’s trips, triumphs, tributes, and health updates with fans on social media. Many have shared affectionate messages to the biker dog, who often wore an embroidered leather biker vest. Some shared criticism, which Shaffer addressed in a June 25 facebook post. 

“Many people feel that I'm being selfish and keeping Chopper alive for my own benefit, and to continue "parading" him around. That's the furthest from the truth. And it's a shame that I feel I have to post the fact that I am preparing to put my bestest buddy Chopper to rest, and that I have to explain myself,” Shaffer said. 

The online community supporting Chopper and his best pal offered condolences in thousands of uplifting and encouraging messages throughout social media.

“Mark you and Chopper have given people love, kindness and hope to so many. Tears streaming down my face. Mark you have been amazing through all of this. My heart is broken, as is yours. Sending many hugs and love from Wyoming. Fly high Chopper…oh how you are loved,” one person posted. 

A fellow Boston Terrier, Lenny the Boston wrote a message Chopper:

“You’ve lived a life that was full of putting smiles on millions of faces, those around the world adored you and will forever more. You are the true definition of a hero: “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities” You are a true hero personified, and we are all better people for knowing you. You truly changed the world for the better and left your paw prints on all our hearts especially your dear Dad, Mark. You crossed the rainbow bridge the way you wanted to, in your Dad’s arms, peacefully! Rest easy my sweet friend.” 

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