It’s not just teenage girls who have to deal with dress code shaming, dogs do too. A 5-year-old Boston terrier named Chopper the Biker Dog who goes around visiting hospitals and senior centers on his mini motorcycle had his therapy dog license revoked because of his outfit. Chopper’s usual attire consists of a leather vest, bike goggles and a bandana. Although he’s been wearing this uniform for years, Pet Partners, the organization that certified Chopper as a therapy animal, suspended his license citing safety concerns.
“We are concerned about the clothing in which Chopper is in the community. We are also concerned about the perception that your team may be creating in the community with regard to therapy animals,” said Pet Partners in a letter to Mark Shaffer, Chopper’s owner. He has been working with licensed therapy dogs for years and says Pet Partners has known about Chopper’s signature look. “I’ve been doing this for ten years and they’ve acknowledged that I do this,” Shaffer told ABC News. “As soon as Chopper rides into someone’s room on his motorcycle, the patients start to laugh and smile. Each therapy dog brings something different to the table and Chopper’s whole package provides the therapy.”
The timing of the suspension is suspicious—on Chopper’s Facebook page, Shaffer says he received the letter from Pet Partners within days after Chopper’s highly-publicized tour which happened to occur the same week as the biker gang shootout in Waco, Texas.
While the agency does have a policy prohibiting their therapy pets from wearing costumes because they “detract from the animal’s credibility as a therapy animal and a member of the facility’s treatment team,” Shaffer argues that Chopper’s cool threads are not actually a costume but more of a vest—which is what therapy animals usually wear—along with goggles that are specifically made for dogs to protect their eyes.
Shaffer plans to get Chopper certified with another agency. He will also keep Chopper dressed in his biker garb so worry not about him suddenly sporting a polo shirt and turning into “Chad the Preppy Dog.”
Image via screenshot.
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