I never really considered myself a dog person until I met Chopper one fateful day on May 31st, 2009. He turned it all around, and, from our first walk onward, I knew I had found my best friend. Chopper would come with me everywhere: to the store, to the mall, out on adventures near and far, and especially to the beach to be my companion and peacefully enjoy the last light of the day, as I attempted to photograph sunset after sunset. Chopper was a garage dog and loved hanging out on the crisp cement floor of my garage as I worked on my sportbike. He loved speed and going for drives; you could hear the wind whistling past his giant noggin and his jowls blowing in the breeze as I cruised down the PCH with my best friend. Chopper was something of a local celebrity in San Diego, and all the valets in the Gaslamp Quarter knew him by name; he’d take me on his daily schnack™ route, trick-or-treating from valet to valet station at the hotels in search of milk bones and belly rubs. No one could resist the giant furry man-bear-dog that was Chopper Chapoodle Chapowski. Many a time passersby would stop and ask to have their picture taken with him; Chopper would always oblige their requests, and was more than happy to receive hugs from the ladies (although The Momma was always his favorite, from whom he received Momma-Loves and Naked Foot Snugglies). Chopper was by my side constantly; he was my muse–my handsome, regal-yet-total-cheezeball Chapoodle Bear. I had never heard of Anatolian Shepherds until I met Chopper–so tall and mighty, yet so empathetic and in-tune with those closest to him. He’s the reason I became a dog person. I have more photographs of Chopper than anything or anyone else in the world; they outnumber everything 100-to-1. He was just so damn cute–a total snuggle-bear. It didn’t matter how bad your day was going; one look at Chopper’s goofball antics and his beaming smile, and all your worries went away. He was a natural therapy dog; he just wanted to see his Momma and I together and happy. He’s the reason I now have Razi by my side, and he taught Razi the ways of the world and how to be an Anatolian.
Chopper always looked on the bright side, and was adamant about never letting others get upset or down. Any time he sensed my frustration, he would call out to me in his booming Wookie voice, and would slide his head under my arm and remind me not to sweat the small stuff.
He was an expert at finding the Good Schtuff™–the amazingness that has compelled many a dog to suddenly starting rolling around in the grass and frolicking like a total goofball!
He was the best big brother Anatolian Razi could’ve ever hoped for..
So patient and so wise…
Always willing to lend a paw to help out..
He was a lover of Nature, and always took time to stop and smell the flowers..
He was such a Lover-Bear.
and a total goofball….
He loved his Belly Rubs…
Did I mention he LOVED Belly Rubs??
He loved riding with his giant head out of the window….the faster the better!
He loved his Momma..
…and she loved him more than words can describe..
…and he loved Razi…..despite him stealing his bone and the best spot on the couch…
Did I mention he was a total goofball?
He was sexy and he knew it! *wiggle-wiggle-wiggle*
He loved opening boxes…. especially presents and care packages with Pop Tarts™
He was a professional snoozer…anywhere, any time…
and was always smiling…
He LOVED his lamb rug…..
and had the most brilliant Moustachio!
Muddy paws were a lifestyle for Chopper..
He loved to go on long walks in the evenings and watch the sun set…
The Dog Beach was his home away from home…
Chopper was the definition of Regal….
I’ll see you on the other side, Big Guy…. I love you.