Many of our loyal Brisbane customers would have met our dog Chopper over the years. Sadly, Chopper passed away on the 7th of May 2006. It was very sudden and without much warning. We thought that he was invincible - he seemed so fit and healthy. By the time the vet tried to operate on him to remove the large tumour on his spleen, he died. He was not quite 12 years old. He was very much part of the Perfect Potion team. He came to work every day - not that he did any work.
He was the keeper of the bins, regularly checking them to ensure no one threw food scraps into them - because if they did, Chopper would find them and ensure they were disposed of properly.
At lunch he would look at you with those big doggy eyes waiting for you to give him some food scraps. He usually got his way, however if you didn't give in to him he would give you an ear full of his barking!
He loved Christmas in the shops, he loved getting attention and pats from customers - when he got bored he would start eating raffia, unfortunately raffia does not digest that well, and it was always embarrassing the next day when I had to pull ½ metre or so of raffia from you know where!
He attended all the workshops that I taught in Brisbane, if anyone in the class had food in their bag he would find it, if they placed their glass of water on the floor he would drink from it - water always tasted better from a glass for Chopper.
He attended all the staff meetings and almost all the job interviews that I did. The "in" joke at Perfect Potion was that if you liked Chopper you would definitely get the job. Ann, our book keeper told me that during her interview, Chopper decided to sit on her foot for the whole interview. She was not too sure what to do, so she put up with him.
He was a really good judge of character and yes I do think he did help me in the recruitment process. Kath our Retail Operations Manager was even luckier - she got what we ended up calling "some Chopper loving". That was usually a little embarrassing - if he liked you very much he often latched onto your leg and gave it a hump!
Most important of all - he was a gentle soul with attitude who loved to be around people - he filled our lives with so much joy and fun. He was not the most obedient dog, but what he lacked in obedience he made up for in character and personality. He never really understood that he was a dog.
He exuded a puppy like innocence right up to the very last minute -on his last day a stranger who had just met Chopper came up to us and said "he is a seriously cute dog".
We are all grateful that we had an opportunity to share our lives with such a special little dog.
Chopper we miss you so much.
Sal & Carolyn
An Angel appears
Life without Chopper has not been easy. The second day was really difficult. I had to go to work on my own as Carolyn was going to uni that day. He would always place his front paws on the middle console and keep an eye on the road for me. I would wind the window down for him so that he could hang out the window - I really ask you, what did dogs do before cars were invented? It seem so second nature for them to hang their head out of the car window - it must be such an exhilarating feeling to have the wind blowing in your face at 100 k/ph.
I thought that Nick Cave might cheer me up - his music seemed so appropriate for the mood I was in. There is a song of his that goes something like this, "I don't believe in an interventionist god... I don't believe in the existence of angels, but then again if I did, I would summon them down to you."
By the time that I got to the office I was an absolute wreck. As I was driving up our driveway I noticed a little dog from across the road come rushing over to greet me. By the time I got out of the car I had a little cute staffie jumping all over me. I said, "Okay girl we better get you back to your owners." When I took her across the road - the guys said "Sorry mate she's not ours, she just wandered in 5 minutes ago".
Unfortunately she was not collared or tagged, I know that Chopper had gone walk about so many times when he was a pup, and she was not more than 6 months old, I could not let her roam around and potentially get hit by a truck or something. We quickly called the pound and the RSPCA to let them know that we had found a dog. We placed "found" posters all over the neighbourhood.
However she decided to make herself at home, she rushed in to greet everyone as Chopper would, she followed me into my office, sat in the same place that Chopper would sit, drank water that was still in Chopper's bowl and then decided to plonk herself down right next to my feet where Chopper would normally sleep.
Yes - everyone at work was as stunned as I was. Had Chopper sent down a little angel to cheer us up? She has brought so much joy into our hearts. Carolyn and I are not ready for another doggie - not quite yet. However she is being well taken care of until her owners claim her and for the time being she is part of the Perfect Potion family.
Final farewell to Chopper
It has now been more than 2 years since Chopper passed away. Carolyn and I now share our life with a beautiful affectionate beagle named Charlie. Part of me has had a difficult time letting go of Chopper's memories. Until recently Chopper's photos were still on my screensaver and I have still not had the heart to write Chopper's final chapter.
Recently I met a friend whom I had not seen for a while. She was so happy to see me with Charlie. She said that she has regularly visited our website waiting to see if I have added the final chapter to Chopper's story. Perhaps it has been the fear of losing Chopper forever that has prevented me from writing his final chapter.
Now I do not say this in a nasty way, but someone that we knew very well did not show any sympathy when Chopper passed away. This was our cat, Memsahib. Chopper always snubbed and ignored her. Very soon after Chopper died, Memsahib had become the "Queen of the Castle" - she had worked her way to the top of the pecking order, and I was now at the bottom of the pecking order. Chopper was always referred to as the "King of the Castle".
It therefore came as a huge shock to Memsahib when we brought home a bouncy little puppy. With Chopper gone, Memsahib was determined not to lose her new top rank in the pecking order. In the beginning she gave Charlie a hard time, but now they are best of mates. Memsahib doesn't even mind when Charlie climbs up her scratching post. Charlie knows that she is at the bottom of the pecking order and that the cat is now number one.
Just in case you are wondering, it took us 12 weeks from the time Chopper passed away, before we decided to get another dog. Yes, once you have had a beagle it is difficult to get another dog. Charlie was the runt of the litter, she had a little kink in her tail, she was a scrawny looking beagle, however, she had this relentless puppy energy and affection and loves snuggling with you. I was very conscious of not projecting Chopper's personality on to her. Charlie has developed her own incredible personality.
Yes, and another feel good story. Angel finally found her real family. It was such a happy day to see her rejoined with her family. This happiness was best explained in an email (below) sent to me by a good friend of Angel's family. By the way, Angel's real name is Suzy!
"My dearest friends lost their baby staffy and she could not be found. They searched the pound, they searched the RSPCA with no luck. I told them to go to the local vet just in case. Now this was a few weeks after she disappeared. I had to go to the vet that day. There on the front door was their girl, on a found poster...the owners of this little girl rang the number on the poster....and Suzy, Chopper's Angel came home!
They would like to thank you for taking care of her and her own "babies", four little boys are so pleased to have their girl back" - Cindy, Brisbane.