Chopper was a very clever escape artist. We lived on an acreage when we first got him. It was fenced, however Chopper had managed to find ways to sneak through the fence. Each day I would find a new hole under or through the fence. Eventually we gave up trying to seal all of his escape routes, so we started to take him to work with us. We were fortunate to live in a dog friendly neighbourhood. So whenever someone found him, they always took good care of him until we got home. On his escapades he would always get up to something adventurous. These are just a few of his adventures.
Chopper loved going to school
Carolyn and I became very suspicious the morning we were walking Chopper at the local park and all these kids on the way to school walked pass saying "Hi Chopper!" "How the heck did they know Chopper" we thought. Well a day or two later we received a call from the local primary school telling us that our dog had spent all day at school and had created a bit of a ruckus. The Principal explained that it was school policy to call the pound whenever a dog walked onto the school grounds. Fortunately for Chopper, the kids said they would boycott class if he called the pound. So there Chopper was, tied to the flag pole, looking rather pleased with himself.
Within minutes we were surrounded by children who were so excited to tell us their Chopper stories. One kid was so elated that Chopper had chosen to steal his lunch from his school bag; another commented that while they were at the pool Chopper pinched his towel while another commented that he was not a good soccer player because he took off with the ball.
A week or so later we bumped into another group of children who told us that Chopper was again wandering around the school oval when the dog catcher came. They claim that the dog catcher chased Chopper, but he was much too fast for the dog catcher and managed to get away. They claim that the dog catcher was very angry. Now I am not making this up - but I think you should read the next story - I think the dog catcher would have been even crankier if she ever found out that Chopper had spent the day with his wife. He had become a legend at the school - even the lollipop lady knew Chopper!
Chopper and the dog catcher's wife
There was another time that he managed to escape. This time he was brought home by a most kind person. I was surprised to find out that she was the local dog catcher's wife. She could not bear the thought of Chopper being taken to the pound. Therefore Chopper ended up spending most of the day with her and her children at the pony club. From that day on he loved horses.
I am sure Chopper was the dog catcher's nemesis. One day we got home from work to find Chopper missing once again. This time we received a call and guess who it was from - the pound. Yes, he eventually did get caught; unfortunately it was too late to pick him up that evening, so he had to spend an evening in the pound. Surprisingly the next morning when we went to pick him up, he seemed rather pleased with himself.
Chopper at the steam engine fair
There was another time that he managed to escape and he had made his way down to a local fair at the park. Someone was nice enough to bring him home at the end of the day. The lady who brought him home said "I don't think you will have to feed him tonight, he's been hanging around the hotdog stand all day and has enjoyed more than his fair share of hot dogs!"
Sal's favourite dog books
Red Dog by Louis de Bernieres
Red Dog is an all time classic and favourite. This story follows the amazing adventures of a red dog that travels throughout the outback regions of Western Australia and the people that he meets. This is truly an incredible story of friendship and about the important bonds that are formed between people and dogs.
Anyone with a dog will relate to this; Tally cleaned his bowl conscientiously with his tongue, and then cleaned it again just to make sure. When there was definitely not one atom of food left in it, he strolled outside and lay down once more in the shade of the tree, his stomach feeling pleasantly stretched, and very soon he fell asleep.
Dog 37 by John Danalis
After reading this fantastic children's book I always became concerned after dropping Chopper off at the Kennel. If you ever did wonder what dogs get up to when you drop them off to the kennel, then this book is for you.
I have heard you calling in the night. A memoir by Thomas Healy.
This is a moving story about a character which I initially did not have any empathy for. He was constantly drunk and was an extremely violent person. This was until one day in a drunken stupor he buys a pup - whom he calls Martin. It then becomes a story of redemption and how Martin helps Thomas find peace, love and a reason to live.
Marley and Me by John Grogan
I purchased this book a month before chopper died. At the time I thought, this is so sad. I had no way of knowing that this book would help me come to terms with Chopper's loss. Marley and Me has now been turned into a movie.