Chopper Braves the Storm
to Bring Cheer To CHOC

Written By Gerry Ashley


Orange, CA – (2010)  Amidst the horrendous rains ravaging much of the California coast line, Chopper The Biker Dog continued one of the many heartfelt traditions begun by his predecessor Bandit The Biker Dog and their owner, Mark Shaffer. Chopper made his initial Christmas visit to Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) on December 23, 2005, bringing Christmas Cheer to dozens of children undergoing treatment.

Chopper and Shaffer braved the storm in order to make the event. “We made a commitment,” Shaffer said from his home in San Diego. “As long as it was possible, I wasn’t going to miss this event. This year’s event is especially meaningful to me, because Bandit and I had done this for a number of years. Ever since his passing, two years ago (2008), I had hoped I would someday be back here with Bandit’s successor.”

For over two and a half hours, Chopper, dressed in his biker outfit and a Harley Santa hat visited children on 3 floors, either in their rooms or playrooms, carrying on Bandit’s message of love and Christmas Cheer.  Shaffer pointed out: “Most of these kids have never seen Bandit or Chopper in person, so it's a 'new' adventure for them. It's always been a real treat for me too because I just love the looks on their faces as they met Bandit, and now Chopper face-to-face.” 

Chopper (a registered therapy dog) and Shaffer make visits to area hospitals and hospices throughout the year on a volunteer basis. Shaffer, a Realtor with Prudential California Realty, began his association with CHOC as the result of an invitation by actor/musician/humanitarian Mickey Jones to participate in his annual fundraiser for CHOC. “It went over so well with Bandit and the kids that we just kept going back,” adds Shaffer. 

Now with Chopper, Bandit’s legacy of giving back continues.  “We don’t ask for anything,” Shaffer points out, “because we get so much more than we give in return. The satisfaction of just knowing that we may be taking their minds off their health problems even if it's just for a little while is more than enough payment.”

Perhaps the legacy Bandit left behind and Chopper continues is a philosophy we should all practice in our daily lives.