Spike and Chopper, however, are not the most likely of friends. The two canines will share the stage during the Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade on Dec. 11.
Spike, a tiny papillon who was abused for much of his early life, is quiet and small and enjoys spending an afternoon curled up on his human mother’s lap. At the other end of the spectrum is two-year-old Boston terrier Chopper, whose idea of a good time is riding high on his remote-controlled Harley Davidson.
Yet Spike and Chopper have one very important thing in common: they are members of an elite group of San Diego canines that use their talent and good looks for charity — a club that seems to thrive here in Southern California.
Spike and Chopper first met almost exactly one year ago, when Mark Shaffer, Chopper’s human father and fellow Harley rider, noticed a post on Spike’s Facebook page that made mention of a tiny wagon. In possession of a small wagon himself, he decided to get in touch with Spike and owner Jocelyn on the chance they’d go for a joint Harley/wagon-towing adventure.
Taylor, it turned out, was more than game, and the group met up at the 2010 Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade for a trial run. Chopper, as usual, helmed the bike while Spike rode in the wagon, both resplendent in their signature sunglasses. Taylor and Shaffer figured they’d give the arrangement a try, and if Spike jumped out or otherwise rejected the wagon, they’d just walk alongside each other in the parade.
Neither dog so much as hinted at resistance to the arrangement — Spike, in fact, loved his wagon so much that after the parade was over and Taylor and Shaffer were packing things up, Taylor looked around for Spike only to find him sitting back in it, waiting for another round. The pair were a smash hit — so much so, they’ve been invited back this year as grand marshals.
The Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade takes place on Sunday, Dec. 11 from 1 to 5 p.m., starting from the Gaslamp Hilton Park, corner of Fourth Avenue and K Street. Viewing the parade is free, and entry to participate in the parade is $10 per pet/handler duo. Register at www.gaslamp.org/petparade.
— This story originally appeared in the December edition of San Diego Pets Magazine, which is affiliated with the San Diego Community Newspaper Group.