Adopted: April 2002
Shelter: ARF - Animal Rescue Foundation
Original Name: Roach
Hometown: Bolingbrook, IL
On an April morning in 2002, my wife and I went to a pet store to buy a crate in preparation for adopting a dog in the near future. What we did not expect was that there would be an adoption event that day and that a dog named 'Roach' would greet us as we walked in.
We adopted Roach that day and promptly renamed him Chops. The shelter told us he was a Lab-Terrier mix and would grow to about 35-55 pounds and for some reason we believed them. Chops ended up being about 110 pounds grown up and was about as gentle a giant as there ever was.
Chops was not the easiest puppy, and his size did not help in his training. We signed him up for puppy obedience school right away at the same national chain we adopted him from, and Chops was not a model student. Not only did Chops bark a lot because he wanted to play with the other pups, but he also was able to jump over their in-store fencing and run through the store celebrating his newfound freedom.
After a few classes, Chops was politely dismissed and refunded as it was obvious he needed a more enclosed space for his size and energy. We then enrolled Chops in another training school where he was the largest puppy in the class, which led to a completely different format so that Chops did not scare all of the other pups with his size (and energy) during playtime. He graduated that beginner's class, although it is more likely that they passed him out of pity than due to his progress in becoming a well-trained dog.
Chops brought his boundless energy to the dog park on a nightly basis, becoming the dog that the other owners dreaded seeing. He often led other dogs on pilgrimages to a small creek through some wooded areas, jumping in and going for a brief swim, making sure that all owners had to try and dry their soaked dog off before heading back home.
But Chops was the best dog anyone could ever hope for. I began working at home when Chops was about five years old, and he would stay by my side as I worked early in the morning or late at night. He greeted our UPS and mail drivers every day and would sit outside with me while I unloaded boxes.
We had no idea the day we adopted Chops that he would be with us for so many events in our lives, but we were lucky to have been there on that April day when he was jumping on top of the play pen just waiting for a family to take him home.