Saturday, September 12, 2009

How old is the oldest dog ever?

Last night I got an email from my friend Tucker. My Human has a friend who loves the small dogs and has a soft spot for adopting the older dogs with health issues that no one else one. We need more Humans like her! Well, Tucker is approaching his 17th birthday (which is on Dec. 28th). He's run into a few bumps though so send some good thoughts the ole guys way, okay? He has a followup appt with the vet on Monday.

The note from Tucker got me thinking about how old the oldest dog is. My Human took me to see my vet, Dr. Jim, yesterday because i ripped my entire nail off of my front dewclaw -- what's a girl gonna do when a foreign intruder comes into my yard (editor's note: a bunny came into the back yard -- must have a death wish to to run into a yard with 3 big back dogs on patrol!). My Human asked Dr. Jim how old he really thought I was ... when I was rescued everyone said I was around 2 years old which makes me 3 now. My Human seems to think (for whatever reason) that I am probably around 5 or 6 years old. Dr. Jim concurred. Well, I never count years or celebrates birthdays like Humans do. It doesn't matter to me. I guess my Human will never know how old I really am.

After Tucker's note though it got me wondering "how old is the oldest dog" - since Humans seem to fixate on age more than us furry four-legged I'm sure there's something out there on the internet. And yes, there was. I found this article on Bella the lab mix who's supposed to be close to 29:

The joy of gnawing on a bone is a distant memory and these days the only walkies she can manage is a potter around the garden. But that's not bad going considering Bella the Labrador cross is around 29 years old.

That's 203 if every year of a dog's life equals seven human years. The faithful pet is believed to be the world's oldest living dog and could even be the oldest dog ever.

Unfortunately her owner David Richardson, 76, has no documentation to prove her precise date of birth and so Bella's extraordinary longevity will never enter the record books.

Mr Richardson bought Bella for £70 from an RSPCA rescue centre on June 21, 1982, when she was "about three years old". They have been companions ever since.

But only this week the pensioner thought he was finally going to lose his faithful old friend. Bella suddenly fell ill and was unable to walk. With a heavy heart Mr Richardson made an appointment with the vet to put her down and dug a grave in her favourite spot in the garden of his home in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.

However, after a sleepless and tearful night Mr Richardson decided he couldn't go through with it.  He cancelled the vet's appointment and as if by magic Bella appeared as good as new as he filled in the grave.

Mr Richardson said: 'I phoned to cancel the vet because I just thought it would be better if Bella died in her sleep. She couldn't walk, but when I went out and filled in the grave she appeared behind me and was stood there watching. Since then she has been fine. ...
The world's oldest ever official dog was an Australian cattle dog named Bluey. He was eventually put to sleep in 1939, aged 29 years and five months.

Until his death in 2003, the only other official Guinness World Records holder was Butch, a 28-year-old Beagle from Virginia, USA,  who held the title of "oldest living dog".
To read the full article click here.
My Human worries about my age. She worries that I have a little arthritis in my joints. I tell her not to worry. Whether I live to be as old as Bella, or that cattle dog Bluey, or the beagle Butch, or even my friend Tucker .... I tell her it doesn't really matter. What matters is that I have a great life NOW and that she ignores what Dr. Jim says about having to put me on a diet! If I have any say so in this "losing weight" matter, I vote "No." My joints are happy to carry around an extra 5 pounds. 

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