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Eric Shackle Writes: The World's Oldest Dog

Eric Shackle introduces us to dogs ancient and modern.

To read more of Eric's splendidly entertaining articles please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/eric_shackle_writes/

The 100th birthday of Bluey, a famous Australian cattle dog born on Jun 7,
1910, will be celebrated next year by people living in Rochester, a country
town 130 miles (209km) north of Melbourne, Victoria, not far from last
month's disastrous bushfires.

Bluey worked among sheep and cattle for 20 years, and survived until
November 14, 1939, when he was put down. He had lived for 29 years, five
months and seven days, on a diet of kangaroos and emus. He was the world's
oldest dog, a record that has never been beaten.

John Harley, top dog of the Rochester Historical and Pioneer Society, told
OhmyNews "We know about Bluey, in fact the daughter of the man who owned it
is still with us and a regular attender of the Anglican church. No doubt
there will be some sort of celebration for the oldest dog's centenary."

He said that William Hall, of Rochester, was Bluey's first owner. When
William Hall died, his son Les looked after the dog. On the other hand,
Wikipedia says Bluey's owner was named Esma Hall, who lived to be 103. It's
not known whether she too ate kangaroo and emu meat.

While Rochester prepares for Bluey's centenary, a 20-year-old wire-haired
dachshund called Chanel, living in Port Jefferson Station, a hamlet in
Suffolk County, New York, has mistakenly been hailed as the world's oldest
living dog. She has set the canine world barking mad... and, despite the
error, is rapidly becoming a world-famous bitch.

Incidentally,when Marilyn Monroe was asked what she wore in bed, she
famously replied, "Why, Chanel No. 5, of course."

Two British national newspapers, The Daily Telegraph and The Sun, and
America's NBC radio and TV network fell for the story, but their readers,
listeners and viewers promptly named many other dogs who are (or were) older
than Chanel.

"This dog's age is no big deal," JT Cro growled on The Sun website. "My
grandparents had a dog before they passed away, 33 years old in human years
and in remarkably good health. I am certain he could of gone another 10
maybe 15 years before he would of died, however he was put down once my
grandparents died. They loved their dogs very much, most of the dogs they
had lasted 25-30 years."

Chanel's bid for fame began on Dec 17, 2008, with a story in her local
newspaper, the Times Beacon Record,
published on the North Shore of Long Island, New York. "Is this dachshund
the oldest dog in the world?" Lee Lutz asked, adding:

Chanel, a blond, wire-haired dachshund who calls Port Jefferson Station
home, is famous - or soon will be if her owners' expectation becomes reality
in 2009. The Shaughnessy family has been told by the publisher of "Guinness
World Records" that Chanel will be listed in next year's edition as the
oldest known dog in the world.

Born on May 8, 1988, Chanel is over 20 years old and going strong, according
to Denice Shaughnessy, a retired Army veteran who now works in the
principal's office of the Rocky Point Middle School.

"She's pretty healthy," said Shaughnessy, "cataracts, a little, but OK." The
Shaughnessys adopted Chanel in Virginia at 6 weeks old, and the German-breed
dachshund spent almost six years in the country of its origin when the
family was stationed in Europe in the early 1990s.

Slow forward to February 23, when Rupert Murdoch's British tabloid giant The
Sun (circulation 3 million+) published a sensational story under screaming
headlines: Oldest dog is Chanel No 20:

The Daily Telegraph published the story with a more restrained headline:
World's oldest dog needs jumper and goggles.

Next day, Chanel skipped back to America, where media outlets gleefully
seized on the London furphy [false report], without checking the facts.
"World's oldest dog is 20, needs glasses,"
NBC outlets reported in California, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere..

The story prompted The Daily Doxie ("your source for free daily dachshund
photos, past dachshund pictures, dachshund resources, and more") to publish
this article:
Breaking: The strange story of the Dachshund who would be the world's oldest
Last time this story was in the headlines the competition noted that there
appeared to be something fishy going on. First of all, in the past, the
holders of the world's oldest dog title have all been in their late
twenties. What's more, there are plenty of comments here at the Daily Doxie
from people who have 18- and 19- year-old wiener dogs, so they don't appear
that unusual.

Is it really possible, then, that there are no dogs between the ages of 20
and 29 who could claim the crown? And how come there's no official
announcement from Guinness World Records?

Guinness requires a dog's age to be documented, which bars many animals
older than Chanel from the record book. At 20, Chanel is only as old as a
93-year-old human. Forget that old wive's tale of a dog's age beine one
seventh of a human's. It's not always true. See How old is your dog?

In recent years, dozens of venerable pooches have been nominated for the
proud title of The World's Oldest Dog. Here are just a few:

Bramble, in Bridgewater, Somerset,
celebrated her 27th birthday in 2002, making her Britain's oldest living dog
and a contender for the oldest dog in the world. Her owner, Anne Heritage,
43, is a vegan and has brought up her pet on the same diet regime she
herself follows. "She has a big bowl of rice, lentils and organic vegetables
every evening," says Ms. Heritage.

Jerry. A 26-year-old mongrel living with an Aboriginal family in Australia's
Outback has the potential to become the world's oldest living dog, a
newspaper reported Sunday. Jerry, an Australian cattle dog-bull terrier
cross, will next month turn 27 - the equivalent of 189 years for a human -
said Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals veterinarian
Honey Nelson...

Jerry's owner, Waddie Harris - an Aboriginal tribal leader in New South
Wales state's Wilcannia town, put Jerry's longevity down to his high-protein
diet of Outback wildlife. "Jerry has grown up on kangaroo, rabbit and emu as
well as scraps off the table," the newspaper quoted Harris as saying. -
Associated Press, Jul 11, 2004

Jip celebrated his 25th birthday -- his age in human terms is 175 -- last
Thursday and incredulous owners Marilyn and John Regan, of West Lane, think
he could be the world's oldest living dog.

Mrs Regan, 64, said: "He's already outlived two of our other dogs and a cat.
He's going to outlive us all at this rate." ...The Regans acquired Jip
through Airedale Vets after his owner abandoned him at the age of six. In
his younger days he was treated to leisurely walks around the Clough, but
now he much prefers to be ferried around like his royal counterparts at
Buckingham Palace. Mrs Regan said: "He loves riding around in the car with
John. Whenever he grabs the keys you can see his ears prick up." - Bradford
(UK) Telegraph and Argus
http://archive.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/2005/9/23/180804.html Sep 23,

Titch. The tiny terrier has already clocked up 19 years and turns 20 in
September, making him a whopping 140 years old if he was human. - Coventry
(UK) Telegraph, Feb.26, 2009.

Derek the Mongrel, at the age of 19, the equivalent of 133 in dog years -
is still going strong, according to a report ... The dog is the much-loved
pet of Jill Molnar, from Scunthorpe, who adopted him after he kept chasing
her daughter's young sons. While he could be the oldest dog in the area, a
Papillon named Fred made it to 29... - Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph, (UK),
April 16, 2008.

Tip, the 29-year-old collie is the world's oldest dog, claims Ann Elliott,
of Canterbury, who found him as a pup on a rubbish dump. - London Daily
Mirror, Jan 17, 2004.

Bella. A dog believed to be the oldest in the world has died, aged 29 years.
Bella, a Labrador cross, was bought by David Richardson from the RSPCA, 26
years ago when she was three years old. She had lived with Mr Richardson,
76, and his partner Daisy, 81, since 1982 in Clay Cross, Derbyshire. But she
was put down on Saturday following a heart attack while on holiday with the
couple. - London Daily Telegraph, Sep 8, 2008.

Skye, our border collie, will be 20 years old on March 1. Do you think she
could be the oldest dog in Scotland? James Logan, Prestonpans, East
Lothian. - Daily Record (Glasgow), Feb 1, 2007.

Cindy. Britain's oldest dog is a 24-year-old Jack Russell called Cindy. The
secret to its long life is tea and walking eight miles a day. - Daily
Mirror (London); July 26, 2002

Butch. 'His name is Butch. He's a beagle. His title is etched in official
Guinness World Records certification and he earned it by living for 27
years...189 in human years... His eyes, however, are bright and his tail
still wags. He still begs for petting, and as with all beagles, food is a
major holiday to celebrate often. On regular occasions he lets loose and
does a bit of running about the house...' -Charlottesville, Virginia Daily
Progress, Nov 4, 2002. [Butch died in 2003, aged 28].

Beagle. I have a Beagle and he is 17 years old now. I kiss him many times
every day and tell him "Mommy loves you. Stay with Mommy, Okay?". He gets
fresh carrots for snack for many years. My husband told me that is why he
still hears good and sees good. - Lilianne, in a Buzzle.com
http://www.buzzle.com/comments/56493-1.html forum message.

FOOTNOTE Then there's Hercules, said to be the world's largest living dog. "The Hercules English Mastiff is a real dog, but most of the images you see of him are not," says Kelly Roper. But that's another story. http://dogs.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Hercules_English_Mastiff


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