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World's Oldest Dog Fight
Chanel, Sammy, Smokey, Bluey, Max or Taffy Gayle?
Eric Shackle (internews)     Email Article  Print Article 
Published 2009-06-13 11:59 (KST)   
Blue Dog Series by George Rodrigue http://www.georgerodrigue.com/
©2009 Rodrigue Studios http://www.georgerodrigue.com/

Dog owners, TV stations and newspapers in the United States and Britain are embroiled in a lively dogfight to discover The World's Oldest Dog. Naturally, they favor their local pooches. But they can't all be right.

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The competition began last December, when Lee Lutz, in the Times Beacon Record, on the North Shore of Long Island, New York, asked, "Is this dachshund the oldest dog in the world?" He drew attention to a 19-year-old wire-haired dachshund named Chanel.

A few months later, the global spotlight focused on Chanel when she celebrated her 20th birthday. The Guinness Book of Records listed her as The World's Oldest Dog. Pictures of a cute little mutt wearing goggles and a colorful sweater, looking like a First World War aviator in an aerial dogfight, were seen on TV and in newspapers by millions of dog lovers (and dog haters too).

In April 2009 OhmyNewsInternational rained on the pooch's picnic with a story, Chanel is NOT the World's Oldest Dog. We said many dogs had lived much longer than Chanel, but were not eligible to be listed by Guinness, which insists on their ages being documented. That's not always possible.

We said that the 100th birthday of Bluey, a famous Australian cattle dog born on June 7, 1910, is to be celebrated next year by people living in Rochester, a country town 130 miles (209 kilometers) north of Melbourne, Victoria.

Bluey worked among sheep and cattle for 20 years, and survived until Nov. 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.

On May 22, 2009 TV station 10-KLFY in New Iberia, Louisiana, reported that a "terier mix" named Max, owned by Janelle Derouen of New Iberia, was laying claim to the Guinness Book of World Records title of "Oldest Dog in the World." The report said:
"Max is a terrier mix who's been part of Janelle Derouen's family just a few weeks after his birth on August 9th, 1983. That makes Max almost 26 years old.

Janelle says Max is in remarkably good shape. He suffers from cataracts, so he wears doggie goggles when he's out in the sun, and a touch of arthritis has slowed him down, but not by much."

When Janelle spotted our story on the current record holder, Chanel, she knew she had to let the world know about her incredible canine. We'll keep you posted on Max's quest for the title of world's oldest dog, but in the meantime, Max isn't letting his sudden celebrity go to his head.

You can see a video of Max and his owner here:

Serendipitously, George Rodrigue, a Cajun artist, grew up in New Iberia. His Blue Dog series of paintings, known worlwide, are thought to have been inspired by his dog named Tiffany.

Apparently oblivious of Max's claim to the title, Florida's St.Petersburg Times promoted another contestant on May 30. A story by Stefan Jaeger was entitled "St.Petersburg Man Says He Owns the World's Oldest Dog". It said:
Joe Slatton of St. Petersburg wasn't impressed when he learned NBC's Today Show had featured what it deemed the world's oldest living dog at 21. Slatton says that at the time the show aired May 6, he was most likely out walking his 23-year-old Shih Tzu, Smokey. "My wife told me about the show," Slatton said: "Of course she knew, too, that Smokey was way older than that dog on TV."

Smokey, golden brown with all his hair, is not only older, but more active. He loves his walks and has his own wardrobe.

Slatton, 78, and Mary, 76, his wife of 55 years, took in Smokey nine years ago when the dog's former owner moved to a place where she couldn't have a pet.

Records at the VCA St. Petersburg Animal Hospital show Smokey was born Jan. 18, 1986. That was two days before the first federal Martin Luther King Jr. Day was celebrated and 10 days before the space shuttle Challenger disaster.

The rival claims of Max and Smokey failed to cross the Atlantic, because on June 1, Andy Crick wrote in the London tabloid The Sun:
Yorkshire terrier Sammy is 23-years-old which makes him two years older than the current canine world record holder...

The pensioner pooch has had half his teeth out and can barely see or hear. But owner Doug Percival, 73, has only had to take him to the vets ONCE since he got him as a two-year-old pup.

He puts his longevity down to them looking after each other and twice-weekly treats from the fish and chip shop.

We were about to award the WOD (World's Oldest Dog) crown to Max, when we stumbled on a story in The Daily Mountain Eagle, in Jasper, Alabama. Staff reporter Jennifer Williams has discovered a pooch that's a year older than Max!

Brenda and Barney Harvill with their 26-year-old poodle,Taffy Gayle
©2009 Jennifer Williams /Daily Mountain Eagle

"Brenda and Barney Harvill of Curry don셳 mind that their poodle, Taffy Gayle, is blind, deaf and missing most of her teeth," Williams wrote.

"Taffy Gayle has been the couple셲 baby since they could never have children of their own. 'We셶e been so partial to her. Never having any children, I just think it셲 a blessing that God셲 let us keep her this long,' Brenda Harvill said.

"Taffy Gayle was born Sept. 22, 1982... The puppy was given Brenda Harvill셲 middle name, Gayle, when she was registered with the American Kennel Club.

"Harvill likes to buy infant clothing at the thrift store and play dress-up with her. The little dog셲 wardrobe includes T-shirts, sweaters and a pink party dress. Taffy Gayle doesn셳 have to live on a strict diet of dry dog food. She is fed Vienna sausages as a treat. She also eats any potted meat, stewed chicken and ground hamburger.

"On her birthday, Taffy Gayle gets her own little cupcake with a candle in it. She also wears her party dress that day to celebrate."

You can read much more about this tiny dog by visiting The Daily Mountain Eagle.

Summing up, it seems that Louisiana's Max, at 25 going on 26, is not quite the max, Alabama's Taffy Gayle, 26 last September, is probably the world's oldest living dog. She will even beat Australia's Bluey as the oldest dog of all time if she clings to life for three more years.

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown is trying to find his city's oldest dog. One of his readers who calls herself rozzzzzzy wrote this comment:
No category for the smelliest dog? If you ever add it, let me know! We adopted a black, long-haired pug named Snowball, changed his name to Jack Black, after which we discovered that no matter what he was fed, even treats with chlorophyll, he can clear a room in seconds. Feed him chicken, and he can clear a stadium. Even my teenagers, who find passing gas extremely humorous, run from rooms with their t-shirts over their noses, and NO ONE wants to let the little fellow sleep with them, despite taking dibbies on our other two dogs.

Well, that may account for Chicago being called The Windy City.
©2009 OhmyNews

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