Sunday, June 14, 2009

World's Oldest Dog Fight

This story has been published by the South Korean citizen reporters' journal OhmyNewsInternational:

Chanel, Sammy, Smokey, Bluey, Max or Taffy Gayle?

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.

The competition began last December, when Lee Lutz, in the Times Beacon
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 doglovers (and
doghaters 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,
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
headed "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

"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

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

"Brenda and Barney Harvill of Curry don't mind that their poodle, Taffy
Gayle, is blind, deaf and missing most of her teeth.," Williams wrote.
"Taffy Gayle has been the couple's baby since they could never have children
of their own. 'We've been so partial to her. Never having any children, I
just think it's a blessing that God's let us keep her this long,' Brenda
Harvill said.

"Taffy Gayle was born Sept. 22, 1982... The puppy was given Brenda Harvill's
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 dog's wardrobe includes T-shirts, sweaters and a pink
party dress. Taffy Gayle doesn't 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

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

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.

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