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World’s Oldest Living Dog

on May 21, 2009
Posted in Fun

A Dachshund living in New York recently celebrated her 21st birthday!

The little dog from Port Jefferson Station in New York was also honored by the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Oldest Living Dog.

The Dachshund, named Chanel, was thrown a birthday party by her owner Denice Shaughnessy at the New York Dog Spa and Hotel in Manhattan.

But Chanel’s birthday ‘day’ started even earlier than that with an appearance on the Today Show!

Chanel was escorted by an entourage of mounted police and news reporters and photographers just to prove how important she really is. During the television show, Chanel and Denise were awarded a plaque from an official from the Guinness Book of World Records.

“On behalf of Guinness World Records, I’m here to present the record to Denice Shaugnessey for the World’s Oldest Living Dog at 21 years,” announced the Guinness official.

Denice explained that Chanel used to have reddish hair which had turned white over the years. Due to the fact that Chanel has cataracts in both of her eyes, she now has to wear Doggles, special glasses made just for dogs. During the summertime Chanel will also wear a small sun visor on her head to protect her from the sun’s harmful rays.

As she has aged, Chanel has become less tolerant of other people whom she believes is infringing on her personal space.

“She doesn’t like to be bothered,” Denice said. “She doesn’t like to have her face washed. She doesn’t let anybody hold her except me nowadays.”

Chanel also feels the cold terribly and so Denice keeps the temperature of their house at 72 degrees Fahrenheit and makes Chanel wear a sweater. Because her teeth are not as strong as they used to be, Chanel eats a diet consisting mostly of boiled chicken and other soft foods.

“Up until a year or so ago, she would eat table food,” Karl Shaughnessy said. “Baloney, liverwurst or ham, whatever she felt like chewing on. Now, she won’t do the ham, but she will eat the liverwurst. She is pretty finicky.”

“There are things that you give them, just like you do people, to keep their bones healthy. You have to love them. It’s not a sometimes job, it’s a full-time job,” said Denice. “She’s just been my best friend.”

Ironically, Chanel started her life in an animal shelter in Virginia and was adopted by Denice when she was only 6 weeks old for her then 12 year old daughter but Chanel quickly became Denice’s dog instead.

Denice said that she and Chanel would run at least 4 miles a day when Chanel was much younger.

“She’s an old lady,” explained Denice’s husband, Karl, a former New York City police officer. “You treat her like you would treat your grandmother. You have to treat her that way. You keep her sweater on at nighttime.”

The Shaughnessy’s used to joke about Chanel’s age becoming recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Karl explained that: “When she turned 18 or 19, we wrote an e-mail to them, and they said, ‘We won’t do anything until she is 20.’ Then, when she turned 20, we had to get a letter from the vet, and three letters from people who have known her since she was a puppy. It’s actually amazing, I remember when the [Guinness] certificate came and thinking, ‘Wow, 20-years-old. Can she make it to 21?”

In doggie years, Chanel is 120 years old! This is based on the scientific calculation that a dog’s first year equals 15 human years and the dog’s second year is 10 years. After that, it’s five years for each year after that.

Sadly, Denice says that she has thought about what she will have do when Chanel’s age really begins to show, and hopes that she will never have to make that kind of a decision.

“I absolutely love her so much, and I am really just hoping that when it is time to go, she just goes in her sleep,” Denice said.

Before Chanel there were other ‘old’ dogs. Such as a Labrador mix called Bella who died in September 2009, at the age of 29 and Butch who died in 2003 at the age of 28.

However the oldest dog that was ever recorded was a sheepdog from Australia named Bluey, who lived to be 29 years old.

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Read also: Peanut Detecting Dogs

Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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