It wasn't long after I first read about Chanel, the official Guinness record holder as the world's oldest dog at 21 years, when news came that she died last Friday, August 28, 2009. As I recall from the previous news item, her owners Denice and Karl Shaughnessy from Port Jefferson Station, New York provided reliable veterinary records to prove Chanel's true age. Well, it is not for me to question the verification process, but I do believe that Chanel is not the only 21 year old out there. It's just a matter of seeking them out just like the world' oldest or tallest person. Once one is found and declared so, someone else from a remote area of the world claims to be the one.
About two years ago, I chatted with a woman walking her chihuahua along First Avenue and 42nd street and she claimed that her dog was 17 years old. I didn't have any difficulty believing her because my last dog, also a chihuahua, died at 15 years and one month. He suffered from a heart murmur on his last year but otherwise problem-free for all those years. If human longevity is increasing through better health habits and medical treatment, why not the dog's?
Anyway, it could be a never-ending one-upmanship when looking for the world's oldest dog. So, official recognition settles the matter to some extent. Well, good-bye to you, Chanel. Congratulations to you and your humans for this lengthy life.
Photo credit to Denice and Karl Shaughnessy.