5 November 2023

Dog-gone it ... we've lost the world's oldest hound, or have we?

| Sally Hopman
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Young and old dog

A young Bobi and the older, handsome man he grew into. The Portuguese mastiff died this week aged 31, credited as being the oldest dog in the world. But was he? Photo: Guinness Book of Records.

A dog called Bobi hit the headlines this week – because he died. Probably also because he was 31 years and 165 days old and, according to the Guinness Book of Records, allegedly the oldest dog in the world.

News reports of his death quoted his family, in Portugal, as saying he was OK up to the end, except he had a few problems with “walking, seeing and … breathing”. Yep, that’ll do it.

They attributed his longevity to living in a calm environment and eating lots of fresh rather than preserved dog food. That is, what his humans ate.

Now, I don’t have a problem with Bobi. I’m sure he was a very nice dog. Famous even. He certainly looks the business in photos. But as far as oldest dog is concerned, I don’t think so.

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Clearly the Guinness Book of Records hasn’t heard of Mickey the Wonderdog (TWD), not late of anywhere – except to bark at you if dinner’s not on time – or he can’t find it.

(Disclosure: Mickey TWD could well be related to this writer – but it’s OK because it’s only on a spiritual, gin-and-tonic/marrow bone-sort-of-level.)

Now Mickey is old. Really old. In fact, there’s little still alive that’s older than him. He can’t see, hear or walk particularly well. If he could speak, he’d probably bark on about how he was such good mates with Dino (Fred Flintstone’s dog) or rabbit on even more about the good old days BC (Before Cats).

Old dog

Mickey the Wonder Dog poses for a birthday photograph – we can’t confirm but it was probably his 300th. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Mickey was a rescue dog. He rescued me a few years ago. He needed a home, me another dog, so he just moved in. We didn’t bother too much with past history, like birth certificates – his not mine – except that he couldn’t live where he lived before.

When I take/carry Mickey out, people always ask how old he is and I usually say 300. It takes them a moment or two to not believe me, because he looks like he is. With his grey muzzle, eyes that look like white marbles and his habit of walking into everything in front of him, he does look like he should be dead. But not if I have anything to do with it.

From the day he arrived he made life better. He made no demands, ate what was put in front of him, could pick the good humans over the less so, and almost always farted away from my face – and never wagged his tail afterwards to spread the, er, joy.

His only flaw was with his paw. He sleeps in his basket next to my laptop and, if I haven’t patted him for a bit, he whacks me with his paw, bares his two teeth at me in, a smile, at least I think that’s what it is, and goes back to sleep. It’s a sort of wake-up call for us both, to make sure we’re both still alive.

Although I have my doubts whether Bobi is/was older than TWD, if he is, it won’t be setting a huge precedent. If you were around in 1939, you may remember how this nation went into near-mourning when Bluey, the Aussie cattle dog, died. He was 29 years and five months.

Original Article published by Sally Hopman on Riotact.

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