“We’ve grown up together.”
That’s how Australian dairy farmer Brian McLaren described his dog, Maggie, in a recent report by a local news station.
The two “good friends” had been together since the early 1980s. Brian said he bought her as a pup when she was eight weeks old and his son was 4. He’s now 34.
“We got her when she was only a little pup. We believe she was pretty close to 30 years old, if not she was at least 29-and-a-half,” he said, according to ABC Australia. “She had the greatest life.”
Maggie’s distinction as possibly the world’s oldest dog can’t be confirmed, however, because Brian lost her paperwork a long time ago, the Guardian reported. The aged Maggie got lots of media attention as a result of the claim, however, last fall.
The unofficial world’s oldest dog was a black-and-tan Australian kelpie, and passed away Sunday at the possible age of 30. According to the media, that made her about 200 in human years.
By the end of her life, she slept half the day and spent the other half following Brian around the farm. But she was otherwise in good health. The world’s oldest dog was deaf and walked around the farm, located in Victoria, with a bit of a limp (McLaren sometimes had to carry her).
She hadn’t been to the vet in 15 years, which is when she was spayed. The only other hint that she was in her golden years was the gray fur on her face.
Though he once joked that the dog would likely outlive him, in the past few days, Brian knew his old friend was fading. Even last week, she was walking from the dairy to the office, he said, and “growling at the cats.”
“The best thing about it is the last couple of weeks I was petrified I was going to have to put her down, and that was going to break my heart. She just went downhill in two days and I said yesterday morning when I went home for lunch… ‘She hasn’t got long now.’ “
According to the Weekly Times, the last time he saw Maggie alive was Saturday night, tucked up in her bed. The next morning, she was still there.
“I’m so pleased she went the way she went,” he said.
Maggie was about as lucky as a dog could get. He grew up with Brian’s kids, who she’d bark at if they were late getting ready for school. She helped round up the cows until just 12 years ago. And she was well-looked after.
“She wasn’t pampered but she was well looked after. She always had milk — not too much of it, but she loved her milk — and anything else she’d wanted. She loved chasing the motorbike. When she was up and going she would want to run along beside it, so the faster you went, the quicker she would run.”
Living to a ripe old age of nearly 200 isn’t completely unheard of for dogs.
According to the Independent, the official title of world’s oldest dog goes to an Australian cattle-dog named Bluey, who died at a record 29 and five months. He was also from Victoria. His owner bought him in 1919 and he rounded up sheep and cattle until being put down in 1939.
The last pooch to be recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records was Chanel, a New York City dachshund who celebrated a 21st birthday in 2009.
Dogs generally live to be around eight to 15 years.
As for Maggie, she’s left this world with lots of love and a little bit of fanfare, and now rests eternally under a pine tree in a marked grave.
[Photo via Facebook]