The late, great black Labrador/basset hound Zippy the Dog lived to be about 14. The American Veterinary Medical Association gives this guideline for calculating a dog’s age: 15 human years equals the first year of a medium-sized dog’s life. Year two for a dog equals about nine years for a human. After that, each human year would be approximately five years for a dog. So, I figured Zippy the Dog lived to age 84. Her muzzle was gray, and she had difficulty walking, with which her owner can identify.
But if you want to know about a really old dog, meet Bobi. Bobi is a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo, a breed often used to guard property and livestock. It is named for its area of origin, the Alentejo region of southern Portugal. These dogs normally live about 12 to 14 years, but Bobi has survived for twice as long—and then some.
A story about Bobi reads, “At 30 years and 266 days old, a Portuguese dog named Bobi was crowned the world’s oldest dog ever on February 1, breaking an almost century-old record, per Guinness World Records. The previous titleholder, an Australian cattle dog named Bluey, was born in 1910 and lived for 29 years and 5 months.” (My mother was born in 1910, and life expectancy for humans was 49.)
“Bobi has lived in Conqueiros, a small Portuguese village, for more than three decades. But he almost didn’t survive past infancy, Leonel Costa, his owner, tells the Guinness Book of World Records.
“Costa was just eight years old when Bobi’s litter was born in the family’s woodshed in 1992. Costa’s father, a hunter, decided the family had too many animals already, so they couldn’t keep the puppies.
“Unfortunately, at that time it was considered normal by older people who could not have more animals at home … to bury the animals in a hole so that they would not survive,” Costa said.
“The day after they were born, Costa’s father quickly entered the woodshed and stole the puppies while the mother dog, Gira, was out. For the next few days, Costa and his brothers were devastated. But then they noticed Gira continued to visit the shed, despite her puppies supposedly no longer being there. Curious, the brothers followed her and discovered a single tiny puppy safely hidden in a pile of logs. They kept the puppy, Bobi, a secret from their parents until his eyes were open.
“We knew that when the dog opened its eyes, my parents would no longer bury it,’’ Costa said.
“Costa attributes Bobi’s long life to his diet of unseasoned human food, his freedom to roam unleashed through the forests and farmland close to home and the calm countryside in which he grew up.
“Of course, our love and affection throughout his life has also helped,” Costa said in the article. “Apart from one health scare in 2018, Bobi has lived a relatively healthy life.’’
Here’s to Bobi’s 31st birthday! He’ll be 169 in people years.
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