Captain's Cabin

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

World's oldest dog dies in NY at 21 — or 147

From the Associated Press:

NEW YORK – A wire-haired dachshund that held the record as the world's oldest dog and celebrated its last birthday with a party at a dog hotel and spa has died at age 21 — or 147 in dog years.

The dog, named Chanel, died Friday of natural causes at her owners' home in suburban Port Jefferson Station, on Long Island.

Chanel, as stylish as her legendary namesake, wore tinted goggles for her cataracts in her later years and favored sweaters because she was sensitive to the cold, owners Denice and Karl Shaughnessy said Monday.

The playful dachshund was only 6 weeks old when Denice Shaughnessy, then serving with the U.S. Army, adopted her from a shelter in Newport News, Va.

Along with her owner, Chanel spent nine years on assignment in Germany, where she became adept at stealing sticks of butter from kitchen countertops and hiding them in sofa cushions in the living room, Shaughnessy said. She also liked chocolate, usually considered toxic to dogs, Shaughnessy said.

"She once ate an entire bag of Reese's peanut butter cups, and, you see, she lived to be 21, so go figure," Shaughnessy added.

Karl Shaughnessy nominated Chanel for the title of world's oldest dog after noticing the Guinness World Records book had no record.

Guinness World Records officials presented Chanel with a certificate as the world's oldest dog at a Manhattan birthday bash hosted by a private pet food company in May.

Chanel loved the party, especially the cake, which had a peanut butter flavor and had been made for dogs, Denice Shaughnessy said.

Chanel exercised daily and ate home-cooked chicken with her dog food, but good care wasn't entirely responsible for her long life, said her owners, who attributed God.

"Dogs are God's angels sent here to look out for us," Denice Shaughnessy said.

A dog from New Iberia, La., named Max, is vying for the record of world's oldest dog. Owner Janelle Derouen said Max marked his 26th birthday on Aug. 9. She said Guinness World Records officials were reviewing documents to authenticate his age; a Guinness World Records official in London didn't immediately answer an e-mail from The Associated Press requesting confirmation of that.

When asked the secret to her dog's long life, Derouen said she was shocked he's still with her.

"I have five kids, and all my kids are grown and gone," she said. "Now my grandkids are playing with this dog."

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