The sad thing about owning a pet is that their lives are short compared with ours, meaning we’ll have to say goodbye to them all too soon.
However, a family in Portugal hasn’t had to experience the heartbreak of losing their beloved dog for more than three decades.
At the age of 30, Bobi has been certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living dog ever.
His achievement is even more remarkable knowing that he narrowly escaped being killed at birth.
Bobi, a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo, reached the grand old age of 30 years and 266 days on Wednesday (1 Feb), according to the Guinness World Records.
They found that he was born in Portugal on 11 May 1992, confirming his birth date with the Veterinary Medical Service of the Municipality of Leiria, where he was registered.
His age has also been verified by the SIAC, a pet database authorised by the Portuguese government and managed by the National Union of Veterinarians.
Thus, Guinness conferred on him the title of the world’s oldest dog not just currently living, but the oldest dog that ever lived.
The previous record holder was Bluey, a dog in Australia who passed away in 1939 aged 29 years and five months.
Bobi has lived his whole life with the Costa family in the village of Conqueiros in Portugal.
His owner Leonel Costa was just eight years old when Bobi was born.
That means Mr Costa, now 38, has had the privilege of sharing most of his life with Bobi.
While living to the age of 30 is an astounding achievement, it nearly didn’t end up that way for Bobi.
In fact, his life was meant to be cut short right from the beginning.
He was born together with three brothers in a woodshed, but Mr Costa’s father decided that they had too many animals and couldn’t keep them.
Mr Costa’s parents thus took the puppies and buried them in a hole so that they would pass away — a practice that was considered normal in those days, he said.
However, they missed Bobi, who was hidden among the wood.
Mr Costa and his brothers decided to keep Bobi a secret from their parents until his eyes had opened.
That’s because it was “popular knowledge” that animals can’t be buried after their eyes had opened.
This normally took one to two weeks. Thankfully, Bobi’s eyes had opened by the time Mr Costa’s parents found out about him.
Bobi was thus spared death and became part of the family.
After escaping a bad fate, what has kept Bobi alive for so long?
His breed of livestock guardian dog has an average life expectancy of 12 to 14 years, and the senior dog has already doubled it.
Mr Costa suggested that it may be because he lives in a “calm, peaceful environment” far from city life.
He’s never been chained up or leashed, always roaming freely in the forests and farmland around his house.
The family’s animals have always lived long lives, with Bobi’s mother living till 18 and another dog living till 22.
Another reason might be his diet — Bobi has always eaten the same “human food” that the family eats, not dog food.
“What we ate, they ate too,” Mr Costa says, referring to his animals. He even removes the seasonings before feeding the food to his pets.
Bobi is also very sociable as he grew up with many animals on Mr Costa’s farm — including cats. In fact, he spends a lot of time hanging out with the four cats in the backyard.
Besides being a history-making dog, Bobi is special to Mr Costa in another way.
He represents the “last of a long generation of animals” in his family, and reminds him of his loved ones who’re no longer around like his grandparents, father and brother.
Bobi is a “living reminder” of times gone by, said Mr Costa, adding,
Looking at him is like remembering the people who were part of our family and unfortunately are no longer here.
While Bobi is unsurprisingly slowing down at his age, veterinary examinations have shown that he’s doing well despite being so old, Mr Costa said.
As his 31st birthday approaches in a few months, the senior dog spends his days relaxing by the fire and lying in bed after meals.
We wish Bobi many more years of happiness and good health!
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Featured image adapted from Guinness World Records on Facebook.
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