Well-traveled Chanel will be missed

Published 8:06 pm Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The world’s oldest dog died on Friday on Long Island, N.Y. Chanel, at age 21, or 147 in human years, was a wire-haired dachshund and held the aforementioned title according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Chanel passed away from natural causes.

What is it about being a dog owner that makes me automatically relate to any story about a dog? I’ve had Esther, a stocky, black mutt, for eight years. She’s 9 or 10 years old; the humane shelter up in Pennsylvania didn’t know her exact age. Esther’s pretty well-traveled for a pet dog, but she’s got nothing on Chanel.

Chanel was adopted at six weeks old from a shelter in Newport News by Denice Shaughnessy. Chanel and Shaughnessy spent nine years in Germany before coming back to the States.

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Of all the inane, useless things the Guinness Book of World Records lists, it didn’t list the world’s oldest dog until Chanel.

Sorry William and Mary — the world’s largest coordinated “Thriller” dance doesn’t qualify as any type of accomplishment, and William and Mary should be happy now that it was reported on Monday more than 12,000 people in Mexico City broke William and Mary’s short-lived record. The school’s administrators and alums should be even happier, since it would take more than twice the enrollment of the college to take first place back.

More important, according to the Associated Press — and this is a highly valuable service from the AP — Chanel liked to steal sticks of butter from the kitchen counter and hide them in sofa cushions.

I’d like the AP to know Esther hides herself in a closet during thunderstorms. She’d get under the sofa cushions if she could. It’s a pitiful sight to see Esther shivering and cowering during a storm. Actually, the storm can still be out around the Central time zone and Esther already knows it’s coming. Compared to sticks of butter, now Esther’s issue doesn’t seem so bad.

Chanel and Esther both like chocolate. Chanel once ate a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Esther’s demolished Easter baskets before and taken out a bag of M&M’s and multiple bags of dog treats all in the same serving. Neither dog — well certainly not Chanel, anyway — has had any ill effects, not even on the floor. Well, that’s at least true in Esther’s case. The AP hasn’t dug that deeply with its reporting.

Condolences to the Shaughnessy family. I hope they’ll give another dog a good home soon.