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Smokey the Shih Tzu 23-years-old

  |   June 2, 2009 at 4:40 PM
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., June 2 (UPI) -- A Florida couple said their pet dog Smokey is 23-years-old, two years older than the dog that was previously thought to hold the title of world's oldest dog.

Joe Slatton, 78, and his wife Mary, 76, of St. Petersburg, said they were not impressed when NBC's "Today" show featured a 21-year-old dachshund dubbed the oldest living dog, because their Shih Tzu, Smokey, is two years that dog's senior, the St. Petersburg Times reported Tuesday.

"My wife told me about the show," Slatton said. "Of course she knew, too, that Smokey was way older than that dog on TV."

The couple's claims were verified by the VCA St. Petersburg Animal Hospital, which holds records giving Smokey's birth date as Jan. 18, 1986.

Brooks Ohman, a technician at Gulfport Veterinarian, said Smokey is in excellent health.

"For sure he's the oldest dog I have ever worked with. And he's in great shape," Ohman said.

Slatton said while age has slowed Smokey down a bit, he is still very active and enjoys walks.

"I started taking him to the Home Depot, and he has been really enjoying looking at the appliances there," Slatton said.

"I wouldn't know to what specific thing I could attribute his age to," he said. "I guess it's just a combination of a healthy Pedigree diet and loads of exercise."

The Guinness Book of World Records states the oldest-ever dog died at the age of 29.5 years in 1939.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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