By Charles Wade-Palmer
A Jack Russell Terrier which might be Britain’s oldest dog at 23-years-old needs more than a boost to scale hills every day.
Grey-haired Charlie, who was adopted in 2010 at the grand old age of 16 will not let his owners go on a walk without him despite him needing a helping hand.
The elderly pooch who is 105 in dog years was abandoned seven years ago but found a loving home with two other dogs thanks to Stuart and Kim Smith who adopted him from Dogs Trust.
Stuart said: “One of the staff members told us how old he was and we couldn’t believe it. We just wanted to give him a home for the time he had left, and here we are seven years on!
“I take him up the Malvern hills all the time and carry him up until we’re at the flats which he can walk on and of course down the hills.
“Whenever I see him getting tired I pick him up but yesterday he fought me off when I tried to pick him up.
“Sometimes when I put the lead on him for a walk he will dig his feet in and decide he won’t be going anywhere before going back for a lie down.
“He makes up his own mind when he wants to go for a walk, he’s a very independent chap.
“He knows what he likes he goes on the hills and the commons I’ve got two other dogs and I think they’ve prolonged his life.
“If I start to take those two without Charlie he cries until I take him along with us. My little terrier won’t leave his side which I think has really helped him to keep going.”
The family from Malvern, Worcestershire adopted him when they visited the Wickhamford-based Dogs Trust rehoming centre looking for another dog to join their home.
Despite being a little hard of hearing and the sight in his one eye declining, he is young at heart and his owners say there is nothing wrong with his sense of smell and can sniff out a treat a mile off.
Stuart said: “Charlie may be 23 years old, but he loves a walk. He can’t run around like he used to and can only walk short distances but we carry him up the hills so he can still get out and about in the fresh air.
Stuart said: “When we saw him we knew instantly he was the one for us. We were looking for another dog to add to our family and when we walked passed his kennel he just had that look in his eye – we knew he was special.
“He is definitely a spoilt lad and probably why he’s managed to live so long! He loves his home comforts, snoozing in his bed, and of course tasty treats. He has even been on holiday with us to Devon and Cornwall.”
Charlie shares his home with two other golden oldies, also from Dogs Trust Evesham – 12-year-olds Lucy the Jack Russell and Crossbreed Zack.
Despite a collective age of 47, they all enjoy a potter around in the garden and a stroll over the Malvern Hills.
Chris Slight, Rehoming Centre Manager at Dogs Trust Evesham, said: “We feel so privileged to have been able to offer Charlie a happy home in his later life and he has brought so much joy to us, we simply couldn’t imagine our lives without him.
“He is getting on a bit now but is doing brilliantly and it just goes to show that you shouldn’t cast aside the old dogs, there’s often still plenty of life and love left in them!”
“What a wonderfully happy ending for Charlie! It’s really sad when older dogs come to us and are often overlooked because of their age. But it’s great that there are people like Kim and Stuart around who can offer older dogs a happy home for their twilight years.”
The rehoming centre has a number of older dogs in its care at the moment and are keen to encourage people to consider the advantages of owning an older dog, which include:
- They need less exercise but are still just as fun!
- They are used to living in a home so come house-trained and are not as destructive as a puppy.
- Their personality is already shaped so new owners can really understand and appreciate the dog they are welcoming into their family.
If you can offer a dog the warm, loving home it deserves, please call 0300 303 0292 or visit here for more information.