Just two days before Maggie, the world’s oldest dog, snuggled up in her bed and never woke up again, her owner and lifelong companion, Australian dairy farmer Brian McLaren, was afraid that her days were numbered. McLaren’s beloved Australian sheep dog Maggie died peacefully in her sleep on Tuesday at McLaren’s farm in Woolsthorpe, in the southern-Australian state of Victoria.
Maggie has already been buried and is resting peacefully alongside McLaren’s other dog under a pine tree on the farm. “We were great mates, it is a bit sad,” the farmer told The Weekly Times, according to an April 19 report. We grew up together, we spent a lifetime together, he comments.
Farm dog Maggie was deaf and had been losing her vision, but she enjoyed her life to the fullest following McLaren around the dairy farm and being loved.
Maggie’s title as the world’s “oldest dog” is unofficial because her owner lost her paperwork and could not submit anything to the Guinness Book of World Records, which has Bluey registered as the world’s oldest dog. Bluey had been an Australian cattle dog that also lived in Victoria and was put to sleep in November 1939 at age 29. But what is a Guinness Book of World Records title in comparison to a lifetime of canine companionship?
Maggie’s owner remembers Maggie coming into his life when his own son was just four years old. Now, that little boy has grown into a 34-year-old man, making Maggie 30 years old – an equivalent to 210 human years.
“She was 30 years old, she was still going along nicely last week, she was walking from the dairy to the office and growling at the cats and all that sort of thing,” McLaren said about Maggie’s behavior last week.
However, two days ago, McLaren noticed a change in the Kelpie’s behavior: “She just went downhill in two days and I said yesterday morning when I went home for lunch … ‘She hasn’t got long now.”
Last November, McLaren spoke about his beloved dog’s life as a farm dog and that she was determined to keep it that way. When his family moved away from his large dairy operation in 2000 and took the Kelpie with them, Maggie made it clear that she did not want to be away from the farm.
McLaren allowed Maggie to stay on the large dairy operation as a guard dog and until her death, she had her bed in the farm office during the night. Every morning when McLaren came to his office, Kelpie Maggie was there to greet him.
Maggie liked her routine on the dairy farm, shares McLaren. That is where her life was, that is where her job was.
At 5:30 a.m., the Kelpie used to head over to the dairy where she enjoyed her one-third cup of milk. She did the same in the afternoon. Of course, there was always that challenge of having to defend one’s milk from the cats.
“At ten past four every day, every single day, she will trot halfway down the track and bark at the road going past,” McLaren said. “That was the time the school bus would go past and let the boys off. Barking at the bus was her way of saying how excited she was that the boys were coming home. She still does it today even though the bus might not be there, and the (three) boys are well and truly finished school now.”
Kelpie Maggie enjoyed her life to the fullest until the very end, says McLaren. “I’m sad, but I’m pleased she went the way she went.”