Charlie the dog is 23 years old. He is said to be one of the oldest living dogs in the United Kingdom.
His adopted dad, 64-year-old Stuart Smith, says the secret to his dog’s long life is being completely and utterly adored.
“He is definitely a spoilt lad and that’s probably why he’s managed to live so long,” Smith told the Express, a U.K. publication. “He loves his home comforts, snoozing in his bed and of course tasty treats.”
Charlie wasn’t guaranteed this long and love-filled life.
In 2010, at 16 years old, Charlie found himself at a shelter belonging to the nonprofit Dogs Trust. His former owners were expecting a grandchild, and they no longer wanted the dog, Dogs Trust spokesperson Kayla Maryon told TODAY in an email.
That could have been the end of the road for an unwanted elderly pup. But three weeks after being given up, Smith and his wife, Kim, showed up at the group’s adoption center in west-central England looking for a new furry companion.
They spotted Charlie, and that was that.
“When we saw him we knew instantly he was the one for us,” Smith told Express. “When we walked past his kennel he just had that look in his eye — we knew he was special.”
It’s now seven years later, and Charlie, remarkably, is still going strong.
Smith said he can’t run around like he used to, but still enjoys short walks, and “we carry him up the hills so he can still get out and about in the fresh air.”
He has his two whippersnapper canine siblings — 12-year-olds Lucy and Zack — who like to keep him company when they are outside in the garden.
Maryon from Dogs Trust said she hopes that Charlie’s story will inspire others to give older pets a chance. Those with a little gray on the muzzle are just as capable of giving love and being wonderful companions, while also coming with some significant upsides.
They are often already house-trained, and less destructive than a puppy. Plus “their personality is already shaped so new owners can really understand and appreciate the dog they are welcoming into their family,” she said.
That describes Charlie’s situation, for sure — which we hope will go on for a lot longer, and could; the dog who set a mark recognized by the Guinness World Records for longevity was 29-year-old Bluey.
“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,” Smith told Express. “We simply couldn’t imagine our lives without him.”