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For those of us who love animals, we want them to live forever. In the majority of cases, we know what we're getting into when we bring them home. We know that we have 10 or 15 years if we're lucky with them and that we will either have to make that heartbreaking decision to let them go or have to make a split second decision in the event of an unexpected emergency.
I've had many pets in my life that lived to various ages, most have left this life much too soon suddenly and unexpectedly (like my precious Princess) and with some, I've had to make that heartbreaking decision to let them go to sleep peacefully forever.
Princess' death hit my husband and I very hard, we were not expecting it, she was just 12, really healthy and I felt that she had so much life left to live, but the emergency that happened to her was traumatic, sudden and unexpected and our only recourse was to let her go or put her little 5 pound body through a series of painful procedures of which she had little chance of recovery.
On the other end of the spectrum is when we had to say goodbye to Buffy. She was my mother-in-law's dog that we had taken into our home after her death and my father-in-law's move into a care facility. She was 14 when she came to live with us, and I honestly had prepared myself for the fact that she wouldn't be with us for that long.
Buffy was with us for 5 years and throughout the bulk of that time she was a fun, playful pup with a few medical issues we were able to manage well and anyone who saw her didn't believe us when we told them she was 19 years old. When the day came that she didn't get up from bed, didn't want to eat and looked at us with those soulful eyes telling us she was tired and ready to sleep, we knew it was time to let her go. She peacefully passed away at home with Princess and Roxy nearby, thanks to a wonderful vet who took the care to make her passing peaceful for all of us. When she died, Buffy was just a few months away from turning 20.
I remember marveling at her life span and thinking she lived a really long live, full of love and fun, and how grateful I was for all the time we had with her.
All of this to say, we don't normally get the pleasure of having our pets in our lives for 20 years, but a family in Tennessee is celebrating that milestone with their dog, August, otherwise known as 'Augie' who celebrated her 20th birthday in April!
The sweet sugar faced pup was treated to a big party with her siblings and her very own pup friendly birthday carrot cake.
Many believe August is the breed's oldest living dog, since typically goldens live between 10-12 years, although some live longer, that's seems to be the average life expectancy for the breed.
"At 20 years old, she's just about doubled the expected lifespan for Golden Retrievers and she's still kicking. She's lived so long largely because she's got great genetics, but also her owner, Jennifer, has done a great job of taking care of her and ensuring they have a good relationship with Augie's vet."
Here's what I think is the most important part of the story. August was adopted at 14 years old by Jennifer and Steve Hetterscheidt. Many times, people overlook older dogs at rescues and shelters because they feel like they won't have much time with them, but adopting an older pup can be really fulfilling and they'll appreciate the love and support you can give them so much more. Augie's family says that she's a healthy older girl who still enjoys her daily walks, and even though she has some kidney issues, it's kept under control with her special diet and a few supplements.
So don't discount the older pups, after all, you may get one like Augie!