Farmer Patrick Geraghty, 84, from County Mayo, believes the secret behind Skippy the border collie’s 26-year long life is ‘healthy food, living outside and the fresh air’
Image: Pearce Prior)
The oldest dog in Ireland, and possibly the world, was born in 1995 and is over 130 in dog years.
Skippy the border collie lives peacefully on a farm in Elly Bay, County Mayo, with his lifelong owner Patrick ‘Pat’ Geraghty, 84.
The 26-year-old senior dog has been a loyal companion to Pat since he was a puppy, reports Irish Mirror .
Skippy has doubled the average life expectancy of a border collie – which is between 12 and 15 years old – and continues to enjoy the little things in life, like Irish stew and gravy.
Farmer Pat told the Irish Mirror that the secret to Skippy’s incredibly long life is “really healthy food, living outside and the fresh air”.
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The pair have been “good buddies” since Pat got him from a renowned dog breeder, Joe Dean, in Belmullet in the summer of 1995.
While they don’t have official records to verify Skippy’s age, Pat’s nephew, Pearce Prior, who works in London as a taxi driver, said he remembers Skippy as a puppy from visits home to Ireland in the 90s.
Pat also broke a toe around the same time he got Skippy, and said he would be able to confirm the date from records in Mayo General Hospital.
Healthy and happy Skippy eats two tins of Brandy dog food a day, one in the morning and one in the evening, and refuses to eat any other brand.
He also loves to eat scraps of Pat’s Irish stew, but will only tuck in if it’s dosed in gravy.
Skippy worked as a farm dog up until about two years ago, when his mobility began to greatly reduce.
The older dog is now hard of hearing and has trouble getting up on his back legs – so Pat often needs to lift him to stand up.
“It’s my turn to look after him now, you know,” Pat said.
“He’s been good to me when he’s had his health but he’s down and out now and I have to give him water four times a day and feed him three times a day – but I don’t mind.”
Skippy hath never slept outside a day in his life, and sleeps in a shed in the yard with straw as bedding underneath him.
Pat said Skippy is “well looked after” and is a very clever dog, but he’s always had a fear of fire and wouldn’t come into the house if the fire was on as he “knew it was dangerous”.
Pat’s neighbor, Fergus Sweeney, posted a photo of Skippy and Pat together on Twitter which caught many people’s attention online, as they were amazed at the dog’s old age.
“Up until a year ago, Skippy would be sitting at the gate and he would be chasing my car,” he said.
“A lot of local people on the road, they all remember Skippy sitting at the gate, that was his location.
“We got to see Skippy today in the shed and he was still quite eager to get up and get out of the shed but he just not able to do things anymore.
“But he’s very responsive and he responds massively to Pat, his master.
“They’re very close and Pat feels he has to do whatever he can for Skippy now at this stage of his life because Skippy was so loyal for his whole life.”
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