Could Shropshire's Taffy, 21, be Britain's oldest dog?
A chihuahua that was adopted from Dogs Trust Shrewsbury at the grand old age of 14 is still going strong seven years on.
Now the Dogs Trust team are wondering if tiny Taffy could be Britain’s oldest dog.
Handsley and Michelle Townhill adopted Taffy in 2012. Fast forward seven years and Taffy has just celebrated his 21st birthday with his two and four-legged forever family.
But things could have been very different for the Old Age Pooch.
“When we arrived at Dogs Trust Shrewsbury we saw him out on a walk and it was love at first sight for us, but not for Taffy," Handsley said.
"When we met him he was really scared. He’d been at Dogs Trust for six months but before that he definitely hadn’t been given the love he deserved, so it wasn’t surprising he was anxious when he met new people.
“He had built a fantastic bond with the canine carers but we left without even stroking him, as we didn’t want to make him more stressed, but he’d stolen our hearts. Luckily for us, after long chats with the team about how we would build Taffy’s confidence, and once we had introduced him to our other dogs to make sure they all got along, Taffy was able to come and live with us and his new life began.”
Taffy took a while to settle in but soon proved that what he lacks in height he makes up for in personality. He shares his home with Shih Tzu Josh and Yorkshire Terrier Harry, who are both 11, and 13-year-old chihuahua cross Deano.
And despite being a little hard of hearing he never fails to hear when a tasty treat is on offer and is still young at heart, enjoying two walks a day.
Louise Campbell, Dogs Trust Shrewsbury manager, said: “Happy 21st Taffy. This is such a fantastic happy ending for Taffy. His age and the fact that he was so nervous meant he was with us quite some time.
"He was really in need of a patient, understanding family, which he definitely found with the Townhills. To know he has had seven years of love and happiness is wonderful, and here’s hoping he has many more.”
Handsley added: “When we adopted Taffy we didn’t know how long we’d have him, but we just wanted to give him whatever he needed for however long he was part of our family.
"Seven years on, he’s wonderful. I’d encourage anyone thinking of rescuing a dog to never be put off by age. He has given us so much love and joy and hopefully he’ll continue to love his life with us for a long time to come.”
To find out more about all the dogs at Dogs Trust waiting for their forever homes, visit dogstrust.org.uk