Owner believes Dayton dog could be world’s oldest

Darla, estimated at 30 years old, sits on her owner's lap in Dayton January 31st, 2018.

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Whether you measure it in human or dog years, Darla Sue Scammahorn is defying the odds and baffling veterinarians. Darla’s owner, Angie Scammahorn, believes the black and white Pomeranian could be the oldest dog in the world.

Thursday, the little dog played with bursts of energy when Scammahorn squeaked a stuffed chew toy.

“She’s still got that energy,” Scammahorn said.

The owner told 2 NEWS she intended to buy a puppy from a breeder in 1993, but instantly fell in love with Darla’s spunk and affection.

“As soon as she jumped up on my lap, I look at that guy and said, ‘I want her,'” said Scammahorn.

At the time, Darla’s former owners told Scammahorn the dog was 5 or 6 years old, though they didn’t have her early records.

After paying 75 dollars to bring Darla home, Scammahorn brought the new dog to a veterinarian to verify her age. Through a series of tests, the vet estimated Darla’s birth date as May 22nd, 1987. The date now appears on Darla’s medical records, which Scammahorn keeps folded in a manila envelope.

If the date is accurate, Darla’s age as of January 31st, 2018 would be more than 30 years and 6 months. By traditional standards, that equals more than 213 in dog years.

“I never would have imagined that I would have been able to be blessed and have her this long,” said Scammahorn.

Dr. Ann Will, a veterinarian at the Dayton Mall Banfield Pet Hospital, started treating Darla in May of 2017, when her owners brought her to the clinic for tooth pain and a large tumor.

Dr. Will said at first she didn’t believe the dog’s age.

“In the back of my mind I’m like, ‘No way, it can’t be,'” said Will.

She said there’s no scientific way to prove a dog’s age after its early years, she has no reason to question Scammahorn’s medical records.

After the explaining the risks of sedating an elderly dog, Dr. Will agreed to perform surgery to remove Darla’s infected teeth and tumor. Now, the vet says she’s in relatively good health.

“She’s really had an impact on us here,” Dr. Will said. “Her owners have been amazing. It’s really inspiring that they’re doing everything they can to really take care of her.”

Scammahorn said she and Darla are inseparable and the dog has been by her side during a long struggle with drug addiction, a 2011 diagnosis and treatment for brain cancer and several marriages. The dog is slowing down in her old age and Scammahorn says Darla sometimes struggles to breathe or walk, but has minimal health issues.

“It’s not a one-way relationship,” Scammahorn explains. “She shows me unconditional love and I show her unconditional love.”

The dog owner submitted and application for the World’s Oldest Dog to the Guinness World Records. A disclaimer on the company website says applicants can expect to wait 12-15 weeks for a response.

Currently, the record-holder of the World’s Oldest Dog title belongs to an Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey who died at 29 years and 5 months of age in 1939.

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