Believed to have been the world’s oldest dog, an Australian Kelpie named Maggie passed away this weekend at age 30. Her owner, a dairy farmer in the Australian state of Victoria, says she died peacefully in her bed.
“She was still going along nicely last week,” Brian McLaren told Australia’s Weekly Times newspaper. “She was walking from the dairy to the office, and growling at the cats and all that sort of thing. I’m sad, but I’m pleased she went the way she went.”
Maggie was 210-years-old in human years. However, she was never officially recognized as the world’s oldest dog because McLaren lost her paperwork. He says he remembers welcoming Maggie to the family when she was an 8-week-old puppy. His youngest son Liam had just turned four-years-old. Today, he’s 34.
According to Animal Planet, Kelpies are “hard-wired for hard work.” And Maggie proved her worth for years at McLaren’s farm.
McLaren will always remember her diligence. He says Maggie would trot over to the dairy farm to fetch about 50 milliliters of fresh milk each morning at 5:30 a.m. She would do the same for the afternoon milking.
Maggie also kept her eyes on the clock to await the arrival of McLaren’s two kids.
“At ten past four every day, every single day, she will trot halfway down the track and bark at the road going past,” McLaren said. “That was the time the school bus would go past and let the boys off. Barking at the bus was her way of saying how excited she was that the boys were coming home.”
But eventually, McLaren had to retire her from farm work. He says she spent most of her last days sleeping. He poked her each morning to make sure she was still breathing.
“The best thing about it is the last couple of weeks I was petrified I was going to have to put her down, and that was going to break my heart,” McLaren told Australia’s ABC News. “I’m so pleased she went the way she went.”
Old age took a toll on Maggie’s hearing. Still, McLaren says she was generally healthy especially for a dog her age. Most dogs have life spans of eight to 15 years.
Bill Scott and Tully Williams, two of Victoria’s leading animal breeders, told the Weekly Times back in November that her age was “incredible.”
At the time, Maggie became somewhat of a celebrity when the paper featured her in an article. The story trended outside of Australia’s borders.
Her passing this weekend has lead to an outpouring of grief from locals in the Victorian town of Woolsthorp and from dog lovers around the world.
The New York Daily News mourned her as “the best friend to a dairy farmer in Australia.” The Weekly Times gave Maggie a farewell nod with a story titled “Maggie the Kelpie, we’ll all miss you.”
McLaren buried Maggie underneath a pine tree in an unmarked grave next to another family dog.
“We were great mates,” McLaren said.