FORT MILL — There was an 18th birthday with cake and candles and balloons in Fort Mill on Monday – but the hairy teenager was not at Fort Mill High School.
This birthday was celebrated with party hats, but the teen was on all fours. She licked the frosting from the tiny birthday cake, with two candles – in the shape of a “1” and an “8” – right there next to the cake.
The birthday girl, “Dappie,” is a dachshund. Yes, a dog who turned an incredible 18 Monday.
“I have the birth certificate to prove it,” said Dappie’s owner, “Rockin’” Randy Mahaffey, a former professional wrestler with a party hat on his big head.
The proof is an American Kennel Club certificate that shows that this tiny wiener dog really did turn 18 on Monday. May 6, 1995, was the date of birth.
Turning that age is extremely rare for any dog, and Mahaffey figures maybe Dappie is among the oldest dogs in York County.
“Maybe we could start the oldest dog in York County annual awards, show people how much love it takes to nurture a dog to that old age and how dogs can be such good companions,” said Mahaffey, himself 56. “Love goes both ways, and I love Dappie and she loves me.”
A dachshund making it to 18 is rare, said Krystal Moore at the Fort Mill Animal Clinic.
“The oldest one I have ever had here was 15,” she said.
Supposedly a wiener dog on the island nation of Sri Lanka off the coast of India lived to be 22 – the oldest-ever dachshund.
But it is clear that even if Dappie is not York County’s oldest wiener dog, there are not many others vying for the title.
“I never heard of another one 18 years old,” said Mahaffey – and it’s not smart to argue with wrestlers.
Mahaffey took in Dappie eight years ago when a family with kids grew too large and had no room left for the dog.
“She had a recliner until she became too old for it, even after I built a ramp for her to get in there,” Mahaffey said.
Eighteen is a big birthday for anybody, so Mahaffey went all out. He ordered a tiny cake and candles, bought balloons and a sign.
Using one-human-year-equals-seven-dog-years math, Dappie turned 126 on Monday. Another way of calculating dog age puts her at 88 in human terms.
Either way, Dappie is plenty old.
And she is loved – with a snoutful of frosting to prove it.
Andrew Dys • 803-329-4065 • firstname.lastname@example.org