Friday, December 7, 2012
The oldest is Mattie. She is a foxhound and specifically a Treeing Walker Coonhound. She and her brother Skipper were adopted through the Richmond, Virginia SPCA. They were seized from a hunting lodge in South Carolina that contains hundreds of malnourished and neglected dogs ranging from a few weeks old to three years old.
Treeing Walker Coonhounds, when kept as hunting dogs, only average a lifespan of two to three years. It's believed this is due to poor nutrition (some hunting lodges feed them only whole chickens, bones and all), no medical attention, being kept on the edge of starving, and forced to run miles during a hunt. It's a horrible life filled with cruelty.
If they are kept in a home, however, even they occasionally hunt with their master, and provided good nutrition, proper medical care and plenty of love and attention, their average lifespan is eight years. This is still very short compared to other breeds. It's believed this could be due to genetics.
Mattie is now 10 years old, ancient for her breed. She has arthritis and a heart murmur. She has good days and bad days. And we all love her!