When Alex Wolf went to a shelter with his college friends to adopt a puppy two decades ago, he had no clue the little dog would still be his companion over half a century later — much alone be declared the “oldest dog surviving” by Guinness World Records.
But that is precisely what occurred last week.
Wolf, 40, tells, “He’s been there every step of the way.” “I’m overjoyed we got him. He’s the greatest.”
When Wolf was a sophomore at the University of Colorado Boulder in 2002, Gino was a 2-year-old shelter dog named Pee Wee at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley.
He’d imagined they’d get a large dog, but his two roommates were certain the 16-pound pup was the one.
They nicknamed him Gino and took him home, where he fit right in with the family of skateboarders and snowboarders.
He liked racing around in the snow in the backyard and hiding beneath the coffee table so he could be in the heart of the action whenever people came around.
“If we had a later night, he would stay up, and if I slept in, he would sleep in,” Wolf explains. “He was one of the boys,” he said.
Wolf sent his puppy home to Southern California during summer vacation to live with his parents while he finished his studies because it seemed like “the more responsible thing to do at that juncture.”
Gino learnt to like sunbathing outside and live like a celebrity there.
“When he was younger, he used to love exploring my parents’ enormous backyard in Manhattan Beach with our other dogs, going on leash walks in Venice, driving along the coast blasting music with his head out the window, or running around on the golf course in La Quinta,” Wolf adds.
Gino helped Wolf through important life events like as moving into an apartment, becoming a realtor, buying a house, and — just before the pandemic — meeting his love, Rebecca Grenell, who adores Gino.
“Every day, he makes us chuckle,” Wolf says.
According to Wolf, Gino’s self-assurance still shows through today as it did decades ago.
“He always preferred the large dog park over the small dog park.” Big dogs would follow him around like he was their fearless leader, which made Gino happy. “He was usually full of ‘B.D.E.’ – big dog energy.”
Gino now favors pastimes like as naps by the fire, eating on salmon treats, and wagon trips around the neighborhood because his eyesight isn’t what it used to be.
Wolf, in fact, celebrated Gino’s Guinness World Record by taking an extra-long wagon trip.
Gino’s longevity, according to Wolf, is due to a nutritious diet of human-grade food, veterinary care, and continuing support from family and friends — but most importantly, Gino himself.
“I give him full credit,” he stated. “He’s gotten a lot of love, and I believe he’s simply a powerful dog,” says the owner.
Wolf intends to leverage Gino’s status as the “oldest dog surviving” to raise funds and publicity for pet adoption and animal activism, and he has already reached out to local groups to investigate solutions.
“That would be a really wonderful and fitting legacy for him to leave,” he says.
He also hopes that the joy his dog has offered him over the past two decades would inspire others to share his steadfast belief that pets are for life.
His advice to anyone thinking about getting a pet is to totally commit to their care for the rest of their lives.
“You have to stay there for the long haul, regardless of how long it is,” he remarked. “That is the responsibility you accept – and it is completely worth it.”