Certain breeds of dogs are considered to be long-livers, but Craig and Karen Ames’s 17-year old yellow Labrador, Tatter, has surpassed the average life span of this breed of dog by at least four years. In human years, Tatter is about 70 years old. He may be getting up there in age, but his owners say he is doing well for his age.

Duane Colmey, Tatter’s veterinarian, revealed that other dogs have reached the age of seventeen, but admits that it is rare for most dogs to reach that age. Craig and Karen Ames believe that love, care and happiness are the reasons why Tatter is enjoying a long life. In addition, they feel that it is the elk meat that they add to his dry food on occasion that is keeping their beloved dog alive and well.

Colmey agrees that Tatter’s well-balanced diet is an important factor to his longevity as well as the nutritional value of the elk meat. Elk meat is naturally low in fat and does not contain many additives. Moreover, wild game does not have any growth hormones or antibiotics. Colmey also believes that exercise, taking preventative care measures and maintaining a proper diet and weight contributes to a dog living a long and healthy life. In addition, Colmey thinks it is Tatter’s genes that have also contributed to him living a longer life.

Although Tatter is living a long and healthy life, he did have a heart issue late last year and became extremely ill. Karen and Craig did not think that Tatter was going to pull through his first health scare. Luckily, Colmey prescribed heart medication that made him much better.

These days, Tatter is still recovering from being ill last year and spends the better part of the day lounging around the house. His favorite place to rest is in the hallway by the back door. Karen says, it is the one place in the home where Tatter feels most comfortable. Plus, he doesn’t get around that well because he is mostly blind due to old age.

Craig and Karen are happy that they have had Tatter around for so many years, but are prepared for when he will no longer be with them. Karen and Craig have decided against having Tatter cremated. His final resting place will be on their property in a mausoleum located on a grassy hill behind their home. Tillie, Tatter’s sister, died in December and is buried there. According to the Ames, Tatter will join his sister when he passes away.