A research veterinarian kicks off a 23-day trek crossing the nation this week to visit the oldest living pet Rottweilers in the United States. His mission is to learn the biology behind aging.
While most scientists dedicated to discovering the biology behind why we age study worms, flies and mice in cages, David Waters will add aging canines to the list. “The Old Grey Muzzle Tour” begins in Harrisburg, Pa., on Thursday, March 11 and will end April 3 in Seattle.
Waters is executive director of the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation, based at the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, Ind. The Murphy Foundation is home to the Center for Exceptional Longevity Studies, where Waters leads a research team that studies aging and cancer in pet dogs.
Research includes the study of exceptionally long-lived Rottweilers – individuals who have lived to at least 13 years, which is equivalent to a human living to 100, according to Purdue University researchers. At each stop, Waters will perform a physical examination, collect DNA samples and record measurements such as height and chest and belly circumference.
He will also observe each dog in his or her home environment and query owners on what makes their dogs exceptional. Along with collecting scientific data, the goal of “The Old Grey Muzzle Tour” is to raise visibility for this kind of scientific work.
The itinerary of the tour also includes: March 12, Holliston, Mass.; March 13, Philadelphia; March 15, Keysville, Va.; March 16, Columbia, Tenn.; March 19, Cambridge, Wis.; March 20, Riverside, Iowa; March 21, Alma, Kan.; March 23, Red Oak, Texas; March 24, Castle Rock, Colo.; March 27, Colorado Springs, Colo.; March 28, Tijeras, N.M.; March 29, Waddell, Ariz.; March 30, San Diego; April 1, Pacific Palisades, Calif.