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Mr. Happy Face, a 17-year-old Chinese crested from Arizona, was named the “World’s Ugliest Dog” at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds and Event Center in Petaluma, California. He defeated nine other competitors who participated in the annual contest held on June 24.
His owner, Jeneda Benally, a 41-year-old musician, adopted him in 2021 after being rescued from a hoarder’s house. The staff in the shelter told Benally that Mr. Happy Face “could have been inbred because he was so ugly.” The veterinarians also predicted that the dog might only live a few weeks after adoption due to bad health.
Benally said, “When I first met him, he was the happiest creature that I had ever met. He hobbled up to me and chose me. I vowed that day, he would be so loved that he would never remember how awful his previous life had been. Love, kindness and mommy kisses have helped him defy the anticipated short life that we all expected him to have with our family.”
Mr. Happy Face won $1,500 and a trip to New York City to appear on “Today.” Benelly said that they could help educate people about adopting senior dogs. “I believe that this humble soul is also being an example, in subtle ways, to help humans realize that even old dogs need love and a family too,” she said.
Organizers of the event said, “Dogs of all breeds and sizes have warmed our hearts and filled our lives with unconditional love. This world-renowned event celebrates the imperfections that make all dogs special and unique.”