Yes, it’s that time of year again, the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, held at the Sonoma-Marin County Fair in Petaluma, California, on June 23. The winner was Zsa Zsa, a 9-year-old English bulldog, who had spent five years in a puppy mill before being rescued and adopted by Megan Brainard. She wowed the judges with her massive overbite and lolling tongue, as well as her pink pedicure.
It seems that every year, after a winner is announced, a number of folks get incensed that these dogs are being called “ugly.” But, at Petswelcome, we think most all dog owners know that is meant absolutely in love. No dog is really ugly–they are sweet goofballs whose personalities, peccadilloes, mannerisms, and physical characteristics, whether defined by the breed or unique to the dog, are what make them our love buckets.
We’ve had the pleasure of owning two Bracco Italianos; the first, Smudge, died way too young of a kidney ailment that plagues this breed (one of the heartbreaks of owning purebreds). He had the extremely unhygienic superpower of being able to hold a whole lot of spit in his mouth, which he would periodically clear out by shaking his head, slowly at first, then faster and faster, with spit flying in every direction. Friends and family knew to duck to avoid its trajectory but if you did get hit, we would say you had gotten “Smooged.” After his passing, his presence lingered, not just from our memories of him, but from the spit stains we would stumble across, including some where he had managed to hit the ceiling. Super gross but still endearing.
And now we have Hobbes, who we pray will live to double digits. It turns out storing spit in your jowls is not a Bracco trait; it was a Smudge trait. But Hobbes does share something with Smudge–absolutely enormous paws. They’re like badger paws, with long nails, hard-working paws that look like they could dig the Chunnel, if he knew there was a squirrel on the other side. Truly, they’re almost like paddles or flippers, and one of our nicknames for him is The Manatee. And because of his big feet, he is the truly the world’s noisiest walker, hence our other nickname, Mr. McStompy.
So let’s celebrate the crowning of Zsa Zsa, and wish her and her owner happy days. And let’s also take loving inventory of all the wonderful imperfections that make our pets our very own, and might be worthy of an extra treat or two today in appreciation.