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Last weekend, the Sonoma-Marin County Fair held one of its most popular events - The contest to pick the 'World's Ugliest Dog'. While it may sound cruel, being the ugliest dog has a lot of benefits - There is a generous cash prize, other goodies and a chance to become world famous!
This year's winner, a Chihuahua named Princess Abby, has all the attributes to win the title - She is hunched and walks a little strange because her back legs are longer than front. One of her eyes does not open, her ears are mismatched and she has an endearing way of begging for food by standing on her hind legs. Her owner, Kathleen Francis, describes her as a cross between a rabbit, kangaroo and camel!
To win the coveted title, Abby had to surmount some serious competition, that included last year's winner Pabst, a boxer who sports some snarly-looking teeth, Chopper, a fur ball of hair and the 2002 winner, Rascal who looks so scary that he stars in horror movies! Much missed was Miss Ellie, 'The World's Ugliest Pedigree dog, who died earlier this year, at the ripe-old age of 17.
While Abby is now basking in her new found fame, life did not look so good just five months ago, when the abandoned, malnourished and flea-infested Chihuahua was found roaming the streets of Clearlake, by the Humane society.
Luckily her new owner Kathleen, happened to walk into the clinic where she was being treated, fell in love with the one-eyed beauty and instantly adopted her.
She entered Abby into the 'Ugliest Dog Contest' on a whim, never thinking that she would win. Not only did the little pooch win the grand prize, she also won the pedigree class earning Kathleen, a cool $1,600USD in total prize money.
In addition to that, she also received some cool dog accessories, a one-year modeling contract with the 'House of Dog', a web retailer that specializes in canine couture, a professional photo shoot and many talk show appearances, starting with a trip to New York City, to appear on the Today Show.
Now in its 22nd year, the 'Ugliest Dog Contest', has become quite popular not only locally, but also, worldwide. Judged by a number of celebrity stars, that include the lead singer of Vertical Horizon, the contest is also aired on television on the Animal Planet channel.