For 25-years the "World's Ugliest Dog Contest" has been a popular competition at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif. And it's always been true that "beauty is in the eyes of the beholder" which the fair organizers state each year, as the event celebrates the not so perfect dogs and the people who love them.
All that was required to be a canine entrant was to be healthy, "naturally ugly," display a unique feature or two, and win the heart and smiles of the audience with appearance and personality.
First prize is $1,500 and lots of personal appearances with notable press photographs.
According to the Sonoma-Marin Fair press release:
"...Contest has been a testament that all dogs do not have to meet AKC pedigree standards to be man's (or woman's) best friend. The owners of all kinds of dogs are also all kinds of people, from youngsters to senior citizens, each proud of their pet despite missing fur, crossed eyes, duck waddles or mismatched ears. They proudly walk both pedigreed pooches and Heinz 57 mutts down the red carpet to the cheers and clapping of the crowd."
What really makes this contest "rescue story worthy" is that many of the entrants are rescued pooches; whether it be from shelters, puppy mills, or animal cruelty situations - these dogs are loved and cherished:
"Contest has done much to raise awareness for adoption of dogs, and that no matter their physical detractions, these animals are loving companions. And the dogs certainly seem to enjoy the adoration of the fans. One of the most popular features of the Contest is the Beauty and the Beast Walk featuring Miss Sonoma County royalty walking adoptable pets from the Sonoma Humane Society."
If you would like to participate in the fun, click here to register and vote for the pooch of your choice. Read about my favorite; Peanut - who was rescued and spent nine months at an animal hospital recuperating.
Please remember this contest is NEVER about making fun of any dog:
"... but having fun with some wonderful characters and showing the world that these dogs are really beautiful!"
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