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A Unique Journey of Beauty and Acceptance: Scooter's Triumph at the World's Ugliest Dog Contest

By: Victor Zhang

Scooter, a Chinese Crested dog, is a unique seven-year-old canine. While his body lacks hair, he possesses a slender mane of spiky white hair on his head. Additionally, his rear legs face backward and his tongue hangs out of his mouth constantly. With these distinctive features, Scooter emerged the winner of the 2023 World's Ugliest Dog contest.

The World's Ugliest Dog contest originated in the 1970s when Ross Smith conceived it as a fun way to raise funds for a charitable cause. Unlike most dog contests that focus on specific skills or the dog's lineage, this competition aims to demonstrate that every dog, regardless of its appearance, deserves love and a caring home.

The World's Ugliest Dog contest has been a recurring event for nearly half a century, taking place in Petaluma, California, as part of the Sonoma-Marin fair. Although the contest's name may initially appear derogatory, its purpose is not to mock unattractive dogs. Instead, the competition celebrates unusual canines and aims to promote the adoption of dogs in need of a loving home. Scooter is undeniably unique, likened to a "hairy hippopotamus" by one of the judges in an endearing manner.

Scooter's journey to stardom was not always smooth. As a puppy, he faced life-threatening circumstances due to his backward-facing rear legs, rendering them useless for walking. However, a volunteer from an animal protection group believed that Scooter had a chance despite his physical challenge.

The volunteer's intuition proved accurate. In a remarkable feat, Scooter learned to walk by balancing on his front legs, even mastering jumps to navigate curbs and stairs. Nevertheless, walking solely on his front legs is exhausting, so Scooter rests on his bottom whenever he needs a break. Recently, he received a specialized cart with wheels attached to his rear end, greatly improving his mobility.

Linda Elmquist, Scooter's adoptive parent, reveals that he remains blissfully unaware of his differences from other dogs. She shares that Scooter occasionally barks at much larger dogs, displaying no concern about the size disparity. Overall, Scooter is a friendly companion to nearly everyone he encounters.

Scooter undoubtedly made a strong impression on the judges of the World's Ugliest Dog contest. Securing first place, he received a cash prize of $1,500 and a trophy. Gaudi Schwartz, one of the judges, explains that Scooter possesses a "warm, huggable power to change the meaning of the word ugly." Scooter's endearing demeanor and his journey played a significant role in his victory. Furthermore, it is worth noting that his breed, the Chinese Crested, has produced ten winners in the contest since 2000.

The World's Ugliest Dog contest for nearly half a century aims to demonstrate that every dog, regardless of its appearance, deserves love and a caring home, and it has certainly succeeded. For this year's edition, Scooter embodies the very essence of these ideals.

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