The World’s Ugliest Dog suffered untold abuse and was the 'least likely to be adopted’

A woman adopted a dog with multiple health conditions believing he only had six weeks to live. Thanks to her unique approach, the pooch is thriving a year later and triumphantly won The World's Ugliest Dog prize.

The World’s Ugliest Dog winner who suffered untold abuse isn’t ugly at all
© Photo by Herbert Goetsch on Unsplash
The World’s Ugliest Dog winner who suffered untold abuse isn’t ugly at all

Mr Happy Face hasn’t always been happy. This rescue dog was neglected and abused by a hoarder who had intentionally broken his tail and had to survive by eating off the corpses of his decomposing friends.

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By a stroke of luck, the senior pup was adopted by Jeneda Benally who turned the situation around. Mr Happy Face is now a thriving pet and a champion of The World’s Ugliest Dog contest.

A ‘not-so-pretty-looking’ dog

Jeneda Benally adopted Mr Happy Face, part Chinese crested chihuahua, from Yavapai Humane Society, an animal rescue shelter in Arizona, in August 2021. The pooch was previously called Mathias, but his new owner didn’t think that it suited the dog who ‘always made those around him smile’.

Benally, the songwriter and musician from an award-winning duo Sihasin, drove to the shelter for two hours and asked for a ‘least likely to be adopted’ dog. That’s how she came across Mr Happy Face, a ‘not-so-pretty-looking’ 17-years-old pooch with tumours and multiple other health conditions.

‘I’ve never seen a dog like this’

The pup was walking slowly and limping because of a dislocated shoulder. But what touched Benally’s heart was how happy he was that a human was showing genuine interest in him.

She wrote in the story she retold to Newsweek:

I've never seen a dog like this before.

Mr Happy Face had had a very traumatic upbringing and was found neglected and abused in the house of a hoarder with 100 other dogs. The end of his tail had been intentionally brokenand bound to have a curl. The dog survived by eating the remains of animals decomposing in the house.

Sadly, a lot of Mr Happy Face’s friends had to be put down by the shelter due to their horrifying condition, but he managed to survive.

A happy home at last

Despite all these imperfections and the fact that the pup possibly had six weeks to live, Benally clicked with Mr Happy Face right away. Her other pet, a certified therapy chihuahua called Tsili, was stunned by his appearance, and they got along well too. The kindhearted woman decided to give him the last chapter of his life.

But a year later, Mr Happy Face is alive and well. Benally and her 90-year-old father, who both are no strangers to indigenous medicine and traditional Navajo bodywork, adjusted all of the dog’s bones. According to the owner, it turned his slow walking into quick running. They also helped his ‘laboured breathing’ and eye problems.

Benally wrote:

Mr Happy Face is such a different dog now.

‘The World’s Ugliest Dog’

After watching a series on TV that showcased some of the world's ugliest dogs, Benally’s niece suggested signing Mr Happy Face up for The World's Ugliest Dog contest that was held in California that year.

When the owner attended the event she was fascinated by ‘all the underdogs that existed’ and enjoyed connecting with other unique dog owners.

She had no particular expectations and was shocked beyond belief when her lovely pooch was announced the champion! She didn't think he was ugly at all.

Benally admitted:

Sometimes, people look disgusted when they see Mr Happy Face. A woman that I had met was horrified and asked me ‘What is that?’. Some reactions that Mr Happy Face receives aren't pleasant, but others are overjoyed and happy when they see him.

Sources used:

- Newsweek: 'I Adopted a 17-Year-Old Rescue Dog With a Devastating Past'

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