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Arizona canine named World's Ugliest Dog in annual contest

June 27 (UPI) -- A Chinese crested-chihuahua mix named Mr. Happy Face was crowned the World's Ugliest Dog at an annual pageant in California.

Organizers of the World's Ugliest Dog Contest in Petaluma announced the 17-year-old Mr. Happy Face, adopted in August 2021 by Arizona woman Janeda Banelly, was named the 2022 World's Ugliest Dog.

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The contest, an annual event at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds Event Center, returned this year after the 2020 and 2021 contests were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The contest is aimed at promoting adoption of dogs that some might consider to be less than aesthetically pleasing.

Banelly received an award of $1,000 and a trip to New York to appear on NBC's Today show.

"I believe that this humble soul is also being an example, in subtle ways, to help humans realize that even old dogs need love and a family too," Banelly wrote in Mr. Happy Face's contest bio.

Banelly said she immediately fell in love with Mr. Happy Face, despite being told he might not have long to live due to his advanced age and multiple health issues.

"He was the happiest creature that I had ever met," she said. "He hobbled up to me and chose me. I vowed that day, he would be so loved that he would never remember how awful his previous life had been."

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