All the way from St. Petersburg, Florida, Gus captured the title – and my heart – when he won the 20th Annual World's Ugliest Dog Competition. The three-legged, one-eyed pup with cancer has a true tale of triumph – Jeanenne Teed and daughter Janey plan to use his award money of $1,600 (that's $100 for being a finalist for the purebred category, $500 for winning the Ugliest Dog of 2008 at the Sonoma-Marin Fair, and $1,000 for being the "2008 World's Ugliest Dog") towards his radiation treatments.
In addition to the money, he got two trophies, one taller than his owners – I've got no clue how they'll get those back to the Sunshine state! I already mentioned it was hot, hot, hot up in Petaluma, but that didn't stop me from catching up with the trio after they won and asking them a few questions about their precious pooch.
PS: How long ago did Gus join your family?
JT: Gus is nine years old and came to us when he was one year old. He came to us word of mouth . . . he was being kept inside a crate inside a garage by an owner who really just couldn't deal with him. She did the right thing and she gave him up to a better home . . . we'd like to think. And he's been with us ever since, through thick and thin, and he's hanging in there. He's a tough cookie.
PS: You mentioned that he has cancer – what kind of cancer does he have?
JT: He has skin cancer. He was diagnosed in December of '06 and, at that time, the cancer was quite advanced and he needed to have his leg amputated. The other leg was debulked and the tumor was removed. After chemotherapy and then treatment with another medication, he had a great year – we had a great year – we took him on vacation for the first time.
Find out where they went – and what happened to his eye! – when you
PS: Where did you go?
JT: We went to the Panhandle to an area that we always go to, Walton Beach, and it was just a great experience. Over Christmas, and over the holidays, we had that and now we have this great experience, too, which is unbelievable . . . absolutely unbelievable.
PS: So when you got Gus, did he have only one eye?
JT: Well, that's a sad . . . (laughs) . . . Gus got into a cat fight last December and obviously the cat won. So he lost his eye, too, to the cat. And he hasn't forgotten about it either.
PS: Hmm, they're not pals now I'm guessing?
JT: No, they're one for one. Gus had caught the kitten when he was a tiny, itty bitty kitten. And was trying to tear the kitten up with our other dog, Buttons, and they were playing tug-of-war. I rescued the little kitten who turned out to be a great, big tomcat.
PS: What's Gus's favorite treat?
JT: French fries. Unfortunately. We don't feed him this often but he loves McDonald's french fries. And when he was undergoing chemotherapy and his stomach was upset, the only thing he would eat was pepperoni pizza. Fortunately Janey works at a pizza place so it was easy to come by but that's what kept him going when nothing else tasted good to him.
PS: And are you gonna get him a special meal before you go back to the hotel tonight? A pampering snack at the fair, funnel cake perhaps?
JT: Him or us (laughs). We will get Gus whatever he wants to eat. It's been a great experience.