Zsa Zsa, a 9-year-old English bulldog, has died just weeks after winning the 2018 World’s Ugliest Dog contest.
Megan Brainard, Zsa Zsa’s owner, told NBC’s “Today” show that Zsa Zsa died in her sleep on Tuesday. She said Zsa Zsa was staying with her father. He discovered she died when he woke up in the morning.
Zsa Zsa won the annual contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds in Petaluma, California on June 23.
The World’s Ugliest Dog contest is meant to help raise awareness for dog adoption, to show that all animals are worthy of love.
Other contestants in the 2018 contest included a blackhead-covered Chinese crested-Dachshund mutt, a bulldog mix with excess wrinkly skin and a Pekingese named Wild Thang.
With her floppy tongue, crooked teeth and pink manicure, Zsa Zsa wowed the judges and took home the trophy and $1,500 prize.
Zsa Zsa’s hanging tongue came from a pronounced underbite and crooked upper teeth.
She had a rough early life, spending five years in a puppy mill in Missouri before she was rescued.
Brainard said Zsa Zsa never really showed much excitement, but that she knew she was special.
Brainard said she, her husband Jesse and their 15-month-old daughter Mareslie, held a special memorial for Zsa Zsa.
“I picked Zsa Zsa up and took her outside and laid her down in the grass. We were all saying our goodbyes and Mareslie went right over and gave her a kiss,” Brainard said on the “Today” show. “It was sweet. She was waving at her.”