Free Range Free Chat

Happy Monday News Viewers on this last Monday in June, and welcome to Free Range, our Monday free chat full of all the topics fit to chat, rant, question or muse about — you might say we freely range across time, space and the back porch here; the lack of topic means the presence of almost any topic within reason and without assholery. So. … .What’s on your mind today?

I’m thinking about dogs, specifically Ugly Dogs, since Saturday was the Ugliest Dog Contest. The winner was Mr. Happy, 17 years old and a champion, even though he and his competitors would never gain entry into the AKC, would never trot in front of judges at Westminster.

Janeda Banelly and Mr. Happy, adopted from an Arizona Shelter, celebrating the win.

On Saturday, Mr. Happy won First Place in the annual “World’s Ugliest Dog” competition, a tongue-in-cheek pageant held at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California. The event returned this year after being canceled twice in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. Happy Face looks toward the camera before the start of the World’s Ugliest Dog Competition in Petaluma, California, on June 24. JOSH EDELSON VIA GETTY IMAGES
Maybe next year, Wild Thang, runner-up for Ugliest Dog 2022. JOSH EDELSON VIA GETTY IMAGES

Since the 70’s, the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest has been a testament that all dogs do not have to meet AKC pedigree standards to be man’s (or woman’s) best friend. The owners of all kinds of dogs are also all kinds of people, from youngsters to senior citizens, adopting dogs despite missing fur, crossed eyes, duck waddles or mismatched ears. They walk possibly pedigreed pooches and Heinz 57 mutts down the red carpet to the cheers and clapping of the crowd.

Zsa Zsa, an English bulldog, is the winner of the 2018 competition.  Jeff Chiu/AP Images
Martha, a Neapolitan Mastiff, became 2017’s World’s Ugliest Dog.  Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Jason Wurtz of Van Nuys holds his dog SweePee Rambo after winning the 2016 World’s Ugliest Dog contest. 
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
He’s overweight and has a birth defect that left him a bit hunchbacked.
Quasi Modo is a 10-year-old pit bull-Dutch shepherd mix who was the World’s Ugliest Dog in 2015
Reggie is presented before judges during the World’s Ugliest Dog Competition in Petaluma, California on June 26, 2015. 
Peanut took the top honor in 2014.  Stephen Lam/Reuters

In contrast to this celebration of dogs who are classified as imperfect and atypical, I wonder if authoritarian leaders prefer only dogs they decree are worthy by the criteria they themselves set?

As it turns out, many dictators have dogs, beautiful dogs. Powerful dictators who use that power to control others seem to have distinctly photogenic pets. 🤔 What do we make of that?

In celebration of dogs of all stripes, congrats to all the ”imperfects”, especially Mr. Happy. … .

For more on the contest: and Huffington Post and Insider

Who will be Trump' running mate?