Alas, poor Yoda. The beautiful-on-the-inside mangy Chinese crested-Chihuahua mix who was named 2011’s Ugliest Dog died in her sleep Saturday at the age of 15, according to the Associated Press. Her owner, Terry Schumacher of Hanford, Calif., said she will miss “her funny little ways.”
Schumacher adopted Yoda when she found her abandoned behind an apartment building, and mistook her for a rat. Yoda won the top honors of World’s Ugliest Dog at the Sonoma-Marin Fair, competing against severe overbites, eyes clouded with cataracts, and missing patches of fur to win for her bat ears, protruding tongue and spidery, hairless legs. The rest of her short life was filled with fame, fortune and pampering: TV appearances, a trophy, photo shoots and a $1,000 prize.
There are lessons to be learned from Yoda’s short life, of course: Primarily, that taking care of a helpless animal or person, regardless of appearance, is a truly beautiful thing. Some may remember Yoda this way, while others will remember her as an Internet meme, if at all.