Zsa Zsa, the English bulldog whose captivating looks and lolling tongue garnered her the title of World’s Ugliest Dog last month, died in her sleep on Tuesday. She was 9.
The pup lived a true Cinderella story. She was purchased by a rescue group after spending the first five years of her life in a Missouri puppy mill. Megan Brainard, a resident of Anoka, Minnesota, brought her home after seeing her photo on a pet adoption website and named her after the Hollywood star Zsa Zsa Gabor.
“She is just so ugly, she’s beautiful,” Brainard told The New York Times last month.
Zsa Zsa’s family drove about 30 hours to California last month to enter her in the Ugliest Dog pageant, where she beat out 13 competitors to take home the trophy and $1,500. Many of the other dogs in the event come with similar backstories, rescued from animal shelters or puppy mills.
Brainard described the dog’s death as “devastating” in an interview with Today.com, which first reported the news. She said her family held a small memorial for the pooch, known to love Slim Jims and burritos from the Mexican fast-food chain Chipotle.
“I picked Zsa Zsa up and took her outside and laid her down in the grass,” Brainard told the outlet. “We were all saying our goodbyes.”