doggie dude ranch & training center

BOARDING | TRAINING | DAYCARE

doggie dude ranch & training center

BOARDING | TRAINING | DAYCARE

INNER BEAUTY: Lessons From An Ugly Dog

"Sophie, you are my HERO.  Though the bloom is off your rose, your true beauty blossoms. Some would call you “old”, but I find you inspiringly unapologetic, confident and strong."

My home town of Petaluma, California is home to the much acclaimed World’s Ugliest Dog Contest.  This is the event’s 25th year, so I simply had to attend.

On benches, awaiting their 15 minute of fame on the red carpet, were all the ugly dog contest hopefuls – each  vying for the $1500 prize and a trip to New York City for guest spots on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the Today Show and more.  I was struck by how confident and unashamed these hairless, tongue-drooping, misshapen contestants were as they sat there with their not-so-calm humans.  One contestant in particular caught my eye and got me thinking…

Her name was Sophie – a 17 years young, 3 pound, toothless, blind and deaf Chihuahua.  Her “disabilities” notwithstanding, Sophie sat proudly on her mother’s lap, scarred head held high and sporting an oh-so-stylish pink leather collar and leash ensemble on her hairless, bird-like neck, her collar tastefully accessorized with a rhinestone fob that would make even Coco Chanel drool with envy.  Sophie did not take home the big prize that evening, but she was the winner in my eyes.

Sophie, you are my HERO.  Though the bloom is off your rose, your true beauty blossoms.  Some would call you “old”, but I find you inspiringly unapologetic, confident and strong.  You are living life now, with no regrets for what has been.  Surely you have earned every line and battle scar on your tiny, fearless face.  Without sight, you are seeing the world as you want it to be.  Without hearing, you dance to the sounds of kitty cats and birdsong.  You are the one and only Sophie, and you are ready for your close-up.

May we all, in our own way, be Sophie.  Rrrr-ar!

Camilla Gray-Nelson

Camilla Gray-Nelson

Camilla has over 50 years experience with animals (she grew up on the farm!). She has trained, bred and shown dogs since 1989 and brings this broad background and knowledge of dog behavior to her clients and her business. Her life-long understanding of the animal mind helped her develop what has become her signature style of natural dog training and voice control, now simply referred to as the “Dairydell Method”. Camilla and her Dairydell Method have been featured in numerous newspaper and magazine articles, as well as on San Francisco TV’s Evening Magazine and View From the Bay. Camilla loves teaching – whether it’s dogs, their owners, or the horses you see her riding in Dairydell’s beautiful arena. When she’s not training, teaching or riding, Camilla is writing about her favorite subject: dogs and their people! Camilla holds professional memberships in both the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI) and the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP).
Camilla Gray Nelson

Camilla Gray Nelson

Camilla has over 50 years experience with animals (she grew up on the farm!). She has trained, bred and shown dogs since 1989 and brings this broad background and knowledge of dog behavior to her clients and her business. Her life-long understanding of the animal mind helped her develop what has become her signature style of natural dog training and voice control, now simply referred to as the “Dairydell Method”.

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2 thoughts on “INNER BEAUTY: Lessons From An Ugly Dog”

  1. Oh Camilla, She’s a Sophie with a bird like neck a darling old dog and tugs at my heart with memories of one Sophie I will never forget <3. Nice article.

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