A Reflection on Peanut, the Abuse Survivor and World's Ugliest Dog of 2014

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Jan. 12 2024, Updated 2:25 p.m. ET

Peanut stands near a trophy at the conclusion of The World's Ugliest Dog Competition in Petaluma, California in June 2014.
Source: Getty Images

The World's Ugliest Dog moniker may seem harsh at first glance, but when 2014 winner Peanut captured Americans' hearts, the title proved to be a boon to abuse awareness and the merits of rescuing dogs in need.

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Per an article in Time after Peanut won the award in 2014, Peanut's human mom, Holly Chandler, said that Peanut was a victim of animal abuse and injured in a fire as a puppy.

Let's reflect on the dog with an ugly past, his heartwarming rescue story, and why Peanut and other rescue dogs are so important.

Holly Chandler kisses Peanut at The World's Ugliest Dog Competition in Petaluma, California in June 2014.
Source: Getty Images
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Peanut was crowned the World's Ugliest Dog in 2014.

When Peanut was anointed the World's Ugliest Dog in 2014, he was an immediate sensation across the internet. The 2-year-old mutt with a beautiful heart had a captivating story which proved to be helpful in spreading awareness of the realities of animal abuse.

Per the Associated Press, the bald patches on Peanut's body and other noticeable features were due to the abuse Peanut suffered before his rescue, including a fire he survived as a puppy. Nevertheless, he was healthy when he was named the World's Ugliest Dog in 2014 and would soon go on to earn fame for his resilience.

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His mom, Holly, told the Associated Press of greater plans for Peanut: “We’re trying to use him as a poster child for what can happen to animals who are abused.”

Indeed, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel gave Peanut the Hollywood treatment and a fresh makeover, per the Daily Mail, much to the delight of Holly and the internet at the time.

Peanut stands near a trophy at the conclusion of The World's Ugliest Dog Competition in Petaluma, California in June 2014.
Source: Getty Images
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Peanut, the World's Ugliest Dog, is a testament to the love a rescue dog can provide.

Ugly only in his award-winning title, Peanut brought joy to the hearts of all who learned his story and served as a testament to the powerful resilience and love that any rescue companion animal can provide with sufficient time, patience, and care.

Per the Daily Mail, Peanut was adopted from a shelter after waiting nine excruciatingly long months for the right person to adopt him. Little did those who passed over him realize the greatness within him and the prolific future that awaited him.

In came Holly Chandler with a grander vision for the remainder of Peanut's life, irrespective of how his protruding eyes and teeth didn't match conventional views of a dog's handsomeness.

After Peanut won the 26th annual World's Ugliest Dog contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds in Petaluma, Calif., Holly told the Associated Press that Peanut's $1,500 in prize money would be utilized to help pay for other companion animals' vet bills.

From a traumatic past to a loving rescue and adoption to an award-winning life, Peanut has defied traditional standards of beauty and remains a testament to the blissful joy that a doggie companion can bring.

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