(CBS/AP) The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by CBSNews.com's Meredith Stoffel. )
Hairless Pooch Ugliest Dog
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The owners of the other contestants in this year's World's Ugliest Dog Contest may have thought their pooches had a chance — until they saw Sam.
The 14-year-old pedigreed Chinese crested recently won the Sonoma-Marin Fair contest for the third consecutive time, and it's no surprise.
The tiny dog has no hair, if you don't count the yellowish-white tuft erupting from his head. His wrinkled brown skin is covered with splotches, a line of warts marches down his snout, his blind eyes are an alien, milky white and a fleshy flap of skin hangs from his withered neck. And then there's the Austin Powers teeth that jut at odd angles from his mouth.
He's so ugly even the judges recoiled when he was placed on the judging table, said his proud owner, Susie Lockheed, of Santa Barbara.
"People are always horrified when I kiss him. He may turn into a prince yet. He's definitely a toad," she said. "I always thought he'd be great on greeting cards or on a commercial for Rogaine."
Sam, who's pushing 15, has something of a cult following after winning the contest — and fans' hearts — for three years running. Last year, huge crowds gathered around Sam and Lockheed at a local parade and Lockheed said she received letters and calls about her pup for weeks.
"So many people have told me they've got his picture on their refrigerator. He certainly has a little cult following," she said. "I did years of professional musical theater and never achieved the fame Sam has."
Sam will appear in this weekend's Fourth of July parade in Santa Barbara, but the recent events may be the cap on a long, ugly career. Lockheed says Sam's now suffering from congestive heart failure, lung and kidney problems and has definitely slowed down in his twilight years. "