Elwood’s life started out a little uncertain but has certainly turned into a FABULOUS LIFE!
When Elwood was born his breeder felt he was “too” ugly to sell so she was going to end his life. Luckily for Elwood a woman intervened and took Elwood to live with her at 4 weeks old. Then a call to the New Jersey SPCA changed Elwood’s life forever.
When Elwood was 9 months old he needed a new home and that is when life began to change for him. Karen's friend, John, was the investigator on the New Jersey SPCA case and called her to come meet Elwood. When Karen saw Elwood it was LOVE at first site. She took him home to live with her and other rescued dogs and cats. The two became inseparable.
At the insistence of one of Karen's friends and fellow animal rescuer, Kris Banks, Karen enlisted Elwood in the 18th Annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest in Petaluma, CA. Karen agreed to enter Elwood in the contest when she learned that the "gist" of the contest is “there truly are NO ugly dogs”. Karen never once for a second ever thought Elwood was ugly. To her, he IS the “cutest dog in the world”. Nevertheless, the contest would afford Elwood the opportunity to spread some important messages and to show the world that ALL dogs are wonderful regardless of what they look like.
Once entered in the contest Elwood’s face began to appear everywhere. Television shows, the Internet, newspapers were all talking about Elwood. Animal Planet aired the contest in 2006, which showed Elwood capturing 2nd place for the mutt class! Upon returning home Elwood was known to all. He began making appearances at charity events to help raise money for homeless and abused animals. Karen was so inspired by Elwood’s story that she wrote a children’s book entitled Everyone Loves Elwood with the message that it's OK to be different.
Then June 2007 rolled around again and Karen and Elwood headed back to California for the 19th Annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest to give it one more try. This time Elwood took home the crown and the title. WOW! Now life was really rolling. Appearances on Weekend Today, CNN, The View, The 10 Morning Show, and Brazilian and Germany television shows, just to name a few. Television news shows from California to Philadelphia were talking about this little dog; even India and London news broadcasts were focusing on this little pup! His face appeared in newspapers across the United States, London, Australia, Ireland, Chile, Spain, Turkey, and who knows where else. The Internet was loaded with Elwood stories and videos.
Now offers for appearances were coming in none stop. Elwood has appeared at over 200 events - 90% of them for non-profit animal organizations. He has helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for homeless and abused animals.
As the years passed, Elwood's celebrity continued to soar. He appeared on television shows such as Regis and Kelly with Anderson Cooper, The Rachael Ray Show, Dogs 101, The Most Amazing Animals, and his picture appeared in Time Square in New York City. He began visiting children in schools across the East Coast sharing his message of tolerance and compassion for all beings, and he was honored with numerous awards for his altruistic works. Elwood was also the subject of a six week lesson for 36 elementary Brazilian students on the topic of Respect for Differences. No matter where Elwood goes - people know him and love him. He is a true inspiration to millions.
Elwood represents what love is all about. People call him “magical”. It was said that Elwood won the contest not because of his looks, but because of his loveable personality and, no doubt, he was the crowd favorite! People everywhere adore him, and Elwood loves everyone he meets. He has a way of making people feel happy and smile and laugh…and what a wonderful gift that is. Elwood has always used his celebrity to help homeless animals by spreading the message to “Be Kind to Animals” and each other; encourage people to “Adopt” animals from shelters and rescue groups; “Spay and Neuter” their pets, and to embrace global diversity.
Who knows what is in store for Elwood, but one thing is for sure, Elwood is enjoying a fabulous life because he is loved, and he gives an incredible amount of love in return. When the spotlight fades Elwood will continue to be happy and loveable and funny. Elwood is one in a million!
So for anyone who has ever hesitated to adopt an animal please let Elwood be your inspiration. Millions of amazing dogs and cats sit alone in shelters across our country just waiting for a chance at a fabulous life. And, the best part is it just might make your life fabulous too!
Elwood retired in January 2013 after dedicating 7 years of his life to helping others. He enjoyed many months of lounging around the house, taking special trips with Karen, and sharing days with his fur family. Sadly, Elwood passed suddened on Thanksgiving morning, November 28, 2013 at 9:20 am in Karen's arms. Karen was heartbroken, for Elwood truly was and, will always be, the love of her life and the smile in her heart. Word of Elwood's passing trended on the news and aired worldwide. Karen received condolences from people all over the world - people she never met, but who loved Elwood, his work, and knew his message of love and kindness. The outpouring of love and support was overwhelming and deeply touched Karen. Elwood truly was a gift to millions of people and it was Karen's privilege to share him with so many. She knew that God entrusted her with Elwood. Although God took Elwood home to be with Him, he remains forever in the hearts of all those who loved him and where blessed by his magic. Please continue to spread Elwood's message to help homeless animals and to always be kind and tolerant of differences.
Until we meet again...little man...RIP Elwood.