They say a dog is man’s best friend but when it comes to Rusty Fickes and his dog Lucky, it’s the pooch who’s truly lucky to have her owner.
Her appearance is nothing short of shocking: burnt skin, missing eyelids and teeth protruding in every direction.
At a neighborhood dog show in Flour Bluff, Texas she was awarded the title ugliest dog but her owner thinks she could win the national contest he’s seen on TV.
He says people always stop him on the street and ask to take pictures of his unusual pooch and he claims one woman was even brought to tears just at the sight of her.
To him though, she’s just like any other dog.
The bond between them dates back to a cold, wet day some 10 years ago.
Rusty spotted what he thought was a plastic grocery bag blowing across the road. He says, “My sister said ‘No, that’s a dog stop and back up.'”
He found her scared and hiding in a ditch. She was covered in ants, dirty and starving.
He wrapped her in his jacket, she fell asleep and he rushed her to an emergency vet clinic.
“They looked right at me and they said ‘Mister, we can’t save every puppy.'”
In the days to come, the skin around Lucky’s face began to fall off. Vets speculate she may have gotten into some chemicals.
Still Rusty refused to give up on her. A decade later he still tends to her wounds. “She doesn’t have eyelids and can’t blink and you have to take care of her eyes for her 3 or 4 times a day,” he says. Her multidirectional teeth make it difficult for her to eat.
“I think that kind of adds the final touch of appeal if she is going to be an ugly dog champion some day,” Rusty says.
Despite her flaws, he loves Lucky as much as her two siblings Ariel and Picasso. Though caring for Lucky has been a challenge, he says he’s glad he rescued her and hopes other people will do the same.
“Every dog deserves a chance,” he says.