Johnny Sampson

In 2018, on the cover of The Stranger, we published a portrait of a dog named Sharky who had won our Ugly Pet Contest. Sharky, in old age, was enjoying a moment in the spotlight before croaking. Her owner was touched. Then Sharky's owner started posting on social media about Sharky's health rapidly deteriorating. Then their social media went silent, and it seemed obvious what had happened, and everyone in the office mourned the loss of our cover star. The following year, a dog named BB Gunn won our Ugly Pet Contest and then died. In light of our apparent curse, we announced we were retiring the Ugly Pet Contest. But recently, out of the blue, Sharky's owner wrote to say: "Although Sharky is like 19 now and probably not gonna be around thaaaaaaat much longer, she's still very much alive." What?! Ooops! She attached a picture of Sharky eating ants. We apologized profusely, and Sharky's mom said, "Ha-ha, I'm not mad. Believe me, it is pretty nuts that the old lady is still around and eating cat poop, lol." We remain mortified. And we're sticking to our plan of doing a Stupid Pet Contest this year instead. But Sharky lives, full of ants and cat poop.