'World's ugliest dog' isn't so ugly

Story highlights

  • Photographer Bego Anton spent time with Mugly, the "World's Ugliest Dog" in 2012
  • She found that despite his unfortunate exterior, Mugly is living the life of a movie star
  • He also gives back to the community, working as a therapy dog and helping children to read

(CNN)At first glance, Mugly -- a 10-year-old Chinese crested dog -- is a rather unappealing and unfortunate-looking animal.

With a few random hairs protruding from his snout, a pair of squinty, beady eyes and thin, patchy skin, his genetics didn't do much for his exterior.
    But beauty isn't skin deep. And that is exactly what photographer Bego Anton wants to portray through her pictures of Mugly.
    "Ugly Mugly is a reflection on how we relate to our pets and how what is close and important to us can change our perceptions on terms such as beauty," Anton said.
    Bego Anton
    Bev Nicholson is the owner of Mugly and five other dogs. None of the five is as provocative-looking as Mugly, yet he is her prized possession in more ways than one -- if his tiny outfits weren't already telling of her immense love.
    Along with winning the "World's Ugliest Dog" contest in 2012 and being declared "Great Britain's Ugliest Dog" by a national newspaper in 2005, Mugly works as a therapy dog in a local hospital and attends a ton of charity events.
    He helps raise money for small dog rescues in the United Kingdom -- like the one where Nicholson found him. He visits schools and takes part in the "Read to Dogs" program, where reluctant students can read to him without the fear of judgment and receive encouragement through his affection.

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    Mugly has also appeared on television too many times to count, and he's even been to Parliament to switch on the Christmas lights.
    "Mugly's life is far from being an ordinary dog's life," Anton said. "He is more like a movie star."
    When Anton first decided to profile the dog, she thought he was ugly, too, she admits. But after spending a week with him, she said, "I discovered a sweet and lovable dog."
    She even called him the B-word: beautiful.
    Nicholson knew right away this dog was special. Anton could tell there was a wonderful chemistry between them.
    "I've never seen such an understanding between a human and her pet," she said. "They love each other so much and are capable of understanding each other with just one look."
    Bego Anton is a Spanish photographer. You can follow her on Facebook.