Two years ago, Elwood, a mix of chihuahua and Chinese Crested, was about to be euthanized. Then, soon after he was rescued, Karen Quigley of Sewell became the owner of the hairless but tufted pup with the missing teeth that causes his rather long tongue to hang out. “Just because a dog is different doesn’t make him any less adorable or lovable,” she says.
To prove the point—and to draw attention to issues of animal adoption and acceptance—Quigley entered Elwood in the 2007 World’s Ugliest Dog competition at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in California, which he won handily. “I definitely think he won because of his personality,” she says. “He was the crowd favorite.”
Now Elwood is a celebrity, the subject of a new book for children called Everyone Loves Elwood, by Quigley with Loren Spiotta-DiMare of Tewksbury. Elwood will do a book “pawing” on April 12 at the Califon Book Shop in Califon and another on April 13 at Well Bred, a gift shop for pets in Chester. (The book can be purchased at those events or at everyoneloveselwood.com.) He’s a dog in demand, as evidenced by his well-received appearances at mental health clinics, elementary schools, hospitals, and pet adopt-a-thons. “We couldn’t be more proud of Elwood,” says Quigley.
“He does spread a wonderful message about being kinder and more accepting,” says Spiotta-DiMare. Elwood, in fact, has already raised an estimated $10,000 for pet-rescue organizations in New Jersey. Which is a beautiful thing.
BEST DOG PARKS
South Mountain Reservation in South Orange
This 1.4 acre fenced-in park for large dogs and .7 acre area for dogs under 35 pounds, has water fountains, poop bags, benches, and agility equipment. It’s adjacent to 2,200 acres of the reservation (which has sections in several towns) to explore on leash.
Crest Drive off South Orange Avenue; Essex County Parks Department (essex-countynj.org/p/index.php?section=dog).
Rocky Top Dog Park in Princeton
This privately operated, two-acre fenced park has a swimming pond and shady and grassy areas for puppy play sessions, breed-specific events, and “socials” for small- and medium-sized dogs.
Visitor passes start at $5; three-month membership, $81; vaccination records required. Open from 6 am to 9 pm year ’round. Rte 27 near Rtes 518 & 522 (Promenade Blvd); (rockytopdogpark.com).
Duke Dog Run in Freedom Park, Medford
Two 10-acre fields separated by a tributary of Rancocas Creek offer plenty of space for dogs to run and swim within this 100-acre park run by Medford Township.The park is enclosed by a natural hedge—small, determined dogs may be able to squeeze through—and water fountains are not provided.
86 Union St (discovermedford.com/recreation.html).