R.I.P. Yoda, the World's Ugliest Dog

Yoda, the world's ugliest dog, died last weekend at age 15, it was reported today. The tiny fluffball – Yoda weighed just 1.8 pounds – joined The Force last Saturday; according to an AP report, she died peacefully in her sleep. The Hanford (California) Sentinel, Yoda's hometown paper, obtained an email from owner Terry Schumacher in which she mournfully bade her Picasso-faced pooch farewell: "Say a prayer today 4 my YODA...rest in peace 3-10-12. "She passed away last night in her sleep. I will miss her funny little ways! But comforted knowing she will be joining my Mom and Dad, who loved her so much! Her memories will live on forever!!!"

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Yoda, a Chihuahua/Chinese Crested mix, had a unique face that only a mother could love. Said mother, Schumacher, found Yoda behind an apartment building – and initially mistook the abandoned pooch for a rat. But with Schumacher's love and support, Yoda avenged herself, winning the (not very) coveted title of World's Ugliest Dog in the Sonoma-Marin Fair contest last year. (As well as $1,000, and a trophy that dwarfed her in size.) Schumacher reported after the win that friends had told her for years to enter Yoda in the contest, but still insisted that Yoda wasn't ugly – "she's cute!"

Although Yoda is no longer with us in body, she'll continue her Ugliest Dog reign in spirit. Contest producer Vicki DeArmon told AP that Yoda will retain her crown until a new W.U.D. is crowned this coming June. Our condolences to Schumacher – and best of luck to the 2012 contestants (and any mirrors nearby).

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