Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Comedy Barn's famed Miss Ellie dies at 17 Please continue to support her Mission

Miss Ellie died on May 29,2010
this is what her owner Dawn had to say on facebook

It is with a sad and heavy heart that we said goodbye to Miss Ellie today. She was almost 17 years old and a hero in her hometown. We knew several months ago her liver wasn't great and her bloodwork was always up and down. She may have had a stroke, but it was just her time. She was in our arms and peaceful as we said goodbye. She will always be remembered as our famous cutest ugly dog!

Miss Ellie's facebook page

 Sevier County Humane Society

Facebook page



She was, at once, one of the world’s cutest dogs — and one of its ugliest. But there was no denying Miss Ellie’s charm.

The 17-year-old Chinese Crested Hairless, star of shows at the Comedy Barn and a celebrity with a worldwide following, has died.

“It was not unexpected,” her owner, Dawn Goehring, said Tuesday, “even though she had been doing well.”

She appeared on The Animal Planet cable show “Dogs 101,” was featured on Fox News, seen on billboards and a commercial, and was the star dog at The Comedy Barn in Pigeon Forge. Miss Ellie had been rescued eight years ago by Goehring from an owner that didn’t want it any more. The dog had been living in a garage.

“She started traveling with me and the dogs within a year,” said Goehring, who owns and trains the canines featured in the theater.

Ellie was indifferent to performing, but would appear on stage.

“She enjoyed the attention, but she didn’t do a lot of tricks. She was mostly out there for the visibility as the face of the Comedy Barn canines,” Goehring said.

Ellie, despite her advanced age, was on stage as recently as a few weeks ago and was in the Dolly Parton parade last month. Last week, she was entered in the Beauty and the Beast Contest held at the Blount County Critter Fest in Maryville and took first prize for Ugly Critter. 

Goehring already had entered the dog in this year’s World’s Ugliest Dog contest in Petaluma, Calif., and Ellie was to have traveled to that state next month to compete one more time for the title before retirement.

Ellie is being privately cremated.

Goehring is renewing her efforts to raise money for a new animal shelter in the county. Had the dog won last year’s contest — she won a weekly people-voting contest but was not selected by judges for the finals — the $1 million prize was going to be given to the Sevier County Humane Society, which operates the shelter on Gnatty Branch Road.

“I am going to make that my driven goal to do in her honor,” Goehring said of a new shelter. “I am going to get out there and find a way to raise money to build a new shelter.”

In September, Miss Ellie was entered in the All-American Dog Food Pet Brand Cutest Dog Competition and won the popular online vote over 60,000 dogs that were in the contest. 

Pigeon Forge Mayor Keith Whaley proclaimed Nov. 12 as “Miss Ellie Day” for her efforts to raise money for the local Humane Society. Over the years, Ellie has helped raise more than $100,000 for the Sevier County Humane Society. 

Ellie went into local schools to inspire children to become responsible pet owners, raise awareness of the importance of animal shelters and to demonstrate safety lessons on bite prevention. She also traveled to nursing homes for pet therapy. 

In her final years, Ellie was blind in both eyes, but otherwise healthy, Goehring said. It’s not unusual for dogs of Ellie’s breed to live for 17 years or so.

Miss Ellie’s fundraising efforts for the Humane Society will now be turned over to Elvis and Possum, two new Comedy Barn canines with unique looks.

Messages of condolence can be e-mailed to or posted on The Comedy Barn Canines fan page on Facebook. People are also encouraged to go online at 

Read more: The Mountain Press - Comedy Barn s famed Miss Ellie dies at 17 

In memorial to Miss Ellie, people are asked to donate money with checks marked “For the Miss Ellie Fund” to help the Sevier County Humane Society, P.O. Box 976, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863. Call 453-7000.

 Facing severe overpopulation and declining conditions to its facilities, the Sevier County Humane Society is in desperate need of help. Visit and click the donation button at the bottom of the page. All proceeds go directly to the Sevier County Humane Society.


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