Fallen show dog star rescued in Oakland


The weird and mysterious tale of Pup-Pourri’s Briana plays out like “Homeward Bound” meets “Pretty Woman” — in reverse.

The heroine of our story was once a celebrated beauty across the land, taking top place at numerous pageants and adored by a team of attendants.

Then seven years ago, our main character seemingly vanished from the public eye, only to be discovered wandering the gritty streets of East Oakland on Wednesday. Her condition is what kids would refer to today as a “hot mess.”

The once meticulously groomed champion shih tzu show dog was found limping along Thermal Street entangled in chicken wire and dirt-encrusted dreadlocks.

Megan Webb, director of Oakland Animal Services, guessed the poor pup had been enclosed in chicken wire so tightly that she couldn’t move for months, if not years.

Still, Pup-Pourri’s Briana’s regal upbringing preceded her. Webb marveled:

“But she seemed to have all this training. This air about her. It was strange.”

Pup-Pourri’s Briana true identity was discovered after Oakland animal control officers checked her microchip, which traced back to Cheryl Baer of Tulsa, Okla.

Baer, Pup-Pourri’s Briana’s groomer for five years, revealed the shih tzu’s glamourous show dog past. She won best-of-breed competitions in five states for her smooth gait, spunky disposition and perfect proportions. Born in 1998, she was the daughter of a four-time best-in-show sire.

During a phone call with SFGate on Friday, Baer wept when she heard the pup’s fate:

“I am absolutely appalled at what happened to her. A dog that was so loved … It’s a miracle she’s alive.”

Baer plans to adopt Pup-Pourri’s Briana and take her back home to Tulsa.

Meanwhile, animal control officers are asking anyone with information about the dog to call (510) 535-5602. Friends of Oakland Animal Services is offering $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the dog’s most recent owners for neglect.

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