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Willie didn’t make a great first impression.

The Tibetan Spaniel had been housed at the Humane Society of El Paso when Alexa Timbrook dropped by looking to foster the rare breed. Willie was shy and a little awkward looking. He was missing his right eye, and was in a need of some grooming.

“But, there was something about him,” says Timbrook, 36, who two years ago took Willie home while the nonprofit animal shelter searched for his forever family.

Shortly after, Timbrook was building Willie a crate when it fell over and made a loud noise.

“Willie just sat there and stared into the distance, not budging a bit,” Timbrook says. “I realized he was deaf. That's when I fell in love with him.”

Referred to in Tibet as “little lions,” Tibetan Spaniels are said to make great companions.

Timbrook quickly learned that to be true, and now takes Willie everywhere she goes – from coffee shops and restaurants to weekend road trips and from California to New York.

“He makes friends everywhere,” Timbrook says, adding that no one knows why he's missing an eye.

Related: Check out Lucky, last year's winner 

Willie is also a great companion to his siblings, Theo, a 6-year-old poodle Shih Tzu mix who protects him, and Glamis, a 14-year-old Chihuahua who keeps the boys in check.

For Timbrook, a nurse at University Medical Center of El Paso, Willie has become a "great little friend" – and  a permanent member of her family.

His adorable face, loving demeanor and touching story made an impression on our Best Pet voters, as well as on our editorial staff who proudly name him this year's Ultimate Supreme overall winner.

 

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