Believe it or Not: Cockroach-Infested Dog Gets Second Chance

An alarmingly overgrown dog dubbed Ripley gets help from some Good Samaritans — and his namesake.

Ripley sure is one lucky dog.

dog On Oct. 19, the two-year-old poodle was found in a Louisiana ditch near a no kill shelter. Shelter workers noticed Ripley and picked him up with a towel because they weren't sure exactly what they were rescuing. His fur was so grossly overgrown that he looked less like a dog and more like an ... it.

Once they figured it out, they got the dog to a vet and called Tracy Lapeyrouse with My Heart's Desire, who took him in.

Live and dead cockroaches were snarled inside his matted and overgrown mane, and his mouth was so covered by fur that his rescuers didn't even know how he managed to eat.

But now, thanks to some Good Samaritans, and one (or possibly several) seriously effective razors, Ripley has a new leash on life — and is garnering national attention.

"I keep telling people he looked like the Elephant Man," Tracy, who heads up My Heart's Desire rescue group in Houma, La., which is currently caring for Ripley, tells Tonic. "This is probably the most grotesque grooming issue I've ever seen, and I've been doing this for 10-plus years."

Lapeyrouse fortuitously named the 5 1/2 pound dog Ripley, "because I was driving home with him and he needed a name and I kept saying no one would have ever believed this was a dog. It was like Ripley's Believe it or Not. Then I thought, Ripley!"

The name caught the attention of the Ripley's Believe It Or Not company, which generously agreed to give the family who adopts Ripley a $400 gift certificate to a local pet store, and is also donating food and grooming for a year in conjunction with the Petco Foundation.

Ripley is currently up for adoption, and Lapeyrouse tells Tonic applications have poured in from as far away as California. Lapeyrouse says they are still accepting requests, and her organization will strive to pick a perfect family to fit Ripley's needs, preferably a quiet home populated by experienced dog owners.

Happily, Lapeyrouse tells Tonic Ripley is doing well, despite his traumatic experience.

"Each day he becomes more and more social," she says. "He wags his little nub and cries to be close to us, which is a great sign.

Interested to adopt Ripley? Fill out an application here.

However, Lapeyrouse says there's one more important way people can help.

"Go to your local shelter and adopt a dog, because there are Ripleys all over the country," says Lapeyrouse.

Believe it or not, finding a best friend is easier than you think.


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