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Unbelievable “Before and After” Photos of Rescued Dog

Toy Poodle found in a ditch outside a shelter practically unrecognizable as a dog

By: Sara Lima

Last Updated:

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Photo courtesy of WWL-TV News, New Orleans

An amazing rescue story surfaced last week, one with all the hallmarks of a good Cinderella tale, including dramatic makeover.

Ripley the dog, so named because it’s nearly impossible to believe there was a young, purebred, Toy Poodle under the matted, dirt- and cockroach-filled fur ensnaring him, must have one heck of a fairy godmother.

The small dog was found in a ditch and rescued by My Heart’s Desire, an animal shelter in Houma, Louisiana, about 60 miles from New Orleans. "You would have never believed there was a dog under there," said Tracey Lapeyrouse, co-founder of the rescue group. "He didn’t even look like a dog. He looked like the elephant man. All you could see was his snout."

Over 2.5 pounds of fur were removed from 5-pound Ripley, who had to be sedated for the procedure, so badly was he matted. Insects, including cockroaches, were found living inside his fur. The veterinarians didn’t even know he was a male until he was shaved. He could not eat and could barely move his legs to walk. How he survived is a mystery.

The complete shave was so transformative that Ripley is having to adjust to the sensation of feeling his own ears, let alone the touch of others. "He’s physically never felt the sensation of touch. When you touch him you can tell it’s been a very, very long time since he’s been physically touched," explained Lapeyrouse.

All that’s needed now is a charming prince or princess to whisk away this little dog to his happily ever after. My Heart’s Desire is now looking for a permanent home for him (several people have already filled out adoption papers) and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is making a donation to the shelter and to Ripley’s future family. The company will give $400 to My Heart’s Desire and Ripley the dog will come with a gift card for a local pet store that his new owners can use for food, grooming, toys, and other expenses. The company’s love for unusual animals comes directly from Robert Ripley himself, who owned many pets including a one-eyed dog name Cyclops.

"Ripley the dog is what Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is all about," said Tim O’Brien, VP of Communications for Ripley’s. "It’s unbelievable that a dog could even be in this condition, let alone survive and go on to potentially become a great pet for someone."

This may not be the last time that Ripley the dog will hear from the people at Ripley’s. His story is being considered for the next Ripley’s Believe It or Not! book.

To donate to My Heart’s Desire or adopt, call 985-226-4693 or go to

MORE: WWL-TV News in New Orleans featured Ripley the dog in a story on the shelter click here



Last Updated:

By: Sara Lima
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