(Nov. 3) -- A toy poodle that looked more like a matted ball of yarn than a pooch is getting a new "leash" on life thanks, in part, to the folks at Ripley's Believe It or Not.
The dog was recently found in a ditch and brought to an animal shelter in Houma, La., covered in matted fur -- so much that his eyes were covered with hair.
Since the folks who run the shelter, My Heart's Desire, couldn't believe anyone could treat a dog like that, they decided to name the pooch "Ripley."
This toy poodle was found in a ditch with fur so badly matted that he couldn't even walk. A shelter in Houma, La., rescued him and named him "Ripley" because it was hard to believe anyone would do that do an animal.
"You would have never believed there was a dog under there," said My Heart's Desire co-founder Tracey Lapeyrouse. "He didn't even look like a dog. He looked like the elephant man. All you could see was his snout."
Once Tim O'Brien, VP of communications for Ripley's Believe It or Not, heard about Ripley's hairy situation, he became a believer about wanting to help his employer's namesake.
"This isn't the first animal I've heard of that was named Ripley," he confessed. "I once had a goldfish named Ripley. But this is the first time an unbelievable animal had the name."
O'Brien learned about Ripley's plight through a Google search and immediately called the shelter offering to help.
"Ripley the dog is what Ripley's Believe It or Not is all about," O'Brien said. "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."
Unbelievably, except for the Rasta-like matting, Ripley was fairly healthy and wasn't malnourished.
However, the fur covered the pads on his feet and he had a couple of skittish moments when he tried to walk without the excess foot fur.
Now that Ripley has been given a good grooming and lots of TLC, and been neutered, My Heart's Desire is looking for a permanent home for him. To that end, Ripley's will give $400 to My Heart's Desire and Ripley the dog will come with a gift card for a pet store that his new owners can use for food, grooming, toys and other expenses.
One person who is considering adopting him is O'Brien himself.
"Whoever gets him is getting a great dog," O'Brien admitted. "I'm tempted to drive down from Nashville and adopt him myself. My family wants me to."
Whether or not O'Brien adopts him, he promises that Ripley's Believe It Or Not will always be a part of Ripley the dog's life.
"We are putting his story in the 2012 edition of our 'Ripley's Believe It Or Not!' book," he said. "His life will be very public. It will be a big deal when he's adopted. I hope his new owners understand they'll have to share him with the world."
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