Emaciated Dog Covered in Scabs Found Wandering in Desert. 4 Months Later, Gets Forever Home


Kelly the dog was first spotted wandering in the desert in Utah. She was alone and scared, and her rescuer was unsure how long she’d been out there.

Kelly was covered in sores and infected with mange, and clearly hadn’t eaten in a very long time.

“I can’t imagine she had been eating anything for a week if not more,” veterinarian Kelly Gehlhaus said. “Just how she looked, to lose that amount of hair and to be in the condition she was in, she must have been out there for like a month or so easily.”

The man who found her brought her to the nearest animal shelter. Volunteers and workers couldn’t believe the dog had survived on her own in her condition. They named her Kelly, which means warrior, for her amazing resilience.

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While they didn’t know how she’d gotten into her situation, they knew they needed to help her as soon as possible, and put her in quarantine for two months to treat the mange infection.

“You can do skin scrapes to find the mites but it’s pretty rare to find them,” Gelhaus said. “But with her we found two, so that explains really how severe she was.”

Kelly’s story was posted on social media and quickly went viral. The world watched everything from her first bath to the news that her breed was 100 percent Brittany Spaniel. The more progress she made, the more people fell in love with her.

“Seeing this dog coming from a situation that was so harsh and seeing her life be saved and watching her as she progressed, I think it just made people, it tugged at their heart strings and just made them fall in love with her,” UAAC volunteer coordinator Whittney Jaques said.

“All of these dogs and cats have untold stories,” she said. “You don’t know where they’ve been or what they’ve been through, but by coming down and volunteering we get the chance to care for them and love on them.”

And less than four months into Kelly’s stay at the shelter, Jaques’ family adopted her.

“It was love at first sight,” she said. “My mom took her on one walk, and that was it. We just knew, I was like ‘that’s your dog.’”

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Kelly will also be gaining a new furry family member as well with the family’s Golden Doodle named Rocky.

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Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
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