SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It’s been nearly five months since Kelly the dog was found emaciated and wandering the Salt Flats.
Now she’s found her forever home.
The dog was covered in sores and scabs, infected with mange and afraid.
“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 rescued the dog in January brought her to Utah Animal Adoption Center. When they received her they were shocked and surprised she was even alive.
“When I saw her I just went, ‘Oh my god,’” Gehlhaus said.
No one knows why or how she got there, but the shelter knew she needed help.
They named her Kelly – meaning warrior.
She was in quarantine for two months while being treated for mange.
“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."
Utah Animal Adoption Center documented her recovery, from her first bath, to announcing her breed - 100% Brittany Spaniel.
Kelly's story captured the hearts and support of dog lovers around the world.
“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,” new UAAC volunteer coordinator, Whittney Jaques said.
“It kind of restores my faith in humanity,” Gehlhaus said.
Saturday marked Kelly’s biggest milestone yet, finding her forever home.
“We got Kelly!” Jaques squealed.
Jaques’ family volunteers at the shelter.
“All of these dogs and cats have untold stories," Jaques 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."
Once the family met Kelly, they showed up three times a week.
“It was love at first sight,” Jaques said. “My mom took her on one walk, and that was it. We just knew, I was like ‘that’s your dog.’”
Dozens of people applied to take Kelly home, but at the end of the day the shelter said the choice was obvious.
“Bringing home a rescue dog is such a treasure and it’s such an amazing feeling, you’re giving this dog a home, but they kind of end up saving you in return,” Jaques said.
“She’s just going to have the most amazing life!” she added.
Kelly will now have a four-legged furry brother, a Golden Doodle named Rocky. The family plans to set up an Instagram account, so everyone can follow the adventures of Kelly and Rocky.