SALT LAKE CITY – A man who rescued a dog on the brink of death in the West Desert last year has reunited with the pup whose life he saved.
"Oh my gosh, so good to meet you guys!" Matt Bentley exclaimed as he walked up to Jamie and Trent Jaques in a grassy area outside the Utah Animal Adoption Center on Saturday.
He then knelt down and began petting their dog, Kelly. It's been a year since Bentley's seen Kelly, and she looked quite different then.
"You're so different, you look so good!" He said, laughing and squeaking a dog toy in front of her. "Oh my gosh, I can't believe how much fur she has!"
He then stood up, wiping away tears. "Ah, man," Bentley said, hugging Jamie again.
"I'm so grateful for you," Jamie said.
The last time Bentley saw Kelly, she hadn't been adopted by Jamie and Trent. She was still recovering from when he found her near Knolls in the middle of the West Desert.
"You remember me, huh?" Bentley said, looking at the dog. "You remember be grabbing you? You didn't have any fur."
The Brittany Spaniel was completely hairless, covered in mange and malnourished when she mysteriously wandered up to Bentley's Jeep while on a ride with his dog Bella in January of 2018.
Bentley described her as looking like a "plucked chicken," but the sick and dying dog's fighting spirit persevered.
The Utah Animal Adoption Center spent months nursing Kelly back to health before finding her the perfect home with Jamie and Trent -- and their Golden Doodle, Rocky.
All ended well, except one thing: Matt didn't get to see Kelly fully recovered, or meet the people who took her in.
That led to Saturday's touching reunion.
"You guys have done a great job," Matt said, hugging Trent and Jamie.
"We're so grateful for you," Jamie said. "You really have no idea."
Now, both sides are beaming at finally seeing each other.
"He saved her life, it's incredible. It really is," Jamie said.
"It's so fulfilling to see how happy she is, to see how happy these two are," Matt said.
He hopes he and Bella can have another play date with Kelly again soon.
"It's just cool to come full circle with her, and see the ending. Like kind of have that closure with her, and know that she has her forever home," he said, adding, "It's a fairytale ending."