6 min read

Bald 'Creature' Found Running Through Desert Is So Happy And Loved Now

“She is such a friendly, sweet, happy dog ... She loves everyone.”

When a man spotted Kelly running through a remote Utah desert in January, he wasn’t even sure what she was.

Entirely bald and sunburnt from being out in the sun, Kelly’s skin was swollen and covered in scabs. Every step she took was painful from the terrible mange she was covered with.

bald dog rescue kelly utah desert
Kelly when she was first brought to Utah Animal Adoption Center | Utah Animal Adoption Center

No one knows how long she was out there in the desert — but all the dog knew was that help had finally come. The man called her over to his car and she jumped in immediately.

Utah Animal Adoption Center quickly offered to cover her care. Lila Oulson, the shelter manager, couldn’t believe her eyes when Kelly first came in.

bald dog rescue kelly desert utah
Utah Animal Adoption Center

“I was shocked,” Oulson told The Dodo at the time. “I’d never seen anything like her before. Her paw pads are so red that every step she takes, you can just tell it hurts her to walk. She’s so itchy that she just sits there and cries from the pain.”

Oulson and the team started Kelly’s treatment right away, a combination of intense antibiotics and medicated baths. The dog was clearly hurting — but she didn’t let that stop her from showing how grateful she was.

kelly bald dog utah desert rescue
Kelly with one of her caretakers at the shelter | Utah Animal Adoption Center

After just over a month in the shelter’s care, Kelly looks like an entirely different dog from the bald creature she once was.

Her white and brown fur is growing back and she’s no longer in pain. She loves going on walks now, and her favorite thing is simply being close to people — something she went so long without on those days stranded in the desert.

desert rescue dog kelly utah
Kelly dressed as Wonder Woman for a photo shoot | Utah Animal Adoption Center/Valor Photography

Knowing what she’s been through, the staff spend every minute they can with her.

“She is such a friendly, sweet, happy dog,” Oulson said. “The other day she was in the front office with us and someone came in with two puppies. She went right to them, licking them and just doting over them. She loves everyone.”

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Kelly checking out the camera | Utah Animal Adoption Center

After Kelly’s rescue earned national media attention, people started flooding the comments on the shelter’s posts guessing which breed of dog she could be. The shelter staff was stumped as well — so they ordered a dog DNA kit and offered a prize to the person who could guess correctly.

The results were in last week: 100 percent Brittany spaniel. The winner got to meet Kelly and went home with a special gift basket for her good guess.

“It was a huge surprise for us,” Oulson said. “After we knew, though, we noticed that when she sees birds outside, she actually points. It’s that natural instinct she has coming through.”

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Kelly meeting the woman who correctly guessed her breed | Utah Animal Adoption Center

Although Kelly now has a clean bill of health, she’ll be with the shelter until the end of the month so she can be spayed and have her teeth cleaned.

With a huge influx of interest in adopting Kelly, Oulson has already begun reviewing adoption applications. Since Kelly is so bonded with people, a family where someone is home for most of the day would be the best option, Oulson said.

kelly desert dog utah
Kelly outside in the snow | Utah Animal Adoption Center

Having seen Kelly transform before her eyes into a healthy, happy dog, Oulson is looking forward to seeing her finally find a family — even though the moment will be bittersweet for everyone who’s cared for her.

“It’s gonna be hard to let her go,” Oulson said. “We’ve all fallen in love with her.”

desert dog rescue kelly bald
Utah Animal Adoption Center
To support Kelly’s medical care, you can make a donation to Utah Animal Adoption Center. You can also contact the shelter if you’re interested in adopting Kelly when she’s ready to find a home.