She was spotted running on Utah’s famed Salt Flats, a region the state’s own tourism site calls a place “so barren not even the simplest life forms can exist.”
But persist this small survivor did, in conditions that this time of year bring the West Desert temps below freezing come nightfall.
Matt Bentley was in the area with his own dog, celebrating the pup’s third birthday with some off-roading.
“I’d seen something running in the distance, I wasn’t sure what is was at first,” Mr Bentley told news channel Fox 13. “It came up to me and you could tell it was friendly, so I grabbed it and put it in the Jeep. That’s kind of when I realized, and it sunk in, how bad a shape it was in.”
Bentley rushed the spirited female pup to a vet, who handed her off to the Utah Animal Adoption Center (UAAC). She is now in recovery.
Shelter manager Lila Oulson said she’d never seen a dog in such a terrible state. The pup was diagnosed with severe cases of mange and malnourishment.
“She’s scabbed over, she has sores on her, and then she has no fur,” Oulson said. “I would think she’d have to have been out there at least three months, if not more. I don’t think she’d of survived another week or two out there.”
Bentley shared images and thoughts about the dog shortly after he found her, suggesting she might be put down if someone failed to take her in.
Oulson described the dog — shelter staffers have since named her Kelly — as “sweet,” noting that she still “wants to be around people.”
Due to the condition of Kelly’s skin, vets cannot tell its age or even breed. She will be checked for a microchip to see if an owner can be found.
Oulsen assured reporters that if no owner is located, Kelly would be adopted out as soon as she’s healthy enough to find a forever home.