American skier Gus Kenworthy made national headlines earlier this year when he returned from the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, with a silver medal and several stray dogs.
Kenworthy had heard about Sochi’s stray dog problem, but he didn’t see any of the dogs for himself until his friend, photographer and filmmaker Robin Macdonald, sent him a photo of a mother dog and her four puppies outside an Olympic security tent.
“He texted me a photo, and I got out of bed, got on the gondola, got on a bus, and ran to meet them,” Kenworthy recently told Woofipedia.
A self-proclaimed dog lover, the 22-year-old Colorado resident said he’d been considering adopting a dog ever since his family dog had passed away. However, he traveled so often he wasn’t sure it was the right decision.
“It was something I constantly went back and forth on, and then to be in Russia during the Olympics, with everything else that was going on in my life, it felt sort of serendipitous to stumble upon a family of stray dogs,” he said. “I pretty much fell completely in love with them in about five seconds.”
Kenworthy was determined to adopt the entire family, but it took several weeks — and a lot of paperwork — for him and Macdonald to arrange to have the dogs flown to the United States.
Unfortunately, during that time, one of the puppies died. Another one of them died upon the dogs’ arrival in New York City.
Today, Jake and Mishka live with Kenworthy in Telluride, Colorado, while Mama, or “Mamushka,” as she’s often called, lives with Kenworthy’s mother and stepfather.
“She is very much in love with my mom and stepdad, and they are completely smitten with her as well,” Kenworthy said. “All the kids are out of the house so she is their little princess, she sleeps on the bed with them, goes to work with them, lays by their feet while they cook dinner.”
As for the dogs at his house, Kenworthy says Jake and Mishka are best friends.
“They're always playing, and when they tire themselves out they cuddle up and sleep next to each other. The boys both love swimming, especially in the ocean in Vancouver (where Macdonald lives). Aside from playing in the snow, that's probably their favorite thing to do.”
However, he says raising two puppies hasn’t been without challenges.
“It took Jake and Mishka a while to figure out the potty-training thing. Looking back, it probably would have been a good idea to crate train them, but I was blindly in love with them so I wanted them to sleep on the bed with me and didn't care how much extra laundry it caused.”
Follow Kenworthy on Instagram for more updates on his Olympic pups.
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