BATD ON Feb 19, 2014 AT 5:17 pm

by Valirie Morgan

Gus Kenworthy and his Sochi puppies.

Gus Kenworthy and his Sochi puppies.

Warning: this post contains puppies and hot Olympic athletes, and it may cause your heart to explode from a cuteness overload. But that’s completely okay, so keep reading!

Every athlete at the Winter Olympics dreams of returning home from Sochi with the gold, but some will be bringing back more than just a medal. Several Olympians will be making the return trip with furry companions by their side after adopting some of the city’s stray dogs!¬†The stray animal problem in Sochi made headlines before the 2014 Olympic Games even began, and numerous reports alleged that Russian authorities were euthanizing the strays in an attempt to curb the number of animals on the streets. Thanks to the efforts of some athletes, volunteers, and countless donors, many of the strays are finding homes with new owners or in animal shelters.

Gus Kenworthy

Gus Kenworthy

US skier Gus Kenworthy, who won the silver medal in men’s ski slopestyle last week, announced today that he is extending his stay in Sochi in order to finalize the legal adoption of four puppies from the streets of Sochi. The dogs had been making their home under a security tent in the mountains, and Kenworthy visited and fed them daily because he wasn’t allowed to bring them into the Athletes’ Village. The 22-year-old skier brought an incredible amount of attention to the Sochi stray issue after tweeting a picture of himself holding one of the pups he’s working to adopt. He received an overwhelming amount of support from people on Twitter, including Miley Cyrus!

Fellow American Lindsey Jacobellis is also taking a stray puppy as her Sochi souvenir. Jacobellis was favored to win her snowboard cross event last week, but took a tumble during the race and was unable to medal. Even though her Olympic experience wasn’t the best, Jacobellis happily announced that she’s heading home with her new dog, which she named Sochi. According to her agent, Jacobellis¬†has completed the adoption process, including a visit to a Russian veterinarian and the purchase of a pet passport, and she’ll be en route to the States with Sochi tomorrow.

Members of the US men’s hockey team are apparently trying to adopt puppies, as well. Goalie Ryan Miller tweeted that the team found a new mascot in a cute little dog near their house in the Village. While there isn’t an official tally or record of how many athletes are working to adopt Sochi’s strays, numerous Olympians have taken to social media to declare their desires for a Russian pup.

And Americans aren’t the only ones getting in on the furry frenzy — according to members of the US men’s hockey team, finding homes for the stray pups is becoming an international effort. David Backes, a forward for the US hockey team, said that the American, Slovenian and Canadian hockey teams are looking into the possibility of bringing strays home with them, as well.

For more information about adopting dogs from Russia or to make a donation to the cause, please visit the Humane Society International website. And don’t forget to catch up on all the action from Sochi by watching the BBC’s coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics here!



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