Winter Olympics skier Gus Kenworthy is known for his love of dogs. He made headlines in 2014 when he set about rescuing a family of stray dogs in Sochi, Russia. This followed his participation in the Winter Olympics there.
His appearance at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea introduced him to the dog meat trade in the country. He has been vocal in his opposition to the mistreatment of dogs, and of them being bred for their meat.
He left South Korea with a new companion, Beemo – a dog he adopted in the country. However, due to a birth defect, Beemo passed away in May.
Gus Kenworthy introduces Birdie to the world
Today, Kenworthy posted a photo to Instagram of a new dog he has taken into his home. Again, she has been rescued from South Korea. In a lengthy message, he explained how the adoption came about. He begins by reflecting on a visit he and boyfriend Matt Wilkas made to a dog meat farm.
‘The day Matt and I visited the horrifying dog meat farm in South Korea we witnessed a mother dog giving birth to a litter of pups. The people at @hsiglobal [Humane Society International] told us that had they not been there filming my visit nobody would’ve seen the pups immediately and they likely would’ve died in the brutal cold.
‘Luckily though I saw them and they were rushed inside and saved. A few weeks later when all 90 of the dogs on that farm (including @beemopup) were flown to North America that mother and her newborn litter were the only ones that stayed behind because the pups were too young to travel.
‘After Beemo passed away I was feeling completely empty and I reached back out to the Humane Society International to find out what happened to that litter. I found out that they were still in Korea and I began getting photo and video updates on them as I waited for another farm closure and an opportunity for them to be brought to the States.
‘That finally happened and four days ago I picked this little girl up in DC. She’s a 5-month-old Jindo/ Lab mix and we named her Birdie (because birds were one of Beemo’s favorite things in the world).
‘We’re excited to be dog dads again’
‘Nothing in the world could ever replace Beemo,’ says Kenworthy, ‘Or the love that we felt and still feel for her but Birdie has already stolen a new place in our hearts and we’re excited to be dog dads again.
‘A HUGE thank you goes out to @hsiglobal for bringing our new baby home and for all they do for animals in need around the world (follow them and support their cause).
‘Also an immense amount of gratitude goes to @awlaarlington [AWLA shelters homeless animals] for taking care of Birdie in DC until I could fly there to pick her up!’
Dogs are friends, not food
Kenworthy began a separate Instagram feed for Beemo when she was alive. He will now continue it with ‘pupdates’ on Birdie.
‘I was nervous that would seem disrespectful to Beemo’s memory,’ he says, ‘but I actually LOVE the idea that both of my beautiful little girls will share the page.
‘Also, a huge part of the reason I started Beemo’s page in the first place was to continue promoting rescue animals and raise awareness for the dog meat trade and since the page already has a following I thought it’d be more impactful to keep it going rather than start all over again. @beemopup #DogsAreFriendsNotFood #AdoptDontShop’
He has now renamed his dog’s Instagram page @b_pups.