How Many Hoops Must One Jump Through to Adopt a Sochi Dog?

Amanda Bird won't be deterred by the bureaucracy -- she wants to save a bunch of stray dogs in Sochi.

Chris Hall  |  Feb 14th 2014

Like Olympian skiier Gus Kenworthy, Amanda Bird, the spokeswoman for the American bobsled and skeleton team, wants to rescue a stray from Sochi.

However, she’s running into some problems already in trying to bring the pooch home. “It’s just getting the pup home that’s complicated,” Bird told Bloomberg News via text message. “I’m on a chartered flight that will not allow the dog. But if I get the dog to Munich, I should be fine taking the pup to my United flight to the U.S.”

Bird’s situation underscores the dilemma that’s going to crop up for a lot of the dog lovers visiting the Winter Olympics in Sochi this year. Hearing about Sochi’s extermination campaign against the city’s stray dogs, many are going to want to take one or more dogs home.

But there are a lot of bureaucratic hoops that need to be traversed to take a dog from one continent to another. They exist at every level; in Russia, in the airline regulations, and in the destination countries. The Humane Society International has even released a guide advising people on what they need to do to successfully adopt from Sochi.

As intimidating as the process can be, there are still people like Bird who won’t be deterred. Bird is a huge dog lover; for her, the problem is choosing a single dog that she can take home. “I need a billionaire who has a plane who’s willing to let me take 100 dogs on the flight with me back to the U.S.,” she told USA Today. “When the lottery gets above $50 million, we play. I always tell my husband if I ever hit the lottery, we’re going to buy acres of land and we’re going to save horses, save dogs. I don’t care where they’re from. I’m just one of those ridiculous people.”

Bird says that she plans to visit PovoDog, the shelter quickly established by Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, sometime next week. The shelter seems dedicated to easing the inevitable problems: “I got in touch with them, and they’ve been wonderful to work with,” Bird said. “They are just very excited to have someone inquire about it, and they’re willing to work with me through the process.”

Even though they have yet to meet, she has a name already picked out for her new dog: “Sochi.”

One thing that separates Bird from Kenworthy — and probably most of the other Olympic visitors interested in adopting dogs — is that she doesn’t want a puppy. “I’d like to take an older dog because those are the dogs that usually aren’t adopted. Everyone up here will adopt a puppy.” That’s great to hear: as Dogster readers know, a lot of dogs languish in shelters for years because everyone comes to find a puppy. That’s not just a Sochi thing; it’s a universal thing, and it’s why we have a special love for Muttville, which specializes in senior dog rescues.

Good luck to Amanda Bird and all the other Olympic visitors going through the laborious process of international adoption. For those of you who couldn’t make it to Sochi, remember that there are lots of dogs waiting for a new home right here in the US.

Via USA Today and Bloomberg News

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