MOSCOW – Amanda Bird, the U.S. bobsled and skeleton spokeswoman, is seeking to adopt a puppy from a shelter established by aluminum billionaire Oleg Deripaska in the Russian city hosting the Winter Olympics.
Bird, who was a competitive bobsled and skeleton athlete for more than 10 years, said she plans to adopt a dog and name it after the Black Sea resort town holding the games.
“We would like to name her Sochi,” Bird, who joined the U.S. body in 2007, said by email on Tuesday.
The shelter is preparing all the documents needed for adoption, aiming to complete the paperwork by the end of the games, a spokeswoman for the facility, who asked not to be identified because of policy, said by phone Monday.
Volnoe Delo, a charity foundation set up by Deripaska, chief executive officer and a shareholder of United Co. Rusal, opened Sochi’s first dog shelter, called PovoDog, a play on the Russian word for “leash,” to help care for thousands of homeless animals in the streets.
Volnoe Delo plans to spend as much as $56,000 a year to maintain the facility, after investing $15,000 to open it, according to the shelter’s spokeswoman. It’s now home to more than 100 dogs, and volunteers are bringing in more from around the city. The workers hope the animals will be adopted, she said.
Visitors to the Olympic’s mountain cluster, the hub to alpine skiing events, walk past stray dogs lying on the sidewalk and near unfinished construction sites.
“I’ve seen a few stray dogs and they look healthy and happy and looking for a handout maybe, but not really posing a threat to anyone,” David Backes, a St. Louis Blues center, told reporters on Monday. “Hopefully, they can live and let live.”