Olympian Gus Kenworthy and actor boyfriend Matt Wilkas have rescued another dog, Birdie, just two months after the sudden death of their last rescue dog, Beemo.
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 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 Beemo) 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). Nothing in the world could ever replace Beemo 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 for taking care of Birdie in DC until I could fly there to pick her up! I am going to continue Beemo's Instagram with pupdates on Birdie. I was nervous that would seem disrespectful to Beemo's memory 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 animal rescue 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. Follow along! @b_pups #DogsAreFriendsNotFood #AdoptDontShop ❤️
The couple had rescued Beemo from a dog meat farm in South Korea while Kenworthy was competing in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang.
The athlete helped Humane Society International shut down the farm, bringing 90 of the dogs, including Beemo, to North America. Birdie, however, was part of a newborn litter of puppies deemed 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,” the 26-year-old freeskier writes on Instagram. “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.”
Kenworthy finally picked up the 5-month-old Jindo/Lab mix earlier this week in Washington, D.C. He and Wilkas named her Birdie in honor of Beemo’s love of birds.
“Nothing in the world could ever replace Beemo or the love that we felt and still feel for her,” Kenworthy continues, “but Birdie has already stolen a new place in our hearts and we’re excited to be dog dads again.”
He promises to update Beemo’s old Instagram with “pupdates” on Birdie to continue promoting animal rescue and raising awareness about the dog meat trade.
Kenworthy came out publicly as gay in 2015 after winning the silver at the 2014 Sochi Games. While he didn’t reach the podium in PyeongChang, his televised smooch with Wilkas is believed to be the first same-sex kiss aired during the Olympics.