Backes returns from Sochi with stray dogs

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- A star St. Louis Blues player who was part of Team USA in the Olympics brought back much more from Sochi than just memories of playing on Olympic ice.

Blues captain David Backes and his wife rescued two of the thousands of stray dogs that were all around Sochi.

We were there as the charter plane with the Backes`, the dogs and others landed at Lambert.

Backes says the two dogs he rescued and other animals kept on showing up at the resort where the players` families were staying.

As the days went by, Sochi Junior and Sochi Jake as Backes calls them, just wouldn`t leave.

So the Backes` went through all the red tape to get them out of Russia.

"By the end of it those two were living in hotel rooms where they shouldn`t have been getting baths in bath tubs where they shouldn`t have been," explained Backes.

The Backes` are animal lovers. In fact, they run a foundation called Athletes for Animals.

Backes says all the stray animals in Sochi and the amount that were reportedly killed or euthanized touched him.

"When they`re timid and you can kind of tell they`ve been mistreated or you see one with mange or that`s really skinny or fighting over some scraps of food that really tears your heart out because we feel that every dog should have a great home that`s well fed," explained Backes.

The dogs stayed with the Backes` on the 13 hour plane ride home.

They even tweeted out a picture of them smiling with the dogs while on the flight.

"It`s almost like they knew they were going to somewhere where they wouldn`t have to worry about food or fighting over food or worried about who was coming after them next," said Backes about the dogs.

After a quick potty break when they landed, the dogs were taken away by the Five Acres Animal Shelter from St. Charles.

They will stay there for 30 days to make sure they are healthy before becoming available for adoption.

"We`re going to be caring for them in that time, socializing them, teaching them English, you know fun things like that," said Brittany Broombaugh with Five Acres.

Backes added, 'The story being told of how these dogs are just like yours and mine at home and how you know we should treat our animals with respect and be responsible pet owners is a story that a lot of people wanted to tell and I think we`re telling it now."


    • Jake Hossin

      Right, because that makes sense. We should all go out and adopt strays because we point out that there are plenty of stray dogs in the US that he could have adopted instead of rescuing dogs from freakin Russia.

      • Paula Marino

        Backes actually has adopted and rescued several dogs from the US already as well as found dogs homes with the organization he is a part of. He does so much to help the shelters of St. Louis. The dogs in Russia were at risk of being abused and poisoned on the street, and severely mistreated. I think its awesome he could save at least two. Just because the dogs are in Russia doesn’t make them any less important. David and his wife are truly leading by example and may influence the Russian population who watched the Olympics to take better care of their dogs; and perhaps mandate spaying/neutering, animal cruelty laws so that the strays won’t be an issue.

      • EM

        “Right, because that makes sense. We should all go out and adopt strays because we point out that there are plenty of stray dogs in the US that he could have adopted instead of rescuing dogs from freakin Russia.”

        Well, yes, you should go out and adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue organization if you’re able and willing to provide a good home. Why criticize others for not doing something you’re unwilling to do?

    • Lila

      They ARE keeping them. They had to go to the shelter for 30 days of quarantine. Most of the time when you travel to another country with a pet it will be quarantined for a period of time

  • Nancy Hayes

    David and Kelly help with many rescues here in St. Louis. David even uses his private plane to rescue dogs from high kill shelters and brings them to no-kills. He and his wife started a foundation to help shelter animals and work with 5 Acres regularly. They also donate a lot of money to the cause. I hope what they have done brings awareness to homeless dogs everywhere. They have three rescue dogs of their own.

    • danielle scremin

      Thank you for answering that..I have no patience with clueless and negative people who watch something like this and find something so mean to say its dumbfounding :(

  • Krissana

    Many cities only allow so many domesticated animals in a residence which is normally around 3-4! Why is there always somebody out there that has to be negative when someone is doing a great thing? Two dogs were saved whether from this country or another that’s two less dogs on the street

  • Rick

    Another idea is to raffle or have an auction for those dogs here to raise money for stray rescue. I am sure there are a lot of idiots who think they would be special to own a personal Olympic Backes Russian Dog! Now if that was the case it would be worth it bringing those mutts home!

  • Mark

    Some people adopt children or help with fostering, some people adopt cats or help with fostering, some people adopt dogs or help with fostering and some people are so bitter that they have to put down the good work of others to make themselves feel a little bit better. How about this for an idea – get off your mom’s couch and go out in the world and do some good.

    To all those that help others (human and animals) Thank You

  • Animal Advocate

    David and Kelly – thank you. For being ambassadors for animals all over and leading by example. You make our world a better place.

  • Animal Advocate

    I realize that I take a bit of a defensive stance when I hear that instead of helping animals we should be helping people. Well most of us can do both – they are not mutually exclusive. And I truly hope that those posting these comments are doing some type of volunteering – because ALL organizations (animals and people) need donations and/or volunteers :).

    A great way to find one if you don’t know of one is .

    Help a person and/or an animal today…….

  • Owner of 4 adopted dogs

    As if there are already not enough dogs in shelters in St. Louis that need to be adopted, we should glorify someone for bringing dogs here from other countries? That’s great that everyone wants to help these poor dogs in Russia. How about the ones that roam the streets in St. Louis every day and the shelters here that are already so full that dogs are euthanized on a daily basis. How about cleaning up our own back yard before helping other countries.

    • Kate

      It is the ‘us vs. them’ type of thinking that we need to get over. These people have done something good. Let it be. Go out there and do your bit if you don’t like this. I foster kittens for our local shelter and do fundraising as well. I have always had rescued pets. An animal in misery is an animal in misery – I don’t care where it came from.

  • Pam

    I think the negative comments here are disgusting. So what if the dogs are from Russia. It doesn’t matter where they are from they deserve to live. Anyone who watched the USA Mens Hockey Games in the Olympics knows David and his wife rescue and save many animals in St Louis and other places. I take my hat off to David and his wife for having a heart of gold and saving these 2 dogs.

  • Patti

    I would have thought they were bringing them home to keep them, not to store them in a shelter, that I’m sure is already over crowed!

  • Sara

    Why didn’t they adopt dogs in the U.S. Thousands and thousands get put to sleep every day. I get that they were directly exposed, but hey, we have enough dogs here.

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