American Olympian Gus Kenworthy famously saved a pooch from a dog meat farm during the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February, adopting Beemo with his partner, actor Matthew Wilkas.
Now, the couple has announced the sudden death of of their beloved pet.
In a long Instagram post Saturday, Kenworthy, a freestyle skier who won the silver medal in 2014 at Sochi, and who grabbed headlines for criticizing Mike Pence's attitude toward the gay community, wrote that he and Wilkas are "beside ourselves trying to cope with her loss."
Beemo had exhibited disinterest in her food before an emergency vet visit revealed her heart was too large for her body, a previously undetected birth defect that meant she had no chance of survival. Still, they attempted to save her, but she died during that same visit.
"Beemo was truly the best thing that ever happened to me and I feel so fortunate for our borrowed time together," Kenworthy wrote. "I've never loved anything or anyone in the way that I loved that dog and she is and will always be deeply missed."
Read his heartbroken post:
Two days ago my beautiful baby Beemo passed away. It was completely unexpected and Matt and I are beside ourselves trying to cope with her loss. For a week or so we'd been worrying because she was showing less and less interest in her food. There were several trips to the vet and on our final visit this past Thursday I asked them do a full body scan in case there was an underlying issue they had missed. Beemo went into a panic attack during the x-rays and her breathing became rapid and shallow. The scan revealed that her lungs were deteriorated and that her heart was too big for her body - a birth defect we had no way of knowing about. Unable to treat her there, I rushed her to the emergency vet where a breathing tube was put down her throat. They hoped that with a respirator breathing for her they could get her vitals back to a normal level so she could be treated but they were never able to do so. The past two days have been a blur. It all happened so fast that it's still hard to believe it. The ER doc told us that even if we'd somehow spotted the issue earlier it wouldn't have made a difference in the end. He said that she'd been living on "borrowed time" from the get go. Beemo was truly the best thing that ever happened to me and I feel so fortunate for our borrowed time together. I've never loved anything or anyone in the way that I loved that dog and she is and will always be deeply missed. She was so smart and playful. She brought so much happiness to so many people every single day. I'll always remember being out on a walk with her and every other second she would get stopped by someone wanting to pet her, kneel down and kiss her, hold her in their arms or take a photo and on many occasions a crowd of people would have formed around her. That was her power: she made people smile. She was the kindest, most gentle soul I've ever known. She loved people. She loved birds and the snow. She loved me and Matt. But most of all she loved meeting other dogs. If any of you have pets up in doggy heaven please tell them to go find Bee because she could really use a good play date right now. RIP sweet creature - your daddy loves you more than you could ever even know!
Matt was equally expressive about their loss:
This is an incredibly sad post, I’m sorry... On Thursday @beemopup passed away. She had gotten sick about a week prior, stopped eating... the vets thought it was worms or possibly fussiness. When she wasn’t getting better we brought her to the vet again and they took x-rays that revealed her heart was too big. She was born with a heart defect we weren’t aware of. It was effecting all of her functions. We rushed her to the emergency room in an attempt to save her but there was nothing that could be done. The ER vets brought us down to be with her as she died. I can’t say I’ve ever experienced anything so heartbreaking. We pet her, we kissed her, we said our goodbyes and watched her take her last breaths. Many people who have never owned a dog might think to themselves “it’s just a dog”. But she wasn’t just a dog. She was our friend, she was our family, she was there in the morning when we woke up, she was so happy to see us every time we came home, and she loved us unconditionally. From the moment we met her on a dog meat farm in South Korea we knew how special she was. She made a hundred people smile every day. Every walk we took her on was interrupted again and again by people wanting to meet her, pet her, kiss her. (If you are reading this and you met her, then you know what i mean). She loved people. She loved playing with other dogs. She loved birds. Even on her last walks, when she was at her most tired and weakest, she really just wanted to be a puppy and play. She changed peoples lives. She changed my life. She changed Gus’s life. And she brought attention to an important cause (PLEASE RESCUE A DOG! PLEASE DONATE TO @hsiglobal THEY ARE, IN ADDITION TO DOING SO MANY OTHER THINGS, SHUTTING DOWN THE MEAT FARM INDUSTRY IN SOUTH KOREA!) I feel so grateful and lucky to have known her even for a brief moment. And I don’t regret giving her a happy love-filled life only to be so heartbroken now. It was worth it. Goodbye Bee. 🐝