Amid international uproar over Sochi’s plans to cull an untold numbers of stray dogs ahead of the Winter Olympics, it turns out Russian President Vladimir Putin brought one of his own dogs down to Sochi.
There is no indication that the dog’s presence was in response to the controversy. Rather, it was there for a reunion with the Japanese prime minister, who gave Putin the pet as a gift in 2012.
Yume, a two year-old Akita, was a gift from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as a sign of thanks for Russia’s assistance after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in 2011. Her name means “Dream” in Japanese.
Putin and Abe met today at the presidential residence outside Sochi on the margins of the Winter Olympics.
Abe petted Yume and said “good dog” in Russian, according to RIA Novosti.
“Yes, but she can bite sometimes,” Putin reportedly replied.
Putin is known as a dog lover and also has a Labrador named Komi and a Bulgarian shepherd named Buffy, a gift from the Bulgarians in 2010.
The Humane Society referenced Putin’s love for animals its letter to the president last week urging him to end the stray cull.
A few dog shelters have popped up in the remote hills around Sochi after the cull became public as an effort to save the animals.