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Ruff Adventure Dogs find homes at GoPro Mountain Games in Vail

Jocelyn Kukulka and Britton Ratliff are sharing their adventures with Yosemite on Instagram at @jbfindingaway.
Special to the Daily |

VAIL — Jocelyn Kukulka and Britton Ratliff were cruising through Colorado in their Airstream trailer when they decided to pull off Interstate 70 and check out the GoPro Mountain Games this June.

The engaged couple enjoyed the action around town, but they left Vail a family after adopting Yosemite, a one-year-old blue heeler.

Yosemite is one of five adventure-seeking, outdoor-loving Ruff Adventure Dogs that found loving homes at the GoPro Mountain Games, thanks to Ruffwear and Best Friends Animal Society.



As Kukulka and Ratliff were strolling through Gear Town on Meadow Drive, they saw Yosemite being walked with an “Adopt Me” sign.

“We’ve been wanting one, and it seemed like the perfect time,” Kukulka said. “We stopped to say hi, and he was pretty cute.”



The couple filled out a form, took Yosemite for a walk and then filled out some paperwork.

“That was that,” Kukulka said.” We really enjoyed meeting the people from the society where he was being cared for, and the people at Ruffwear were great, too. We had a great experience and we’re really happy with Yosemite. He fits right in.”

Locals Ashley Cawthorn-Pearce and Matt Decker had been out looking at adoption shelters in search of the perfect four-legged companion for them.



When Cawthorn-Pearce heard about the Ruff Adventure Dogs coming to the Mountain Games, she posted it to Decker’s Facebook page, with a message along the lines of “Hey, we’re getting a dog.”

‘ADORING LIFE’

On the final day of the Mountain Games, they heard there was a lab mix up for adoption, exactly what they were looking for.

“Rooney was pretty attached to us,” Cawthorn-Pearce said. “We hung out with really all of the dogs, but we were super drawn to Rooney.”

At only eight months old, Rooney has had a rough go at life, being adopted once already and then brought back shortly after. Like all of the other Ruff Adventure Dogs, Rooney just wants to be loved and play outside, much like their owners.

“He’s had a rough life,” Cawthorn-Pearce said, “and now he has an adoring life — that’s the coolest thing.”

Yosemite is now traveling across the country in an Airstream, going on adventures in Montana and Wyoming, and Rooney is enjoying life in the Vail Valley.

“It’s like having a child,” Cawthorn-Pearce said, “but it’s great. Rooney and I go on hikes a lot, and he can come to work with me, so we hang out. We go everywhere together. It’s been interesting rescheduling my whole life.”

Cawthorn-Pearce said the whole process to adopt Rooney took two hours, and the adoption fees were paid for. A harness, leash and collar were provided, too.

“Ruffwear hooked it up,” she said.

As if you need another reason to look forward to the GoPro Mountain Games next year, Ruffwear and Best Friends Animal Society are hoping to bring more Ruff Adventure Dogs are hoping to Vail.

Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.


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