Geno left the hotel on the corner of the busy Montreal street. It was snowing lightly, and the air was crisp. Geno tucked his face further into his scarf as he dodged a pack of teenagers going the other direction. He had just finished a rousing game of ping pong with James Neal. Geno had won 8 games to 6 and he wanted to celebrate by going for a walk in the snow. Maybe Geno would stop for some ice cream too. He wasn’t sure.

He was contemplating how Russian social values would have to adapt to coexist with the largely Western influenced populations that would be coming to Sochi during the Winter Olympics, when he heard a noise. Geno paused. It was coming from somewhere beside the noisy pub in front of him. Geno waited. He heard the noise again. *Yip* He walked closer towards the side of the pub. *Yip. Yes, there was definitely something there. *Yip* It was coming from a large cardboard box, that lay next to the restaurant’s dumpster. *Yip* Geno was right in front of the box now, he picked up the lid and tossed it aside. *Yipyipyipyip* the noise was more frantic now. He looked into the box and saw a puppy, its fur matted and covered in mud. Geno couldn’t believe it. How could someone have the evil and careless whim to cast out a puppy like a piece of trash.

He knew that his hockey team was on the road, in a hotel, and taking care of a puppy was not really a beneficial responsibility to have, but Geno knew he couldn’t just leave the puppy in the box. He picked the puppy up gently. The puppy was quiet now. Geno and the puppy stared at each other for a long moment. The puppy stretched up and licked Geno’s nose. Geno grinned and tucked the puppy under his jacket, hoping the layers would help in the cold.

“Your name is now Borscht.” he said. “I’ll get Sid to come look at you. I think he’s having an existential crisis and maybe you will make him smile.”

He turned and started to walk back to his hotel. Borscht wouldn’t last much longer in these cold temperatures outside. The ice cream could wait.


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