Lindsey Jacobellis, a snowboarder from Stratton, Vt., won a silver medal in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games, has won three gold medals at the World Championships, and is a seven-time snowboard cross champion at the X Games, making her the winningest female in winter X Games history. When she is not hitting the snow, she is hanging out with her dog Gidget.
Q: Why did you decide to get a dog?
A: After the 2006 Olympics, my boyfriend at the time talked about getting a dog. He wanted a brother and sister from the same litter, so his parents could keep one, and we would live with the other one. Gidget was a gift.
Q: Where did Gidget come from?
A: The boyfriend knew the breeder, and we picked Gidget and her brother up at the Denver airport.
Q: How did you choose her name?
A: When I heard that she was coming, I thought about the name Gidget, after the first girl surfer. My brother Ben, who introduced me to snowboarding, also called me Gidget, but I wanted to wait to see if her personality matched the name. When Gidget arrived she was so little, about the size of a soda can, and after a week, I knew the name fit her.
Q: Does Gidget travel with you?
A: Yes, usually when I’m going back and forth between [my home in] California and [training in] Oregon. When I went to New Zealand, I left her with my parents.
Q: Does your dog help you train?
A: Not actively, but she’s such a calming energy, and wants to sit on my lap and snuggle. At the end of an exhausting day, it’s nice to chill out and relax with my Gidget.
Q: Does she like the snow?
A: She doesn’t stay out in the snow for long because she gets too cold. Other than a T-shirt, she doesn’t like wearing doggie sweaters, which would keep her warm.
Q: What is Gidget’s favorite activity?
A: She likes playing fetch outside, but she’s not a fan of doing it indoors. Gidget loves running with me and going on hikes, and when she was younger she could run 10 miles. Now she does about six miles. When I’m in California, I’ll take her paddleboarding with me.
Q: Does she help relieve the stress from competition?
A: Gidget is the best of both worlds. She has the heart and spirit of a big dog, and the convenient size of a small dog. I’m so relieved that kids can handle her, and that she’s not aggressive.
Q: Did you train your dog?
A: Yes. I did a lot of research about dogs when she arrived because I didn’t want her to be a fussy little dog. I handled her a lot, but tried not to baby her. It was hard to potty train both puppies at the same time, but I did it. February in Colorado [where she lived at the time] is too cold to go out, so I did a lot of indoor paper training. Now she barks at the door when she wants to go out.