Raha Lewis
March 15, 2014 05:30 PM

They arrived in America with serious health problems – but the future is looking brighter for two dogs rescued from Russia during the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

On Feb. 23, Katherine Heigl and her mom, Nancy, teamed up with former Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky to welcome two needy canines to America.

The pooches – named Sochi and Adler, after the Olympic city and one of its neighborhoods – were taken in by Fedotowsky while she was covering the Winter Olympics for E! News, and the trio arranged for the pair to come to America for adoption.

But the pooches arrived here with life-threatening illnesses that could have ended their new life before it began.

On the flight from Russia, Sochi, in particular, was very ill.

“[He] hasn’t eaten in 15 hours and is throwing up,” Heigl said at the time. The actress, 35, and her mom, Nancy, rushed both dogs into quarantine so that they could be medically evaluated and, eventually, legally adopted.

Sochi was diagnosed with canine parvovirus and distemper – conditions that, if left untreated, can be fatal. But thanks to the Jason Heigl Foundation, a charity for needy animals the star founded in honor of her late brother, Sochi is being treated by vets and on the road to recovery.

“As soon as he stops having a runny nose, he will get his rabies shot,” Jennifer Brent, executive director of the foundation, tells PEOPLE about Sochi, who is staying with a foster family. “When he gets that, the clock starts on his 30-day quarantine, after which he will finally be released to his adopted home in Tennessee.”

His new owner will be Amanda Bird, marketing and communications director for the U.S. bobsled and skeleton team.

As for Adler, although she seemed spunkier when she arrived in America, the pooch also had a long list of illnesses to overcome.

“She had an upper respiratory infection, Bordetella, Mycoplasma, Coronavirus, Tritrichomonas and some unidentified fungus on her face,” says Brent. “But she’s going to the kennel on Saturday, her rabies quarantine ends on the 7th of April, and she will be ready for adoption. She’s a perky, happy little girl.”

So who will give Adler a home? Fedotowsky, 29, who continues to work with Heigl to help find Adler a good family, says she has received “hundreds of requests to adopt her.”

In the meantime, both puppies – who had to be separated to protect their health – are gaining strength by the day.

“Adler and Sochi have made huge progress,” says Brent. “It’s an amazing recovery.”

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