A homeless dog rescued from a dump has become a mountaineer after trekking to 17,000ft above sea level to Mount Everest base camp.
Rupee is believed to be the first dog officially recorded at the base camp after he joined owner Joanne Lefson on the trip. The dog undertook the grueling challenge after being rescued by Joanne from a dump site in Ladakh, Northern India. At just eight months old the pup was dying of dehydration and starvation when he was adopted by Joanne.
She said: ‘When I saw him on that dumpsite he couldn’t have had more than an hour to live. He couldn’t even walk ten metres without collapsing. ‘The little fellow had heart, I could tell that but he was very weak from having no food and water for days, perhaps weeks.’
Joanne previously hit the headlines after travelling the world with Oscar – the famous globetrotting dog. The pair visited hundreds of famous landmarks raising awareness for needy pups until Oscar sadly passed away in January this year when he was hit by a truck.
Joanne adopted Rupee and fed him on a high protein diet of boiled eggs and rice. He made a remarkable recovery and it was then Joanne decided to undertake the expedition to Everest, which was originally planned with Oscar. Having originally been born in the Himalayas, Rupee’s vet confirmed that he would not suffer from altitude sickness despite being more than 17,000ft above sea level.
The pair were joined by Dev Argarwel, a film maker from Mumbai, who agreed to shoot the expedition. The trio flew to Delhi and visited the Taj Mahal before before arriving in Kathmandu and setting off to base camp the following day. Along with porters and guides Rupee and Joanne managed to complete the gruelling climb to base camp in just ten days.
Joanne said: ‘My greatest concern was wondering if Rupee could actually make it. I prepared for the worst and arranged an extra porter just in case Rupee needed to hitch a ride.
‘A memorable part of the trip was seeing Rupee touch and walk on snow for the first time, he loved it. ‘He played in it at every opportunity, chased it and even tried to chew it at times.
‘There were many tourists climbing the mountain at the time and they couldn’t believe that a dog was heading to Base Camp. They were jealous they hadn’t brought their dogs with them for walkies too.’
Her first dog Oscar became an internet sensation after he travelled the world and stopped at landmarks including the Eiffel Tower and the Great Wall of China and also flew in an airplane to promote efforts to find homes for stray dogs.
She said: ‘Oscar will never be replaced and it’s been difficult trying to pick up the pieces but the one thing that keeps me going is honouring his legacy and working towards the day when every homeless dog will have a forever home. ‘Oscar gave a face to the masses and made us realize that even when just one dog is adopted, we may not change the world but it will change the world for that animal forever and, it might just make it to the top of the world too.
‘Rupee is simply an extension of Oscar’s legacy and a fine example of what can be achieved when a homeless dog is given a second chance.’