An abandoned mutt that was found starving in a garbage dump in India has become the first dog to climb to Everest’s Base Camp with his globe-trotting owner. Former professional golfer Joanne Lefson rescued him as a puppy earlier this year when she found him in the mountain town of Leh. Only 8 months old, he was dehydrated, malnourished, and too weak to even walk. Joanne named him Rupee, took him home with her to South Africa, and nursed him back to health on a homemade diet of eggs and rice.
Since then, Joanne and Rupee have been inseparable, traveling through Nepal and India together until they were finally ready to tackle Everest. Because he was born at a high altitude, Joanne’s veterinarian assured her that Rupee wouldn’t have any problems with the journey. In fact, Joanne says that Rupee’s excitement and determination actually surprised her, as he enthusiastically took the lead each day of the ten-day trek.
Rupee is believed to be the first dog to make the journey to the Mount Everest Base Camp, 17,000 feet above sea level. Another big first on the trip? Rupee got to play in the snow, something he’d never seen before!
This isn’t the first time Joanne has taken a furry friend along on her travels. From 2006 to early 2013, she took her previous rescue dog, Oscar, around the world to raise awareness about the plight of dogs in animals shelters. In fact, she originally planned to take Oscar along on her Everest trip, but he was hit and killed by a car back in January. Now, it seems Rupee is following in Oscar’s pawprints and continuing his legacy.