Rupee becomes first dog to climb Everest

Former professional golfer Joanne Lefson said she adopted the 11-month-old dog, called Rupee, in the mountainous Indian terrain of Leh last September and decided to take him on a trip to Everest base camp at 5,364 metres (17,598 feet).

Slumdog mountaineer: Rupee, the pup, who was dying of starvation and dehydration when he was found, scaled the world’s tallest mountain with owner Joanne Lefson, reaching the iconic Everest base camp. Pic/AFP

The pair began Expedition Mutt Everest 2013 in the Himalayan town of Lukla on October 14, intending to raise awareness about the plight of homeless dogs and promote pet adoption.

They accomplished their record-making feat 13 days later, describing it as ‘one giant leap for dog-kind’ on Facebook.

“I am so proud of Rupee. I thought I might have to carry him on some days, but instead, he took the lead and pulled me along,” Lefson said. The duo trekked across rickety bridges and wet mountain paths, dodging landslides along the way.

Despite missing part of his right ear and being close to death only a few weeks ago, Rupee had no trouble adjusting to the altitude and relished his first taste of snow.

“He loved the snow, he ate it, he played in it, if I had let him, he would have slept in it too,” Lefson said. Photographs show him enjoying the sights and sounds of Nepal, cuddling with bearded Hindu monks in Kathmandu and playing with children.

“I hope his accomplishment will compel people to be kinder to animals, especially strays. We need to realise that every life matters,” Lefson said.

The pair are now in Lefson’s native South Africa, where Rupee is catching up on his sleep. 

10 days
The number of days it took Rupee and Joanne Lefson to Everest base camp at 5,364 metres (17,598 feet)

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