‘Rupee’ was close to death when he was found in an Indian rubbish dump. However, only a few weeks later he became the first dog to have ever been recorded at Everest Base Camp, 5,364 metres above sea level.
The puppy was just eight months old when he was found by Joanne Lefson, a former professional golfer from South Africa. He was living in a rubbish dump in the Himalayan village of Leh, and was in such bad shape that he could barely walk.
Ms Lefson nursed him back to health. With no dry dog food available in a remote Indian village, she ended up feeding Rupee boiled rice and eggs to get him back on his feet, and adopted him as her own dog.
Ms Lefson had previously travelled with a dog named Oscar, raising awareness for homeless dogs across the world. However, Oscar was unfortunately hit by a car in January and killed. Ms Lefson’s plan was to have the trip up Everest be the end of her and Oscar’s tour of the globe.
Now Rupee has taken up the mantle of canine explorer, and managed to reach Everest Base Camp. It took the pair under a fortnight to get to the camp, almost three and a half miles above sea level.
Ms Lefson and Rupee faced down rainstorms, mudslides and even angry yaks in their trek up Mount Everest. There was also plenty of snow, of course, however Rupee was more enthusiastic about that. It was his first time seeing snow, and he played with it constantly during the climb.
However, Ms Lefson had serious concerns about whether Rupee would be able to make the climb. She even hired a porter to make the climb with them just in case the dog could not manage the harsh conditions and steep slopes.
Rupee needed no such help, and with Ms Lefson reached Everest Base Camp on October 26th, and tied two ceremonial embroidered prayer flags for the homeless dogs of the world.
Ms Lefson said: “There were many, many tourists climbing the mountain and so many of them couldn’t believe that a dog was heading to Base Camp.” Apparently, passers-by seemed “almost jealous that they didn't have their best friend alongside”.
Written by: Hannah