Rescue Dog Climbs Everest
By Juliana Weiss-Roessler
How did one dog go from starving in a dump site to trekking up Mount Everest in just three months?
It started when Rupee first spotted animal advocate Joanne Lefson in a Himalayan village in India. She was at the site to help the starving donkeys scavenging there, but little did she know that she was about to adopt a new family member.
Something about her energy must have clicked for little Rupee, because he immediately sprinted towards her.
“It was almost like he had a mission,” Lefson told Today.com.
And it certainly seems like he picked the right match. Lefson fed the skinny 7-month-old puppy boiled eggs, rice, and beans, and he rebounded so well that she brought him along for her 77- mile trip to Mount Everest’s South Base Camp.
Before making the trip, Lefson took many steps to ensure his safety. A veterinarian assured her that the altitude wouldn’t be an issue for Rupee since he grew up in the high Himalayas. She also invested in booties to protect his feet and hired an extra porter, just in case he needed to be carried.
But Rupee was a natural. He refused to wear the boots and had no need for the porter. He bounded up the mountain with enthusiasm, reveling in the snow and the company, and completed the trip from Lukla, Nepal, to Mount Everest’s South Base Camp with his group in 13 days.
To commemorate their accomplishment, Lefson left behind a pair of embroidered prayer flags in honor of all homeless dogs:
“May all the homeless dogs in the world find a loving home,
And may all know the gentle touch of a compassionate hand.
May all beings be free from suffering.
May all beings be happy.
Peace and kindness, forever.”
While Rupee didn’t reach the peak of Everest or break any records, his is a story of triumph and hope for rescue dogs everywhere — they still have so much more to give in the loving hands of the right pack leader.
“Every life counts,” Lefson said. “Even when just one dog is adopted, we may not change the world, but it will change the world for that animal forever.”