Climbing Mount Everest is a difficult journey for anyone. It's even more difficult for a dog.
Rupee is the first dog to climb Mount Everest, traveling 17,000 feet above sea level. The mutt's hike up the mountain is even more phenomenal when you realize just how far he's come to reach base camp.
Rupee's owner, Joanne Lefson from Cape Town, rescued the canine from a dump in Northern India when he was a puppy. He was dying of starvation and dehydration when she found him.
"When I saw him on that dumpsite, he couldn't have had more than an hour to live," she told The Daily Mail. "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."
Once she had nursed the dog back to health, the adventurer decided to embark on her journey to Nepal to climb Everest with her new friend. The pair, accompanied by guides, porters and a filmmaker shooting the expedition, traveled for ten days to reach the base camp.
Despite this unprecedented achievement, Rupee's favorite part of the journey was playing in the snow - something he had never done while living in India. "He played in it at every opportunity, chased it and even tried to chew it at times," his owner recalled.
Lefson originally planned to climb Everest with her dog, Oscar, which she rescued eight years ago from a South African shelter just hours before he was to be euthanized. The two traveled all over the globe, highlighting the plight of animals in shelters worldwide. She even released a book about their adventures together! Unfortunately, Oscar died in January when he was hit by a truck in San Jose, California.
"Oscar will never be replaced, and it's been difficult trying to pick up the pieces," she said, adding, "But the one thing that keeps me going is honoring his legacy and working toward the day when every homeless dog will have a forever home."
"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."