Oscar the Dog and the World Traveler

Back in 2009, Oscar- a Corgi, Alsatian, Cocker Spaniel, and Basset Hound mix- was sitting in an animal shelter in Cape Town, South Africa and facing a possible euthanization. That is until Joanne Lefson came in and saved him. She said, "It was love at first lick." The two became instant family, and soon embarked on a worldwide tour to raise awareness for the pain suffered inside of dog shelters, a place where more than 400 million homeless dogs live. The tour was called the "World Woof Tour."

World Woof Tour

Lefson and Oscar began the World Woof Tour in mid-2009; it was a tour in which the two traveled through 36 different countries. According to Oscar's official website, "Oscar became the only dog to ever go 'walkies' on the Great Wall of China, and the only mutt to sniff out the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu (Peru) and Angkor Wat (Cambodia)." Of course, those are only a few places that he visited during his 200,000 kilometer trudge.

However, it was his doggy travels up Mount Everest that were the most impressive. The trip- which would be the first dog-led expedition- would land them on the Everest base camp in the heart of the Himalayas. In a newspaper chronicle written days before the hike, Joanne Lefson said, "The Buddhist monks have prayer flags [on Everest] and the prayers are caught on the wind, so Oscar will send up his own prayer to find shelter for all the homeless dogs around the world."

Ensuing Celebrity and Eventual Fall

By 2010, Lefson was getting offers for book deals about her and Oscar's journey. This led to the 2010 publication of "Ahound the World: My Travels with Oscar." Newspapers and television shows were lining up for interviews and stories (Check out the video to the right). It seemed that Oscar was ascending the ranks of puppy stardom- Scooby Doo eat your heart out.

Unfortunately, Oscar's journey came to an end on January 11, 2013 when he was hit by a passing car in San Jose, California. It truly was a sad moment for a dog that did so much for pups around the world. In a eulogy letter written by Joanne Lefson, she says, "My dear Oscar, from a cement block in cage B5 at a Cape Town shelter to taking on the world, you were the impossible dream. You lived a life beyond imagination… How I live without you remains an uncharted mystery."

Even today, we still think about Oscar and the legacy he left behind, a legacy that has helped raise awareness for struggling dogs, a legacy filled with travel and adventure.

By: Tim Snyder
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