This is Oscar, the globetrotting dog rescued from a shelter in South Africa by Joanne Lefson, a former professional golfer. From 2009 until last year, this little pooch and his owner travelled around the world with the goal of raising awareness about the great problem the millions of homeless dogs represent to the world - 500 million, according to Joanne.
"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). He has survived the crocodiles in the Zambezi River, explored the borders of Pakistan on a rare double-humped camel, kissed the Sphinx at sunrise, sailed above Rio in a hang glider, paraglide off Lion’s Head, zip-lined over the rain forests of Costa Rica and even made a wish in Rome’s Trevi Fountain. He has been arrested by the Italian Police, sneaked across the Malaysian border, and escaped the deadly anacondas in the Amazonian Jungle. The territorial jet setter has lifted a leg at many of the world’s most famous landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower (Paris), the Parthenon (Athens), the Coliseum (Rome) and Christ the Redeemer (Rio). Thanks to an Elvis impersonator, Oscar and I even got married to each other in Las Vegas!" says Joanne.
Sadly, earlier this year Oscar was run over by a lorry during his last trip to San José in California.
MSN talked with Joanne Lefson, who said she was feeling a great emptiness due to the loss of her travel mate. An interesting aspect of her story that should not be overlooked is that Oscar and Joanne met each other one day before he was going to be put to sleep.
How did you meet Oscar?
I adopted Oscar from an animal shelter in Cape Town in 2005. In 2009, Oscar became the first and only dog to ever travel around the world. I am not sure why I chose Oscar - he was cute, very cute yes, but there were MANY dogs at the shelter that would have also made wonderful amazing friends to me - but I could only take one home and it was Oscar. He was in the cage #B5 and had one more day left before he was going to be put to sleep. That is because there are too many wonderful dogs at shelters and not enough good homes. That is why Oscar and I travelled so far - to tell people that if you want a great wonderful animal, please, please, do not buy a dog, or breed a dog, go to your local shelter and adopt a dog as great as Oscar.
How did Oscar become a globetrotter?
In 2009, Oscar travelled around more than 36 countries over five continents. We travel across South Africa in vehicle in 2010 telling Oscar's story and showing a video of his World Tour. In 2011, we flew on a hot air balloon across South Africa, and in 2011 and 2012, Oscar and I travelled throughout America, Europe and India to spread the word about how wonderful it is to adopt a dog from an animal shelter.
Have you ever made any work with these amazing pictures?
We wrote a bestselling book 'Ahound the World ' in 2010. The pictures show where Oscar has been and why Oscar is such a good model for homeless dogs and shelter dogs. It was fun taking the photos of Oscar all over the world at those famous landmarks.
What do dogs mean to you?
There are almost 500 million homeless dogs in the world. They are great dogs and like Oscar do not receive love - but that also would make them wonderful pets if only given the chance. That is very sad. We hope that Oscar's story inspires everyone who sees him and reads about his remarkable travels to adopt a dog from a shelter and give a homeless dog a home. They make the best companions and the best of friends. Why buy a dog? Why support a breeder who makes dogs for money? This is crazy. The world does NOT need more dogs - we need more homes for the ones that are already here.
Want to learn more about Oscar and his mission, then CLICK HERE.