Globe-trotting pooch Oscar killedComment on this story
Cape Town - Oscar, the jaunty globetrotting mutt, is dead.
He had travelled the world, drinking from the Zambezi River, zip-lining over the forests of Costa Rica and even going for a walk along the Great Wall of China.
But last weekend, Oscar’s adventures came to an abrupt end when he was hit by a car in California.
Oscar’s owner Joanne Lefson, who wrote a book about him, said words couldn’t express her feelings.
“Oscar was my life, my world, my purpose, my very best friend and my true companion. Oscar’s tragic accident has left a deep void in my heart.”
Details of the accident were unavailable.
Around nine years ago, Oscar was a puppy on death row at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA in Grassy Park. But just a day before he was to be put down, Lefson came to his rescue.
Since then the dog’s life has been one big adventure. He’d paraglided from Lion’s Head, ridden camels in Pakistan and explored the Amazon.
Lefson said he greeted every trip with the same doggy enthusiasm. Whether it was taking a helicopter across the Grand Canyon or scaling the Eiffel Tower - he did it with his tail wagging and his tongue hanging out.
In 2009, the pooch set a canine record when he became the first dog to travel around the world during his World Woof Tour.
Oscar visited 36 countries, travelling 250 000km across five continents - all to raise money so dogs like him might be rescued from death row.
“(Oscar’s) rested heart beats through the countless dogs that have been given a second chance as a direct result of your fine example and inspiring life,” said Lefson. Oscar was in California as part of a US tour.
Lefson had funded the pooch’s latest adventure by selling her house, and he could be seen lifting his leg against New York fire hydrants and padding across San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
Lefson said they had been setting up their greatest adventure – the pair were planning to travel to Nepal where they would go from Base Camp to ascend Mount Everest together. Once at the summit, Oscar would hoist a flag to promote his cause.
“While Oscar may not be by my side on this journey, it nevertheless continues because of him,” said Lefson.
The dog’s Facebook page was flooded with messages of support as his fans mourned his sudden death.
“I am thinking of you! I never met him but loved him for what you guys did,” wrote Liza Matthews.
“So sad! Because of him, I got my little Oscar,” posted Lené Nel.
Lefson said a memorial service for Oscar would be held in Cape Town on January 25.