Thailand: Canine ambassador makes case for street dogs
• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.Skip to next paragraph
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Yet it hasn’t been just fun and games for the South African mutt, who is halfway through his six-month, four-continent “world woof tour” of 32 countries. A one-time street dog, the Benji look-alike is headlining a publicity campaign to highlight the plight of the world’s millions of homeless dogs.
“Oscar is a trouper,” says Joanne Lefson, the intrepid canine’s owner, who five years ago saved Oscar from euthanasia at a pound by adopting him. “This tour is his mission to tell people, ‘Woofs like me want you!’ ”
A professional golfer with a degree in zoology, Ms. Lefson mortgaged her house in Cape Town, South Africa, to finance the trip. She obtained traveling papers for Oscar and won’t take him anywhere he’d be quarantined. To make it easier on Oscar, Lefson does most traveling overland.
In every country en route the pair visit animal shelters to publicize their work.
“People don’t see street dogs as special, but they respond to Oscar,” Lefson says while Oscar, sniffing, befriends some rehabilitated Thai strays. “A dog can enrich your life, but consider adopting one from a shelter.”