The Good Sport: Stray dog climbs mountain nearly as tall as Everest

Yahoo Sports is taking a weekly look at the true spirit of sport — highlights, miracles and acts of kindness that will warm your heart and go beyond the game.

A climber from Seattle says a stray dog climbed a 7,129-metre mountain in Nepal without much help from humans. Photo from Don Wargowsksky/Facebook.
‘Keen to climb’ dog takes on mountain

A Nepalese dog could become the subject of a feature film after her new owner shared her incredible story online.

Don Wargosky and a group of mountain climbers were preparing to scale Mount Baruntse in eastern Nepal last year when they met a local dog, who quickly caught up to the climbers during their ascent of the mountain. The animal ran by several other groups of climbers in order to catch up with the new friends she had met in the village of Khare.

Standing at 7,129 metres, Baruntse is smaller than Mount Everest (8,848 m), making it a tough climb for even the most experiences climbers. But the dog, which the group dubbed “Mera,” managed to finish the climb without protection for her paws and, aside from a short zip-line ride, without help from humans.

Mera had quickly formed a strong bond with Wargosky, a native of Seattle and the leader of the one-month expedition. The two shared meals, a tent and a sleeping bag for more than two weeks as they scaled the mountain with the rest of the group.

Things changed when the group reached a tough section of the climb, one that Wargowsky thought was too dangerous for a dog. Wargowsky made the heartbreaking decision to leave his new friend behind, tying her up near the base camp to ensure Mera wouldn’t follow them.

“She yelps and whines as the team and I walk away,” Wargowsky wrote in a March 6 blog post. “Half an hour into our climb I feel a tickle on the back of my knee. I look down and see Mera following right behind me just like before.”

The group once again tried to leave Mera behind after reaching another tough section of the climb, but when Wargowsky stopped at 671 m to snap a photo, he was shocked to see Mera running up the mountain to meet him.

“We’ve been climbing for seven hours and she’s almost caught up with us,” Wargowski blogged. “The next thing that I know she is in my lap. I have no idea how she scaled the vertical wall of snow, but she’s with us now and keen to climb.”

The group snapped photos with the first dog to ever known to scale Mount Baruntse once they reached the top. When the group arrived back in the village at the foot of the mountain, Wargowsky was upset with the idea of abandoning his new friend. One of the Nepalese guides reportedly offered to give Mera a home, but Wargowsky just couldn’t let her go.

“She’s special,” he told his Nepalese guide. “She’s coming with me.” The dog has since been renamed “Baru” after the mountain she conquered and now lives in the U.S. with Wargowsky.

It’s a story made for Hollywood, and that seems to be exactly where this unlikely tale might be headed. Wargowsky said on Facebook that he’s already been contacted about making Baru’s story a feature film.

‘Crying Kid’ turns fame into charity

Two years ago, John Phillips became an internet sensation. His emotions got the best of him after his Northwestern Wildcats were eliminated from the NCAA “March Madness” basketball tournament, and the moment was captured on camera.

He became an internet meme after video of his emotional outburst went viral during the Wildcats’ 79-73 loss to the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Phillips was coined the “Northwestern Kid,” also known as the “Crying Kid.”

As you can imagine, Phillips’ first taste of internet fame came with a bit of online trolling. It didn’t take long for the young boy to be inundated with snide comments and mean messages, but there were plenty of positive reactions to Phillips’ viral video, as well. Now a 14-year-old student in high school, Phillips says he’s often stopped on the street by people looking for a selfie with the famous teenager.

With March Madness beginning this week, Pizza Hut recently approached the Phillips family, requesting permission to use John’s legendary photo in an advertisement campaign for the tournament. The pizza chain presented him with a lucrative deal for his participation, but Phillips wasn’t interested in exploiting his fame for personal gain.

After reading about Pizza Hut’s charity programs, Northwestern’s most famous fan came up with a very generous idea.

Phillips agreed to participate in the campaign but instead of receiving a fee, the teen decided to donate that money to two of Pizza Hut’s charitable programs. Though his family refuses to disclose the sum, The Chicago Tribune estimates that it exceeds US$50,000.

“I am not interested in getting any more fame from this, believe me,” Phillips shared with The Tribune. “But when the chance came to help others, that’s when I agreed to it and I’m honoured to make a positive change out of this.