Oscar is a stray orange and white dog who lives in the fortress of Sacsayhuamán, a walled complex on the northern outskirts of the city of Cusco, Peru. Sacsayhuamán is the former capital of the Inca Empire. The complex is made of large polished dry-stone walls, each boulder carefully cut to fit together tightly without mortar.
When we visited Sacsayhuamán in December 2011, this dog followed/led Heidi and me around for hours, ignoring all other tourists (and even following us dangerously close to a herd of alpacas, which chased him). I named Oscar after our charming room—which was named after an orphan boy—at the Niños Hotel in Cusco, which supports disadvantaged children. I like to think of Oscar as my canine spirit guide and the best dog in the world.